New Delhi: Comparing Japan's rise in Asian football after the advent of J-League to that of Indian soccer post Indian Super League, Brazilian great and FC Goa head coach Zico on Wednesday said that the 159-ranked nation should make the most of the ongoing tournament.
"There was no professional league in Japan before the start of J-League. Football is already existing in India and we need to make the best out of ISL. In Japan then, there were stadiums with capacity of (only) 5000-10000," said the 61-year-old.
While India continue to struggle in world rankings and are placed 30th in Asia, Japan are listed 52nd in the world and occupy the second position in the continent. Zico, whose role in transforming Japanese football is well documented, said that India need to make the best out of ISL.
"In Japan the difference was that everyone was playing in one league only and two leagues like in India. Here some of the very good players are not playing in ISL.
"In Japan, all the best Japanese players were playing in the J-League along with top foreign players. We need to chose the best. ISL is a big success for Indian football," said Zico on the eve of their ISL clash against Delhi Dynamos.
FC Goa languish at the bottom of the pool after managing just one win at the end of the first leg, losing four times, but Zico seemed to have given the impression that his side can still turn things around in the remaining seven matches.
"In the beginning we had lost a few players to injuries. Our players know what they can contribute. We have to be a team that is good all the time and not rely on just or two players. But in general we have been doing well.
"We made some mistakes in crucial moments of the game. We created so many opportunities but we could not convert. Delhi is also under pressure," Zico said. The Dynamos is the only team against whom FC Goa had managed a victory, in their first-leg home match.
Dynamos player Zohib Islam Amiri, who is a member of the Afghanistan national tea, said: "We came here to win the game, and we are going to play our natural game."