MITHUN DEY in conversation with Novy Kapadia on ISL and Indian Football. Besides teaching, research and administrative work for the University of Delhi, Novy Kapadia is a reputed sports journalist, columnist and recognized as India’s leading football expert and commentator.
Do you think that Indian Super League (ISL) can improve Indian mainstream football?
Indian players will gain confidence by playing with foreign stars and also fitness will improve because they will be practicing with them.
What kind of new ideas and innovations are needed for ISL.
Team would have chosen players from their own region like NorthEast United FC have done so by taking most of players from Shilling Lajong Club. More players would have been chosen from same region for ISL.
The signing of big name players such as Del Piero, Pires, Ljungberg etc. in ISL. Can they inspire a generation of young footballers to take up the sport?
It may be but I don’t think Del Piero, Pires, Ljungberg are at their best except Eneko and Elano of Chennaiyin FC. As a whole, ISL could help more young players to play football.
`Lakshya 2022′ aims to help India qualify for the World Cup in 2022. Tell us. Do you feel so?
Absolutely no chance at all. It’s deliberately misleading to Indian footballers and people as well on ‘Lakshya 2022’ issue. We have to reach ranking amongst the first 10 in Asia and after that, you can compete for the World Cup.
Which team is better in ISL so far?
All are same and there is very little to choose. No exceptional team has been seen so far. Kolkata started very well but now they are having problems.
Can ISL do an IPL?
Indeed. ISL can do an IPL since there are foreign players in ISL for their huge monetary benefits.
Is there anything you would like to tell us about Indian soccer that would surprise our young Indians?
Let us take the period of 1950s and 60s, India was just like Brazil of Asia. They used to play very attractive football. India bagged the Gold medals twice in football at 1951 and 1962 Asian games. More, the Indian soccer team was the Olympic Femi finalist in 1956 in Melbourne and Asian Cup runner up in 1964.
Mithun Dey is a columnist and poet based in Bongaigaon, Assam