Bigger league better for Indian football: Sunil Chhetri
New Delhi: The bigger the league, the better it is for the country, is what India and Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri had to say about the domestic football structure in the country. He said that he hopes that all the stakeholders sit together and work out a plan that would be beneficial for Indian football.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had on October 26 approved a roadmap proposed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) which ends with the Indian Super League (ISL) being integrated into the national league structure with promotion and relegation by the 2024-25 season.
"The roadmap that has been given by the AFC to AIFF has got lots of points," Chhetri told reporters on the sidelines of the third edition of Herbalife Nutrition's Fit Families Fest 2019.
Chhetri said that a higher number of teams in the top flight would be good news for the game in the country. "At the end of the day, whatever gets decided has to be followed. The bigger the league, the better it is. The more the number of teams in the league the better it is for the country because we will get that many more competitive matches. The number of good players will also increase,” he said.
"Whatever roadmap is decided and is still under construction right now, I hope all the stakeholders come together and ensure the best outcome for Indian football," he added.
Head coach Igor Stimac had recently expressed his worry over the many Indian players missing the national camp before their World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan (November 14) and Oman (November 19). Both matches are away from home and Chhetri said that the lack of a longer national camp would affect the camaraderie between the players more than their fitness.
"I'm sure Stimac would have wanted more days, if we have got 6-7 days it would have been better because we are playing away from home. It would definitely have been easy but then the calendar has been decided beforehand and so I have nothing to say about that," he said.
"Fitness won't be a problem but the camaraderie between the players will be. It's good for our fitness if we are playing a lot of matches," Chhetri concluded.