All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel has stated that the draft proposal to revamp the Indian football calendar from the 2017-18 season will give the Indian footballers a huge boost to play the game on a national stage. According to the draft proposal, the new calendar will feature the Indian Super League as the top-tier club football competition of the country while the I-League and the second division I-League will become the second-tier and third-tier events, respectively.
The latest development has evoked mixed reactions from every quarter â€” from the fans to the players. While the new structure could have its share of drawbacks, it could come as a boon as well to the plenty of talented footballers who do not get a chance to shine on the national stage.
Patel feels the same as well.
"If you don't create the opportunity, you will never be able to go for it. I agree, that for one year or so, it will suffer, as bad as that sounds. If you give the opportunity then it will happen in a few years," the AIFF supremo said to Goal.
"For example, Chennaiyin FC have signed five youngsters [Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Baoringdao Bodo and Bedashwor Singh] sent on loan to FC Metz by the AIFF. So if such young talent is supported, more opportunity will rise," he added.
While this definitely comes as a positive note for the plenty of youngsters in India who are keen to take up football professionally in their career, there remains a question about whether there are indeed enough professional players in the country to take part over the three club football tiers.
"In a big country like India, we have to create opportunity. We are not having three different leagues, we are having three different tiers," Patel continued. "It's a chicken and egg situation. Should we have more players first or create an opportunity for them?"