Arnab Mondal: ISL could drain national players

Arnab Mondal has admitted that the physical demands of the Indian Super League could have an effect on players in the National team when India faces Guam in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

India has lost all five of its Group D matches and will be looking to change the fortunes against Guam.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Arnab Mondal has admitted that the physical demands of the Indian Super League, with its congested fixture list, could have an effect on players in the National team when India faces Guam in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier (AFC second round) here on November 12.  All but two members of the 26-man Indian squad are part of the ISL. “It is difficult,” Mondal said here on Monday. “The guys who play ISL get very little time to recover. We play two-three games per week. After all, we are humans and not machines. But when you turn up for the National side, you don't need any extra motivation.”

The central defender would not be drawn on issues surrounding the release of players by their ISL clubs. “I don’t want to get into this controversy. That is how the calendar is. It is so tight that we don’t have much breathing space. They (the ISL) were helpless and so were the National side,” he said.

India has lost all five of its Group D matches, one of the reasons for which, Mondal felt, was inadequate practice time. “It is really disappointing,” he said. “Ahead of our away games against Oman and Turkmenistan, we didn’t get much time to practice as a team and that was one of the reasons for our poor show. If this team is given some time, it can be better than what it has been so far.”

Guam has seven points from five matches, and Mondal admitted that the visitor was the superior side ahead of Thursday's encounter. “They’re a better side than us today,” he said. “In the reverse fixture (which India lost 2-1), we didn't play to our potential and there's no denying that they were better than us. But we are positive and we will play to win.”

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