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Keep natl players out of local leagues?

At a time when the coaches of the country’s I-League clubs flatly shot down chief national coach Bob Houghton’s advice of not playing popular players in local leagues...

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: January 6, 2009 1:56:40 am

At a time when the coaches of the country’s I-League clubs flatly shot down chief national coach Bob Houghton’s advice of not playing popular players in local leagues,East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick came out in strong support of Houghton. The newly-appointed East Bengal coach backed Houghton’s idea,explaining that it’s a thought in the best interests of Indian football at large.

Houghton had suggested the premier club coaches yesterday at a seminar held in Goa not to field popular players in their respective local league championships. The reason behind Houghton’s advice is — to strengthen the national football team and ensure it prosper at the international arena.

The British coach had said: “Unless the national team gets success in international tournaments it won’t be possible to build up interest among the country’s corporate sector to inject money into the game.” Many coaches of top clubs blatantly refused to agree with Houhgton’s suggestion.

Asked about the issue,Bhowmick,however nodded in approval. He said: “The club coaches will have to think about the interest of the country’s football. And Houghton’s logic and advice is valuable. He is right when he says that Indian football can never be commercialised unless it earns a commendable status at the international level. I also feel the players who have already taken part in the I-League can be replaced by others who sit on the bench for most of the season.”

Asked if he would try this suggestion out in the Kolkata Premier League,Bhowmick said: “If I have six national players,then it may happen that say three of them can participate in the local league,and I can then at the same time give exposure to three youngsters as well. The new players can be groomed in this way.”

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has already issued a circular instructing that any player who has participated in any I-League match for 45 minutes or more cannot be fielded in a local league match.

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