Chhetri wants more teams in Indian leagues

“If you ask me what’s ideal, I’ve said it 100 times, more teams, one league.”

“If there are 16, 17 or 20 teams playing in one league that will be the best," said Sunil Chhetri.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri wants more teams to play in Indian leagues.

“If you ask me what’s ideal, I’ve said it 100 times, more teams, one league,” Chhetri told reporters here on Thursday.

“If there are 16, 17 or 20 teams playing in one league that will be the best. I think everyone wants that. How to get there? There are think tanks working on that,” he said.

“I don’t mind two leagues — ISL (Indian Super League) and I-League being held separate and at the same time as more players will get to play and will not be idle,” he said.

“If something like that does go ahead, the good thing would mean 10 teams in I-League, 10 teams in ISL, you have 20 teams playing. That’s a good thing."

“We are talking about so many players getting employed somewhere,” he added.

Chhetri said rankings don’t count much but the higher ranking the Indian team has achieved is beneficial as players now don’t focus so much on the opponent’s ranking as much as they do on strategy.

He said the team wants to "keep its momentum going" as it prepares for AFC Asian Cup Group A qualifier next week at Bengaluru against Kyrgyz Republic.

“This hurdle on the 13th is a big one as they are the favourites in the group. Three points in that game will give us a big boost in terms of qualifying,” he said.

“I am confident. We have done well. Wins give you lot of confidence,” he added.

He also praised teammate and fellow striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who on Thursday won the AIFF’s Player of the Year Award, as the country’s best player currently.

“This guy (Jeje) is the best player we have right now in the country. My prayer is that he stays fit and keeps scoring goals the way he has been doing,” said Chhetri.

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