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‘ISL must establish academies to develop Indian football’


 Bengaluru: Former Iranian footballer Jamshid Nassiri feels instead of focusing more on the established players, Indian Super League (ISL) should spent few crores in establishing academies to develop untapped youngsters and improve Indian football.

“If ISL is spending Rs 600 crore for development of Indian football, then why not spend few crores for establishing academies in their respective areas … eight franchisees … eight academies is a good idea,” Nassiri told PTI in an exclusive interview here.

Nassiri is in the city as a part of Star Sports “Young Heroes” project which aims to handpick sixteen most talented football players from schools across fifteen different cities.

Nassiri said India, with the kind of vast resources, wealth and talent, has only two academies, but a tiny country like Nepal has four.

“Creating academies is the only way to develop Indian football. Nepal has four academies and India has only two, inspite of boasting of vast resources, wealth and talent,” he said.

Around the world, many countries in Europe, South-East, Gulf and Asian countries players of international quality are produced through academies, Nassiri said.

“ISL should also invest on untapped youngsters to develop them into world class players. I am not saying they should not do it for senior players of the established players. However, investing more on untapped youngster will develop Indian football,” he said.

All India Football Federation is planning to merge the I-League with the star-studded Indian Super League and Nassiri also supported the idea and said one league will help the football clubs to run their affair smoothly.

Asked if he will accept offer for coaching an ISL team, Nassiri said, “If anybody including ISL wants to develop football by tapping untapped school players I will be ready towork but will not if their focus is on already established players.”

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