Igor Stimac: The leagues aren't helping Indian players

It is time to overhaul the faulty club football system, says the newly-appointed coach.

Igor Stimac says India suffers because most of its forwards don't get regular game-time at their ISL or I-League clubs- AP

Even as the investors and administrators of Indian football debate on the fate of the two leagues — ISL and I-League, the man entrusted with the job of training the country’s national team says it is time to overhaul the faulty club football system which he says is responsible for the drought of talent.

Igor Stimac, the newly-appointed head coach, insists that a lot of changes is necessary for Indian football to better its standard.

“We are suffering because most our Indian strikers are not playing regularly in the ISL or the I-League as they spend most of the time on bench. Most of them do not have open place to play and that is not good for me (as the national coach) because there is only Sunil (Chhetri) who is scoring goals,” the Croatian said after India capitulated to a lower-ranked Tajikistan in the opening game of the Intercontinental Cup.

Read: India doesn't have great defenders yet, says Stimac

“That is a big problem for us and we need to think of ways to sort out the situation as we cannot always expect Sunil to decide a game. We need more strikers playing in the ISL or I-League. I cannot create a centre-forward from a full-back in the national team. They need to play more in the country’s leagues to make a strong national side,” Stimac, who guided his country to 2014 World Cup main stage, said pinpointing the problem besetting the club football in the country.

Reiterating his stand on a properly planned calendar to give the players around 50 matches a year, Stimac said the success of the national team depends on the standard of the clubs. “The results will suffer as we are taking a new approach to the game and playing a totally different football from what we did before. We have a lot of young talents who make mistakes but I need to back them to make sure that India enjoys its football in future,” Stimac said.

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