Through a longer calendar, the younger players will now have a pathway to the national team: Former HFC head coach Phil Brown
Former Hyderabad FC head coach Phil Brown stated that a greater number of matches in the domestic season will provide youngsters more experience and will benefit them in their growth and development. Additionally, it will also become a pathway for the national team ahead of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. As per the Englishman, Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season will be a gamechanger in Indian football.
“With the number of matches and the number of Indians in the squads going up, accounting for injury and rotation, every Indian player in the squad is going to be used. That in itself can only aid development. Some players who will not feature at the start of the season will get their chance in the middle and suddenly you get a run of 3-4 games. That exposure for players, for me, is moving Indian football in the right direction where it should be going,” said Brown while speaking to the TOI.
He also spoke highly about how the following change will bring a positive outcome in the youth setup for several Hero ISL clubs which in turn would help recruiting talent for the national team in the future.
“The first XI of the national team takes care of itself but the next XI or the one after that, you are talking about U23, U21 players in the national team. Through this calendar, these younger players now have a pathway to the national team. Ishan Pandita scored for the national team. In his first season at FC Goa, he was only used as a substitute, second season (with Jamshedpur FC), he came in and got a few games and goals, and look now, he is pushing his case for a spot in the India first XI. The results are there in front of you. Another example is Suresh (Singh Wangjam). Two years ago, he was blossoming as another talent in ISL, now he started these games for India. These are the pathways that younger players can now look up to,” the 63-year-old added.
The Indian domestic football season is scheduled to kick off with Durand Cup in August 2022. Close to nine months of football is going to be played between the Durand Cup and the Super Cup in May 2023, with the start of Hero ISL, and I-League in October.
Brown also commented on how the longer season would help the players to spend more time with the coaches, who will get to know them better which will also give the coaches a psychological advantage.
“For me, as far as coaches in India are concerned, it is manna from heaven. It is a fantastic move forward for Indian football. As a foreign coach coming to India, all we want to do is train with the players. We call it contact time. The more contact time you have with the players, the better chance the player has of improving. It is the most important part in my opinion for the improvement of individuals,” said the former Hyderabad FC coach.
“The elongation of the season, taking it into nine months takes contact time to another level. It helps the game to expand and improve but it also helps the coaches in knowing the players better from a psychological point of view. The whole package is now nothing but a positive for an Indian player,” he added.