In India, two is a crowd: FC Goa coach Zico | sports | Hindustan Times
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In India, two is a crowd: FC Goa coach Zico

sports Updated: Nov 13, 2014 04:12 IST
Sumil Sudhakaran
Sumil Sudhakaran
Hindustan Times
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The Indian Super League (ISL), to an extent, has ensured that most involved with it only sing praises of the project.

However, Zico, FC Goa's coach and the biggest name involved in the league, has taken a different path, complementing it for its rights and, when needed, criticising the wrongs.

On Wednesday, ahead of the game against Delhi Dynamos, the Brazilian legend continued to call a spade a spade and took on the conflict between I-League and ISL.

"In Japan, when J-League began, everyone was involved. The federation (Japan Football Association) brought in all the clubs together... the co-ordination was good. From what I know, there are two leagues here that are not so much in co-ordination," the Brazilian said through an interpreter.

Zico, whose involvement with Japanese side Kashima Antlers, both as a player and coach, went a long way in raising the profile of the league and had also coached the Japanese national side, opined that not having the I-League clubs and ISL on the same page has also impacted the talent pool the two-month league has had.

"In Japan, (in the case of J-League), we had the best Japanese players playing… we also had very good foreign players involved. Here we don't necessarily have the best players of the country," Zico said in reference to the likes of Sunil Chettri, whose I-League club Bengaluru FC - the reigning champions - have not let their players take part in the ISL.

Depleted pool in Goa

The FC Goa coach also shed light on the difficulty his club faced during the recruitment of players ahead of the ISL.

"In Goa, there are three (major) teams (Dempo SC, Salgaocar FC and Churchill Brothers)… However, FC Goa is comprised of players from just one of them - Dempo. This shows what the problem is. We need to choose the best and have the best," he added.

Unlike the I-League side Dempo SC - whose owner Shrinivas Dempo is also the co-owner of FC Goa - the other Goan clubs, Churchill in particular, have been staunchly against the ISL, saying it would dilute the I-League - the country's premier domestic tournament.

Zico had earlier raised concern over the number of international players in the ISL, stating that having six foreign players per team is detrimental to the future of Indian football.

Though the All India Football Federation (AIFF), in response to his initial statement, has stuck by the concept, the Brazilian reiterated his stand on Wednesday. "I will stand by my opinion. There are too many foreigners playing in the ISL and hence the Indian players are not getting enough opportunities. I hope that would change."

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