Pune FC's Derrick Pereira not excited by proposed IPL-style tournament

The former Salgaocar player expressed his take on the tournament which is on the cards for 2014 and spoke on the recent withdrawal of Mohun Bagan's ban...
The All India Football Federation (AIFF)'s Executive Committee meeting on January 15 was a day when many an important decision were made regarding the future of football in India. This included the announcement of an IPL-style football tournament in 2014 to would be hosted by the Indian FA's commercial and marketing partners, IMG-Reliance.

However Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira is not too keen on such a tournament and expressed his apprehension towards the same.

"I'm not aware how they (IMG-Reliance) will conduct the league," said Pereira to The Times of India. "If existing players from the I-League are allowed to play in the franchise-style league, we have to ensure the players well-being and that they can continue for the full season," added the 50-year old.

Pereira's point was a valid one considering that the tournament is scheduled to be held between January and March 2014 which also coincides with the AFC Cup, which is a second-tier continental club competition and the AFC Challenge Cup (provided India qualifies for the tournament which would entail I-League clubs to release players for the same). 

"As a coach I won't allow my players to play somewhere else. I have a certain work ethic. If someone else is going to train the same player, there could be a conflict in style of play and confusion in the players mind when he comes back," opined the former Salgaocar player.

'Wont allow my players to play somewhere else'- Derrick Pereira

Like many others, Pereira had a say on the recent withdrawal on the ban slapped on Mohun Bagan. The Mariners were suspended from participation in the I-League till 2015 for flouting the I-League rules during the Kolkata Derby on December 9, 2012. There was a widespread campaign from former players, fans and officials from fellow I-League clubs requesting the AIFF to consider the future of Indian football and keep Mohun Bagan in the I-League's scheme of things.

"The ban was too harsh (in the first place). As a coach I feel keeping out Bagan would have robbed the league of some charm considering their popular rivalry with East Bengal. Indian football would have suffered. Now we are preparing to play against them. Getting Bagan back in this league itself was surprising. I was sure the ban would be overturned but did not expect their return in this league itself," revealed the Pune FC gaffer.

Currently in charge of one of the most professionally run football clubs in the country, Pereira gave his take on how to improve the football in the country.

"We need to improve a lot. The infrastructure, the fixtures need to be planned better. The training grounds at away matches are not up to the mark. Players suffer injuries due to poor grounds. Also teams need to play positive football and not sit back after a one-goal lead," said the 50-year old.

Pereira also called for a full-time refereeing instructor to be hired for the Indian contingent. He highlighted the impact of foreign coaches on the league by stating that they had changed things technically. Pereira specifically mentioned the new possession based game adopted by Eelco Schattorie's Prayag United.

The Pune FC coach saw more cons that pros in the 40-day gap that the I-League will see after Round 20. "It breaks your rhythm. But for teams who dont have bench-strength, it's good for their players recovery from injuries," signed off Pereira.

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