The list of people who are against the proposed IPL style league which has been mooted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF)’s commercial and marketing partners IMG-Reliance had another name in India legend P.K. Banerjee.
The veteran is of the belief that the league will not have any benefit to the current state of Indian football.
“I don’t think this tournament will at all be beneficial as far as Indian football is concerned,” Banerjee said to The Telegraph on the sidelines of the Pailan Arrows’ talent scout project for the coming season’s I-League, at the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club, on Thursday.
“First of all, it’s not the right time to stage such meets. Given the standard of football in this part of the world, these IPL-style tournaments are not the way to take the game forward. You can host such competitions only if you are well established in the sport. Otherwise, you shouldn’t,” he added.
Banerjee opined that providing the necessary infrastructure to nurture young players is the need of the hour rather than wasting that money on players who have hung up their boots.
“I don’t know how much our players will learn from these stars who no longer play and have quit the game quite some time ago. What we need is bringing youngsters together, providing them with at least the basic facilities and above all, pushing and inspiring them to scale one level after another,” the 77-year old commented.
East Bengal midfielder Mehtab Hussain was also present at the function. The India midfielder did not wish to comment on the tournament, but was of the opinion that the departure of their influential midfielder Penn Orji to Mohameddan Sporting would not affect the Red and Gold.
“Penn Orji’s exit will not affect us. We have the likes of James Moga and Ryuiji Sueoka,” Mehtab asserted.