The Indian Super League (ISL) has helped improve the standard of football in the country big- time while enabling the players learn from foreigners, some of whom are legends in their own right, FC Goa captain Mandar Singh Desai has said.
“The League has helped a lot. The players have improved a lot….specially the Indians players who have got to play with foreign players, especially big players who have won world cups.
The standard of Indian football has also improved big- time,” Desai, who has also turned out for the national side, told PTI on Friday.
Speaking ahead of the ISL semifinal (first leg) against Chennaiyin FC on Saturday, he also said performing in the ISL gave the Indian players the confidence to do well in international games.
The 27-year old Desai, who shifted from playing as left- winger to a left-back on the advice of former FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera, said playing alongside foreigners (in the ISL) had benefited the Indians a lot as they learnt how to handle different situations.
“Yeah… playing with foreign players has helped a lot.
One of the important things is that we have learnt how to handle different situations and how to play as a team.
When we are travelling we make lot of fun, talk to each other and discuss many things,” the Goa player, who idolised Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, among others, added.
Desai, who broke into the national side in 2019, said the ISL season had been good so far and the aim was to go all the way (and win it).
His teammate Manvir Singh said the League had helped him get better and he wanted to help the team (FC Goa) win the title.
Manvir echoed his skipper Deasi’s views on the impact of ISL on Indian players and said, “it (the league) has helped a lot.
“Our players have improved. We learn a lot of things from the foreign players…how to take decisions. We are learning from them and improving. The future of Indian football is bright”
Meanwhile, the Goa club coach Clifford Miranda, who took over after Lobera was sacked, said the tournament has gone well for the team and the aim was to win it.
“We have played very well, we have stuck to our plans.
We have achieved our objective(s). Three more games to go.
We still have some objectives, we will try to achieve it.
We are a team that thrives on team spirit. We play as a unit,” he added.
The former national team player said that the ISL, since its inception, has benefited Indian football and is going to do so in future too.