Kolkata: A longer Indian Super League (ISL), as planned by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its commercial partner Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), will serve the country’s football better, Atletico de Kolkata (ATK)’s winger Sameehg Doutie said here on Wednesday.
“It is best if the league is run with the FIFA calendar and professionally, so that clubs can compete in the Asian level,” Doutie told reporters.
“Indian players can challenge in the (AFC) Champions League. A longer league will also help in more international players coming to India.”
AIFF is planning to introduce a longer ISL from the next football season, with select I-League clubs getting a chance to play in the eye-grabbing tournament.
The South African, who scored a superb volleyed goal in ATK’s last game against FC Goa, said a longer league will also help Indian footballers earn a better living and try their luck abroad, like the national team’s first choice goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who plays for a Norwegian club.
“It is better for players as they can feed their families. Indian players can go abroad like the goalkeeper (Gurpreet) who is doing so well and playing in the national team,” Doutie said.
Asked if Indians are good enough to play in the South African Premier League, Doutie said, “Indian players can play in South Africa. He is sitting next to me (team-mate Prabir Das) and he can do it. They are talented. I told Prabir if you keep playing like this you will get into national team. That’s the talk we do.”
Das said ISL is in a different league compared to the I-League as it can bring in high-profile names like Portugal’s Helder Postiga and Brazilian Robero Carlos.
“The preparation is the same as a footballer. The standard of ISL is different. In the I-League I play alongside say Darryl (Duffy) and here I am playing with Postiga.”
“I never thought I will get the opportunity to train alongside Postiga, Doutie, (Javi) Lara,” Das, who plays for Mohun Bagan in the I-League, added.