So far only three foreigners, who have played in the I-League, have been confirmed for the inaugural season of the ISL. They are Cornell Glen (NorthEast United FC), Penn Orji and Andrew Barisic (Kerala Blasters). But another I-League import could be added to the new league if former Dempo man Rohan Ricketts eventually signs for a franchise.
The Arsenal youth product is in talks with both FC Goa and Chennai. There has been direct contact with FC Goa, where his former club Dempo are the co-owners, and Ricketts is hopeful of sealing a deal with one of the two franchises next week.
“I have not got a deal confirmed in writing as of yet but hope to hear some positive news from The Goa or Chennai franchise in the next week. I will be training with a Premier League club from next week to stay sharp so hope I can use that as a spring board to play in the ISL,” Ricketts told Sportskeeda.
The 31-year-old versatile attacker won the FA Youth Cup with Arsenal twice and played in the English Premier League for their great rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Ricketts has plied his trade in many different countries like Canada, United States, Hungary, Moldova, Germany, Ecuador and Thailand and believes that the ISL is creating a buzz worldwide.
“As far as I am aware it has been making a buzz and has attracted some top talent which should be great for Indian football,” he added.
Having played in the 2012-13 I-League for Dempo, Ricketts can see the obvious differences between the two leagues and talked about the things the ISL needs to do make it successful.
“Drawing the crowds into the stadiums is important and also the marketing of the domestic Indian players is essential. They have to execute well on the marketing and leverage the star power that they have brought into the league,” he said.
Ricketts showed his class at Dempo but left after only four months there following a fallout with head coach Armando Colaco and the player himself doesn’t think he has to prove anything to anyone in Indian football.
“The people at Dempo know about my quality and understood I left due to the wrong doings of you know who,” he said.
Ricketts represented England at youth level but his parents hail from Jamaica and he is close to playing for the Caribbean national at senior international level.
“I was called up a long time ago and left the squad due to some complications and now I have a chance of getting back in the squad which would be great for me and make my mother and father proud as they are born Jamaicans,” he concluded.Published 17 Sep 2014, 22:15 IST