New Delhi: Portuguese Footballer Pedro Miguel Pauleta feels tournaments like Indian Super League (ISL), which involves international players, will benefit the current crop of Indian Football players and will also boost the younger generations to take up the sport.
Football as a sport is at the threshold of a huge face-lift in India with the launch of ISL and the country hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. "With the advent of Indian Super League, it will inspire the younger generations to take up the sport and the players will undoubtedly benefit from the international players because of the amount of experience they brings in to play," Pauleta said at the inauguration of the Paris Saint-Germain Academy.
When asked about the prospects of India as a football playing nation he said: "Even countries like the United States were not doing well at the sport but they have certainly revived themselves over a period of time and they have been performing well.
"If the players in India will be provided with good facilities and platform to showcase their talent then it won't be too long to see the country playing in the World Cups."
India has seen some exciting talents coming in from places like north-east and other remote areas and the organisation is looking forward to start more academies in such places.
"We will be very excited to start our venture in the two-tier cities but it will take some time to reach out to those places. As of now, Delhi and Bangalore will be our focus of concern and later on we will look for more expansions," said Rajesh Mehrotra, Director of the Sport Roots, which has formed a partnership with Paris Saint-Germain to open academies in India.
Lending his support to the academy the French ambassador Francois Richier said: "We will be haapy to help India emerge in the game. We would like to produce more strikers for the country where U-17 World Cup is about to take place."
Asked if he ever thinks of coming out of retirement, Pauleta said he certainly has no plans to return back to the sport and has so far received no offers from any of the teams from Indian Super League.