Hero India Super League (ISL) winning coach Manuel Marquez believes that a longer season will benefit the India team and accelerate the growth of players. The inaugural season of the league saw eight teams battle it out with a maximum of 17 matches played including the final. Since then the tournament has grown in stature, with the number of teams increasing to 11. Marquez led Hyderabad FC to the title last season.
“I think a longer season with three competitions like Durand Cup, ISL, and Super Cup, and in our case four – qualification for AFC Cup, will be fantastic for Indian Football,” Manuel Marquez said about the India team. “It’s impossible to get good development if you don’t train and if you don’t play. Six-seven months of off-season can be very long. There are better Indian players emerging after every season. They will appear more, which will increase the quality of the national team too.”
“I think it (longer seasons) will only help the players to improve as professional footballers. That’s what a player needs – more game time, more matches, and keeping the rhythm of playing for a long time. It also cuts down the break which in India was very long. The gap between the seasons was too long so I think this will really help the players to be focussed and be match-fit,” Sahal Abdul Samad said. “As they get more playing time and more matches, the players will be fit enough. When the breaks are less, the players can really focus on football because that’s what we do, that’s our livelihood so we can be more focused on that. I really think it will help me as a player to be more focussed on football and help me grow as a professional footballer.”
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