Merge ISL with I-League: Zico

With the Hero Indian Super League football tournament already a big hit in its inaugural edition, Brazilian great Zico on Saturday called for its merger with I-League, the top-tier professional league of the country.

PTI| Updated: Dec 13, 2014, 20:39 PM IST
Merge ISL with I-League: Zico

Kolkata: With the Hero Indian Super League football tournament already a big hit in its inaugural edition, Brazilian great Zico on Saturday called for its merger with I-League, the top-tier professional league of the country.

The 61-year-old Zico, who was behind Japan's rise as an Asian powerhouse, today said he's here to help Indian football move forward.

"In India, you already have one league and now there's ISL. In my point of view, it should merge, the I-League and ISL for the benefit of Indian football. There should be just one league. Otherwise ISL will just be another good event," Zico told reporters here.

"I wish it can happen and I'm here to help the Indian football's development. I'm very happy because all the Indian players are doing their well and I'm ready to help them. But now it's up to authorities to see what's best," he added.

With ISL, there has been a confusion about the release of players by the I-League clubs and in fact the reigning champions Bengaluru FC opted not to release its players for the tournament by IMG Reliance and supported by the AIFF.

Citing example of the Japanese model, the three time World Cuppper Brazillian said, "I don't like to make comparisons between countries but when I landed there there was no league. It was a different story. We created J-League in a way to accommodate all the teams."

The FC Goa manager expressed his concern for poor refereeing on the eve of their first leg semifinal against Atletico de Kolkata on Sunday.

"I really regret that sometimes there had been some bad decisions. Like it happened in the last game Bruno did not touch Fikru but we got the penalty, they scored and we lost a player. It was not fair," he said.

"But we prepared ourselves to play football. I am just worried about my team and my opponents. It will be a battle between two strong teams. Every team has their own styles. against two style of football definitely."

Zico further said Kolkata would have the home edge having used to the nature of the artificial surface of the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan.

"I don't like this turf but every team played here so we have to play on it. Kolkata played here seven times, they are more used to it and so it's advantage for them. Hope from next year, every ground will be the same -- real grass," said Zico.

The ISL has no away goal rules in the two leg semifinals but Zico did not mind.

"Remember, we lost to them in Goa. It will be 180 minutes of game that we will have to wait and see."