Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri revealed that he would miss competing against Mohun Bagan in the I League as the team is now a part of the Indian Super League. However, Chhetri suggested that the introduction of two leagues will create more opportunities for young Indian footballing talent.
Indian Super League was recently given an official league status by the Asian Football Confederation(AFC) and Bengaluru FC became the latest addition to the league, winning the bid and becoming the first I-League side to play in the ISL.
“I will miss them (Mohun Bagan). I’m not trying to hint anything but I loved our game against Mohun Bagan. In the last three years, the rivalry between Mohun Bagan and BFC is the best thing that has happened.” Chhetri told Indian Express.
“It has been really equal. All the games that I think right now were really tough. Be it AFC Cup, I-League or the Federation Cup, all the games against Mohun Bagan has always been tough. We had great rivalry. I just hope we meet soon.” he added.
However, the 32-year old stated that the introduction of the new league would provide youngsters with more opportunities as 20 teams will simultaneously play during the season.
“The good part is there will be 20 teams playing at the same time, so more players will get opportunity, especially the Indians. Last year when both happened differently the same players almost played the ISL and I-League. Now more Indian players will get opportunity,” he said.
“I want both the leagues to flourish as at the end of the day, you want more Indian players to come in. The problems that some of the players were not employed last year might not happen this time with 20 teams playing simultaneously.”
Chhetri suggested that the nation would benefit from a single league like it has in the European countries.
“I, you and the whole country would prefer that any day. We are 1.3 billion people. I would love to see 20 (teams) in first, second, third and fourth divisions… I think we can cater to that.