The coaches of the Indian Super League and the I-League fear the use of 3+1 rule for foreigners in the two league competitions of Indian football would largely hamper the quality of football and also slow down the progress of the Indian players.
The All India Football Federations Technical Committee recommended the use of the Asian Football Confederation’s 3+1 rule with the AIFF Executive committee agreeing to implement in the I-League from 2020-’21 season onwards.
However, Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat feels it will not help Indian football.
“If we reduce the foreigner quota, we will be putting a lot of pressure on the Indian players (to dish out quality football). They might be talented but they aren’t ready yet to handle so much pressure,” Cuadrat told Chennai City FC coach Akbar Nawas on the I-League club’s official Instagram page.
“My 19-year-old midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam will feel a lot more comfortable when he is surrounded by Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and Juanan. ISL provides a basic standard of football and a lot of credit should go to foreigners. It should be a project of 15-20 years (after which we can reduce the foreigner +quota),” he added.
However, Bengaluru FC CEO Parth Jindal tweeted that the club completely supports the 3+1 rule and along with the I-League, it should also be implemented in the ISL.
Nawas though was in agreement with Cuadrat even though he felt the rule would be good for teams playing in AFC competitions where the rule is in effect.
“The rule might be good for my team because we are playing in the AFC Cup this year but I feel the general quality of football will suffer. I can vouch that our local players have improved by leaps and bounds after training with six foreigners in the squad daily. It’s just not their game sense but they get to learn about other nuances too,” he said.
Chennaiyin FC coach Owen Coyle though felt Indian players needed more opportunities to develop.
“The more games the Indian players get to play and the quality time they get to spend on the training grounds with good coaches, the better they will become. Overall, it helps the clubs and the national team,” Coyle told The Times of India.
Igor Stimac has also voiced his concern over the number of foreign players playing in the ISL and he was seconded by Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. But Cuadrat believes quality of players is more important for the national team that quantity.
“Stimac doesn’t need to train with 100 players but 40 skillful players. He should then pick 20 best players for the India squad. The difference between Indians and foreigners is huge. When we play a possession-based game in training, the Indians, particularly the reserves, keep losing the ball. This is because they still need to improve their basics,” Cuadrat said.