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I Would Love To See A 20 Team League: Sunil Chhetri

Sunday, 16 July 2017|Staff Reporter

Indian captain Sunil Chhetri on Saturday said that he would prefer to see a 20 team league any day and would certainly "miss" the rivalry between Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC in the ISL. 

Bengaluru FC are one of the new entrants in the fourth edition of Indian Super League, while Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal would continue to play in the I- League.

"I will miss them (Mohun Bagan). I'm not trying to hint anything but I loved our game against Mohun Bagan. In last three years the rivalry between Mohun Bagan and BFC is the best thing that has happened," the BFC striker told reporters.

Chhetri also hopes that meets the two Kolkata heavyweights soon.

"It has been really equal. All the games that I think right now were really tough. Be it AFC Cup, I-League or the Federation Cup, all the games against Mohun Bagan has always been tough. We had a great rivalry. I just hope we meet soon," he said.

Chhetri also welcomed the idea of 20 teams playing simultaneously in the I-League and the ISL. 

"The good part is there will be 20 teams playing at the same time, so more players will get the opportunity, especially the Indians. Last year when both happened differently the same players almost played the ISL and I-League. Now more Indian players will get an opportunity," said Chhetri.

"I want both the leagues to flourish as at the end of the day, you want more Indian players to come in. The problems that some of the players were not employed last year might not happen this time with 20 teams playing simultaneously. "

But he agreed that ultimately a long European style league with about 20 clubs is the way forward.

"I, you and the whole country would prefer that any day. We are 1.3 billion people. I would love to see 20 (teams) in first, second, third and fourth divisions... I think we can cater to that.

"As a captain of the country, I would like all the players who are good enough should get an opportunity to play."

Chhetri also expressed his displeasure at fielding 5 foreign players in the starting XI. 

"Eventually I want to see four foreigners. I do not know which league you are talking about. From next year it's going to be four that's what I've been promised.

"It's a simple. You want to win a league or the Federation Cup because you want to compete in the AFC. This is a big price. When you play AFC, you must play by their rules, this is what I feel," he added.