Exchange tours will be good for Indian football: Asian stars

Asian football stars are in Delhi for 22nd AFC Annual Awards 2015.

Exchange tours will be good for Indian football: Asian stars

New Delhi: Asia's top footballers on Saturday said India will do well to attract more foreign players and have frequent exchange programmes in place to develop the sport in the country.

Veteran Chinese midfielder Zheng Zhi and star UAE striker Ahmed Khalil are in the Capital for the 22nd AFC Annual Awards 2015.

Zhi and Ahmed are the nominees for the AFC Player Of The Year (male) alongside UAE's Omar Abdulrahman.

"May be, Indian domestic leagues can attract more foreign players, that is very important, and it is also good to have frequent exchange programme," the 35-year-old Zhi, who plies his trade for Asian Champions League (ACL) side Guangzhou, said at the pre-awards press conference.

24-year-old Khalil, who plays for UAE-based Al-Ahli, also touched upon the importance of exposure in developing the sport in India.

"Though I don't know much about Indian football, I think having global stars will give the sport exposure here. That will be for betterment of Indian football."

Asked why not enough Asian players have made it to the top leagues in Europe after doing well in the continent, both Zhi and Khalil felt Asian league is as good as others in the world.

"There is not much difference I think. Every player dreams of playing overseas. There are so many players in the UAE, who are good enough to play in Europe. I also have big hopes, will keeping giving my best," Khalil said.

Zhi said,"For players, no matter where they are playing, I think it is important to be competitive. Every player has a different definition for success. It is not that European clubs are better than Asian clubs."

The AFC awards night will be held at the Kingdom Of a Dreams tomorrow.

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