Bengaluru: Former Iranian footballer Jamshid Nassiri feels instead of focusing more on the established players, Indian Super League (ISL) should spent few crores in establishing academies to develop untapped youngsters and improve Indian football.
"If ISL is spending Rs 600 crore for development of Indian football, then why not spend few crores for establishing academies in their respective areas ... Eight franchisees ... Eight academies is a good idea," Nassiri told PTI in an exclusive interview here.
Nassiri is in the city as a part of Star Sports "Young Heroes" project which aims to handpick sixteen most talented football players from schools across fifteen different cities.
Nassiri said India, with the kind of vast resources, wealth and talent, has only two academies, but a tiny country like Nepal has four.
"Creating academies is the only way to develop Indian football. Nepal has four academies and India has only two, in spite of boasting of vast resources, wealth and talent," he said.
Around the world, many countries in Europe, South-East, Gulf and Asian countries players of international quality are produced through academies, Nassiri said.
"ISL should also invest on untapped youngsters to develop them into world class players. I am not saying they should not do it for senior players of the established players. However, investing more on untapped youngster will develop Indian football," he said.
All India Football Federation is planning to merge the I-League with the star-studded Indian Super League and Nassiri also supported the idea and said one league will help the football clubs to run their affair smoothly.
Asked if he will accept offer for coaching an ISL team, Nassiri said, "If anybody including ISL wants to develop football by tapping untapped school players I will be ready to work but will not if their focus is on already established players."
Asked whether academies run by Manchester United,
Liverpool and others in India are of any help for the development of Indian football, Nassiri said these academies are nothing but commercial ventures. "These academies are commercial ventures.
"In academies like Manchester United and others you have to pay or else you will not be entertained. The players who are paying may not be of good quality," he said.
Moreover, these academies are not there to train aspirants at later stages of their project, unlike the Star Sports "Young Heroes" project, Nassiri said.
"Academies run by clubs like Manchester United in India are not there to see you at later stages. Here, under "Young Heroes" Project, the future of the youngsters is secure by their performance, not by money," he said.