Players should make most of the opportunities provided by the ISL, claims Jeje Lalpekhlua
Indian footballer Jeje Lalpekhlua feels that Indian players are now lucky enough to get more opportunities due to the inception of the ISL and admitted that players should grab the opportunities they get and make the most out of the chance. The footballer missed the 2019-20 ISL due to a knee injury.
Jeje Lalpekhlua started his senior club career with I-League outfits Pune FC in 2008, following which he was involved in short stints with Indian Arrows and Dempo. It was after his move from the Goa-based club to Mohun Bagan that he achieved great heights, winning the I-League in the 2014-15 season with the club, followed by a Federation Cup triumph the following year. The ‘Mizo Sniper’ recently stated that upcoming players nowadays are getting more opportunities, compared to the days he started playing as a professional, due to the introduction of the Indian Super League and they should make the most out of it.
"Compared to our time back in 2007-2008, when I turned professional, we never got such facilities like it is now in the ISL. Now, things have changed. Players are very important to take Indian football to the next level now. Players now are very lucky to get these opportunities. They need to grab these with both hands and make use of it," said Jeje Lalpekhlua, to the ISL media.
According to him, the youth development in India has also improved leaps and bounds, with ISL clubs implementing grassroots programs in accordance with the recently-launched ISL children’s league. The forward recalled his early playing days and admitted that he would have been a better footballer if the Indian football has a better grassroots programs back then.
"In my career, the first proper coaching I got was when I was 17 years old. If I had gotten the coaching earlier like when I was 7-8 years old, surely I could have got much better as a footballer. If they (youngsters) work hard, everything will fall into place. But, mainly, it is up to them to make a career," added the two-time ISL winner.