Players, managers want ISL duration extended

Mumbai: Top players and managers in the glitzy Indian Super League (ISL) believe the tournament’s duration should be extended to really reap its benefits.

ISL stretches for around three months and the likes of Brazilian legend Zico, who manages the FC Goa franchise feels Indian players are getting to learn very little in such a short time. The ISL begins on October 3.

“Just three months is not enough for an Indian player to gather experience from the top foreigners who have come here in the league to play,” Zico said via his interpreter here on Saturday.

Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata’s head coach Antonio Lopez Habas believes a longer league will help in players being assured of playing for a considerable duration of time.

“The league is for only three months. A longer league would attract more players, it will be easier to give them contracts, because as professionals they want to play for longer periods. After ISL where do they go?,” Habas said.

Former Portuguese winger and NorthEast United FC’s marquee player Simao Sambrosa also suggested elongation of the league.

“Difference between leagues abroad and here is that, this one runs for only three months. Hopefully next year they will extend the tournament,” Simao said.

India’s national team captain Sunil Chhetri too echoed the same sentiments adding that he would prefer just one league.

“Definitely, a longer league would help. A coach can have better planning sessions, players can get time to recuperate. But with this league, there’s matches within a gap of two or three days and within those you have to travel a lot, so that becomes very difficult.”

“The league should have Saturday, Sunday matches like in other top tournaments. If the time-frame of the tournament is extended it will definitely benefit everyone. I also don’t mind if there’s only one league,” Sunil said.