Former Everton star Tim Cahill believes that Indian football has great facilities, infrastructure and stadiums but feels that the domestic structure needs to have more games to make it professional. The Australian legend was a part of the 2018/19 season of the Indian Super League for Jamshedpur FC.
Even though Indian football has been on a rise, with its steep rise in the FIFA rankings and the growing popularity of the ISL, they have not been able to fare well on the international stage. Many great footballers have graced Indian football over the past few years, with Australian legend Tim Cahill featuring for Jamshedpur FC in the 2018-19 ISL. Throwing light on the condition of football in the country, Cahill admitted that India has great facilities, infrastructure, fans, stadiums, but they need more games to be played in order to make the league professional.
“India has so much going for them. They have the infrastructure, fans, stadiums, and amazing facilities. The structure of the games and formatting of the league needs to suit the players. More games they play, the more professional things can be. It takes time. You have to build those levels and you really have to continue to progress and attract those names, and at the same time attract players who will help grow the league and not themselves individually. I think the league is fantastic,” said Tim Cahill, as reported by The Times of India.
Cahill’s arrival in 2018 was a big boost for the Indian Super League, with the World Cupper adding glamour to the league. Unfortunately, he played only 11 matches for the Red Miners before he was sidelined owing to an injury, following which he never played a match. Recalling his experience in India, he termed it as ‘amazing.’
“Amazing. It wasn’t just about football, it was just as much about off the field, in my interactions of helping the club develop stronger professional ties with my knowledge as a footballer who played four World Cups, Premier League and around the world. We were three hours away from an airport and I was training twice a day, helping players to really make the most of this opportunity. I loved it.
"It grounded me to live so close in the village with local families, to see thousands of people at the stadium, travel around, understand the culture, the food, the logistics of travel. It opened my eyes in a whole different level. I was really blessed to have such a brilliant career to share with my teammates and also clubs I had played against (in India). It was really grounding,” added the Australian.