Indian football skipper and the newly recruited Mumbai City FC forward Sunil Chhetri felt that the popularity of the game has been on the rise with the inception of Indian Super League (ISL) in 2014.
He also stressed on the fact that proper media coverage will build on the momentum that the game has picked up since last year.
"It's quite good, especially with the ISL coming up. It really enhanced the popularity we have as a nation. I think a lot of interest has been generated. Not only in terms of fans coming to watch the match, but also the corporate houses, the media and everyone coming and chipping in.
"I think it is very, very important if we can generate interest. It is a first step. Then we have to make sure lot of other things is done to make the game more popular," Chhetri told the reporters on Friday.
Chettri has said that with a lot of young players coming in, there is a need of better training facilities. That will improve the quality of the game along with the eco-system.
"One of the things is to make sure that we have proper training facilities so that the game tempo increases, the quality improves. The more the quality improves then the fans are going to watch and they are going to be interested more to watch, make sure the matches are on TV, make sure the timings are right. All these things together if done well, the popularity will keep improving.
"I think it is in a transition period. But, there are a lot of youngsters coming in. We have a new coach. It's going to take some time. But just alone the national team improving, will not help. The league system has to improve. Everything surrounding has to improve then only the remaining things are going to improve. As far as I am concerned, as a player, I want to improve myself as much as I can. I am sure everything else is going to improve," Chhetri added.
Chhetri has been recently bought by the Mumbai City FC for the upcoming season of the ISL and he was one of the most valued player at this year's auction as he missed out on the entertaining tournament in the first edition last year. Chhetri has been an influential footballer for the Indian National Team and was responsible for helping India to win the Nehru Cup back in 2007, 2009 and 2012.
"I don't have long-term goals. I never had them. For me, it bodes well when I have the next week, for me it is next training, next one week of training, next game. I can consider it more like that. I never kept long term targets. Right now, I have to start the pre-season.
"For me it is more important to go and feel about the next week. We just started with Bangalore FC. I never had long term targets. Always short term, for me it is more achievable. I know exactly what I am doing. The next training session, next match, it is more workable for me," Chhetri said.