FC Goa head coach Zico has claimed that the idea of playing more foreign players in the Indian super League is "not helping" Indian football. The legendary Brazilian also said that Indian football and footballers have a long way to go before they become a force to be reckoned with.
"There are more foreigners than Indians which is not helpful. There hasn't been a lot of improvement in these three years. Indian players need to be more in the starting XI," the former Japan manager said during the pre-match press conference for the Atletico de Kolkata game.
Zico, whose team are yet to pick up a point in the current season, made a very interesting point about ISL teams choosing to start with foreign players rather than local players in preferred position.
"Overall there is still a long way to go. We do have good talents coming from ISL but I feel Indian players need to play in key positions.
Even though the national team has won nine out of their 11 matches this year, Zico said that the performances have not been up to scratch and said that the ISL's impact on Indian football is yet to come.
"See the national team's performance in these years. There hasn't been much improvement," the 63-year-old told the media.
Zico also claimed that a longer version of the league would be "better" as it would give the coaches more time to work with the Indian players.
"A longer league will certainly be better," Zico added.
Goa, who were runner-ups in last season's ISL, have seen a change in fortunes this season losing their opening three games scoring just one goal while conceding six. Zico, however, rejected the notion that they were in trouble saying that the season had just started and 'nothing was lost yet.'
"If we win two games we will be at par with ATK. So nothing is lost yet. In this
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