New Delhi: Bridging the gap between proven international stars and home players will be a challenge but Delhi Dynamos coach Harm van Veldhoven feels the presence of names like Alessandro Del Piero and Zico in ISL will gradually help in developing the national team and boost its rankings.
The inaugural Indian Super League is to be held from October 12-December 20, and the Dutch-Belgian manager said it will be of paramount importance that the Indian players listen carefully and pick up tips from once-globally renowned footballers such as Zico, Del Piero, Robert Pires, David Trezeguet, Luis Garcia and Freddie Ljungberg.
"It's important that these players (and coaches) say the right things at the right moment and it's also very important that Indian players listen and pick up the knowledge. Day by day, gradually, you will see the Indian players grow and also the national team (in terms of rankings)," Veldhoven told PTI.
"The task is to get the Indian and international players onto a similar level. Of course, it's very, very difficult, and there is also shortage of time," he added.
"We want to bring it (standard) to the same level, higher level, whether it's about on the pitch or off it, organisation and organisers. Yes, it will definitely need some time to take the next step... Can learn a lot of things once they bring a mix of experienced coaches, players, new ideas."
The 51-year-old coach said Italian World Cup winner Del Piero, who is expected to arrive in the country next Friday, will bring in the required experience and guide other players.
"When you have a player with this kind of experience he can bring in a lot not only on the pitch but also off it. He brings in a lot of experience and it will be difficult to bring them (others) on same level... And time is also short.
"Del Piero has achieved everything in football. He has to be in his best position. Everybody knows that this player with so much experience will say the right things," he said.
Asked what will be the Juventus legend's position in his attacking 4-2-3 formation, Veldhoven said he can play his marquee player in one of four positions.
"He can play in four positions, we may play him in outside, as a striker or as a second striker. It's important who is playing next to him or who are playing outside. There are lots of possibilities, we will have to see how he feels."
Asked what convinced him to be a part of ISL, especially Delhi Dynamos, Veldhoven said it was a combination of things.
"The way they think about supporting football in India, the vision, the organisation...These things together convinced me to be part of it. I met people from Feyenoord (academy with whom Dynamos has a tie-up), also met Den Cable (team owner).
"I was surprised by their way of thinking ... After signing the contract I felt about their ambitious way of thinking. You could feel that everybody was working very hard to get top level football in Delhi and there is no limit here. When people are enthusiastic about things it helps."
Talking about his other challenges, Veldhoven reiterated that he would look to strike a balance in his team.
"Besides trying to get them on same level, the target is also balancing the team because you win the game together.
"I want to have good balance, everybody has to think together, will have to use the players in right position, use the marquee player in the right way and have the perfect balance," he explained.
Veldhoven hoped that with time they would get more pitches for training.
"There will come a time when you can make the balance better and better, it is important to arrange more spaces for training... These things together bring you to higher level.
"We will maybe need more pitches in future, one training pitch may not be enough. It is important to create the ideal situation to and ensure that training is of highest level."