More matches, exposure have helped India's improvement: Bhaichung Bhutia

Updated: 24 August, 2020 13:16 IST | IANS | New Delhi

In a TV interview, Bhaichung spoke about the increased number of matches as well as the vast improvement in exposure and infrastructure that players are getting these days

Bhaichung Bhutia
Bhaichung Bhutia

Legendary striker Bhaichung Bhutia, the first Indian to have 100 international caps to his name, spoke about the changes he has seen in Indian football since he hung up his boots in 2011.

In a TV interview, Bhaichung spoke about the increased number of matches as well as the vast improvement in exposure and infrastructure that players are getting these days.

"The kind of support, the platforms, the level of competition, the players, the coaching staff -- all are much, much better than what we got previously. Now, the number of matches played by the national team is three or four times the number we played in the initial stages," he averred.

"We had fewer games in comparison and often would get drawn against tough teams in the qualification games. Players now are getting many more matches and so much exposure. It has helped them to improve and get better with time," he said.

"The talismanic striker, who made his Indian Senior National Team debut in 1995, shared his views on the positive impact made by the introduction of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) which began in 2014 and has now seen six editions being held."

"With the Hero ISL coming in, you can see the infrastructure, training grounds, matches, coaching and quality of pitches are of much higher standards. In my time, we would have some difficult pitches to play on where the ball did not even roll. However, I have many great memories of those matches and I thoroughly enjoyed playing," he quipped.

Quizzed about whether he has any regrets of not being able to play in the competition, he said that he is glad about what he had and in the future he expects things to keep improving.

"I am happy with the opportunities I had in my career. I don't regret not playing in the Hero ISL. Everyone should be happy with what you have. I was lucky to have the I-League in our time and most of us were fortunate to play in it. Football in India is developing and the standards, infrastructure and coaching level are all improving continuously," he quipped.

Bhaichung, who was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 1998 and the Padma Shri in 2008, stressed on how important it is to keep producing quality players for the national team and continue working at the grassroots level of the game.

"For the national team, we need to keep producing good quality players. We do have good players at the moment but if we want to compete with the best in Asia, we need to keep producing bigger and better players. AIFF has focused on the grassroots a lot. We need to be strong at the grassroots and we are working on it," he maintained.

"Our target for the national teams should be qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup and the FIFA Youth World Cup on a regular basis," he remarked.

Keep scrolling to read more news

Catch up on all the latest sports news and updates here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates.

Mid-Day is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@middayinfomedialtd) and stay updated with the latest news

This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

First Published: 24 August, 2020 13:02 IST

Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.com

Subscribe
loading image
This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK