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Working with ISL & I-League clubs will be key: Stimac

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By Rohit Mundayur

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) India’s newly appointed men’s football coach Igor Stimac on Friday said finding a balance between I-League clubs and Indian Super League franchises and using the resources both sides possess will be key to furthering football in the country. “We need to work together,” said Stimac in his first interaction with the media since his appointment.

Stating that the ISL is a privately owned league and it’s normal if investors are looking to make gains, Stimac said: “But I-League has something that the ISL cannot buy — tradition.”

Stimac said the presence of the two leagues was good for him because of the talent pool they offered. “The ISL is were most of the competitive stuff is while most of the young players are developing in the I-League and that is good for me. I will be here to help managers of clubs from both leagues and to give my opinions,” he said.

With speculation being rife of Indian Super League set to be made the top flight of the Indian football, I-League clubs in a letter demanded clarity from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on their future. When they received no response, the clubs pulled out of the Super Cup that was held in April. It has since emerged that the AIFF has imposed fines on the I-League clubs for their action and the tussle has taken the spotlight since the end of the season.

Technical director Isac Doru however feels that he doesn’t view the situation as a conflict. “When I looked at this situation from the outside, it did not look good. But since coming here I have realised that it is not a conflict. It is not war. We are together. I don’t see if a club is from the ISL or I-League. It is all Indian football,” he said.

Doru said that the effort should be on improving the quality of games played in the country. “It is not the quantity but the quality of the games that is important. That is when we can have a comparitive approach with all the other leagues in the world,” said the 56-year-old.

Stimac’s first assignment as coach will be to lead the team in the King’s Cup that starts on June 5 in Thailand.

(Rohit Mundayur can be contacted on [email protected])



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