Quality foreigners dot I-league this season
Many say I-league has lost its sheen, it is not a viable package and so on. While all the criticism lingers on and some of them being true, it has to be said that this season’s I-league has attracted a formidable array of foreign imports.
Some years ago, foreign players mostly came from Africa and then on, some from Brazil. But were they good enough for the salary they were being paid here? I am unsure about that aspect. However, clubs have moved on from their traditional hunting grounds in Africa and Brazil and is recruiting decent players from Australia, Europe, Middle East and Asia now.
This season’s I-league has a former world cup player, some players who plied their trade in EPL and lower division English leagues and some from Spain and Portugal. Quality attracts eye-balls too. For instance, Bengaluru FC has recruited Ashley Westwood as their coach. He started his career as a Manchester United academy player and went on to don coaching roles at Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn. His pedigree certainly helped in getting sky-sports interested about his Indian assignment at Bengaluru FC. Skysports reporting about an I-league coach would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
While there has been passing remarks in the media about the foreigners in I-league this season, there has been no comprehensive report about them anywhere. Withstanding the question on how they will help Indian Football develop, as a package I-league does need good foreign imports to raise the quality of football.
Today TOI has taken some time out and has written a decent article about the foreign imports in I-league this season – Influx of quality foreign players on the upswing