KOLKATA: Indian Super League (ISL) coaches on Sunday hailed the rule of fielding at least six Indian players in the starting XI from this season, saying the tweak will help develop local players.
Until last season, ISL teams could play a maximum of six foreigners but the latest rule will, according to Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell, "add extra responsibility on Indian players to perform and develop".
"I think it's a good decision to have six Indians on the pitch at all times and it means Indians getting more chances to play and show their skills," ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham told reporters here.
NorthEast United's head coach João Carlos Pires de Deus was one among many who were pleasantly surprised with the quality of Indian footballers they've worked with so far.
The Portuguese was impressed with his observations and has already done extensive research on Indian sides, having watched a lot of matches as he prepares to step into the unknown.
"You ask me if the Brazilians in my team will produce magic... but what is magic? It's not limited to Brazilians. Even the Indian players in our team are very skillful and can produce a lot of magic. You see the kid with blonde hair in the U17 World Cup team (Komal Thatal) and he was producing magic. So it's not limited to a nationality," he said.
"Rubbing shoulders with top players has made a huge difference to Indian footballers. You see them play with marquee signings and come up against top class forwards and midfielders and it automatically builds their confidence and the game.
"You see these foreigners and how they carry themselves and take care of their body and the Indian players get inspired by that. The ISL has played a huge role in this development," said Coppell, who is now into his second season in the cash-rich league starting next week.
Delhi Dynamos goalkeeper Albino Gomes praised his coach Miguel Angel Portugal, saying the Spaniard had helped him to improve as a player.
"The facilities, the coaching style, the technicalities, all play a role and have made me a better player. For example, our coach wants to see me come out of the box and play as a sweeper sometimes and keep the ball down," Gomes said.
"Indian football needs to develop players like (Indian cricket team captain) Virat Kohli who will then carry the team in the future and inspire youngsters to play the sport. The development of youngsters is very important for any country's progress in a sport and this league will help in that," Portugal said.