The captain of the Indian football team, Sunil Chhetri wants more teams and more players to play in Indian leagues whether they are integrated or held separate. “I don’t now as it’s not been announced. If you ask me what’s ideal I’ve said it: 100 times, more teams, one league,” Chhetri told PTI.

“If there are 16, 17 or 20 teams playing in one league that will be the best. I think everyone wants that. How to get there? There are think tanks working on that,” said the Bengaluru FC skipper.

“I don’t mind two leagues, ISL and I-league being held separate and at the same time as more players will get to play and will not be idle,” he said. “If something like that does go ahead, the good thing would mean 10 teams in I League, 10 teams in ISL, you have 20 teams playing. That’s a good thing.

“We are talking about so many players getting employed somewhere,” he added. Chhetri said rankings don’t count for much but the higher ranking that the Indian team has achieved is beneficial as players are not as focused on the opponent’s ranking as they are on strategy.

He said he and the rest of the team members were keen to keep the teams winning momentum going as they prepare for the AFC Asian Cup Group A qualifier next week at Bengaluru against Kyrgyz Republic.

“This hurdle on the 13th is a big one as they are the favourites in the group. Three points in that game will give us a big boost in terms of qualifying,” he said. “I am confident. We have done well. Wins give you lot of confidence,” he added.

He also praised teammate and fellow striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who today won the AIFF’s Player of the Year Award, as the country’s best player currently. “This guy (sitting alongside) is the best player we have right now in the country. My prayer is that he stays fit and keeps scoring goals the way he has been doing,” said Chhetri.