Delay in resolving league dispute is ruining Indian football: Novy Kapadia
Speaking at an event in New Delhi on Sunday evening, author and senior sports journalist Novy Kapadia said the All India Football Federation (AIFF) should sort out the mess in its ranks as soon as possible and create a clear roadmap for Indian football.
He said, "Everybody is supposed to be a stakeholder for Indian football, ultimately, AIFF has to play the role of an honest broker, sit down, discuss and sort out this issue which is becoming irreversible day by day. Nobody has planned for this situation, I-League Division Two clubs are continuously investing in hopes of making it to the first division which could be defunct very soon."
Comparing the ISL to IPL, Kapadia continued, "If BCCI can control IPL (teams), whose owners are more powerful and well connected, AIFF should be able to do the same. They have basically surrendered their position, their autonomy, their authority and handed it to the marketing companies. FSDL (Football Sports Development) shouldn't be allowed to sit in important meetings and have a say on the crucial issues."
Talking about a situation where Indian Super League is the only professional football league in the country, Kapadia said, "See, 10 or 12 teams cannot represent a nation of 130 crores. A talent pool of 250 players isn't enough quantity."
Criticizing the Indian Super League, the Delhi University associate professor said that clubs like ATK and FC Goa make no sense. "These are two cities with rich club legacy. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are the heartbeat of Indian football. During the first couple of seasons, people came to see the Bollywood superstars, the few famous players and now, they are being exposed. No club gains fan following in five years. It takes a hundred years to build a legacy."
According to Kapadia, there should be a clear roadmap for Indian football which should be created by football people and not by marketing people.
At the same event, new Delhi Dynamos signing Gaurav Bora also spoke about his title-winning exploits in the I-League with Chennai City FC, a spell which also resuled in him making the India U-23 squad, for the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers.
Bora has been one of the biggest revelations in Indian football during the past 12 months. After coming through the Pune City FC academy, he spent two seasons at Chennai City FC on loan and has recently signed for Delhi Dynamos.
In his first loan spell at Chennai City, Bora made a few appearances in midfield, mostly off the bench. In the 2018-19 season, he was played at centre-back and contributed heavily to his side winning the league.
Talking about the positional change, Bora said, "Coach Akbar (Nawas) came in and tried me in different positions, he felt I could play at centre back. I just continued following his instructions and (Roberto) Eslava always helped me. He is a kind guy and of course, when you play amongst quality players, you get to learn a lot. He is a very good centre back and always guided me on the pitch, he taught me how to play without the ball."
When asked about scoring the winning goal on the final day of the 2018-19 I-League season, the 20-year old defender said, "It's very special (feeling) for each and every one because it's the ultimate dream when the league starts. Everyone wants to win the league, and, if you get the decisive goal on the final day, I have to say that it's a dream come true and has to be one of my biggest achievements in life."
Bora grew up in Delhi and has came to the limelight after impressing for Delhi U-16. He is very excited to play for Dynamos and said "I am very excited to be here. It has always been my dream, I have watched a lot of Delhi Dynamos matches from the stands and now, getting on the other side, will be a dream come true."
Bora made the transition from I-League to its richer brother Indian Super League in time as the existence of the nation's oldest football professional league is in danger.