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Young ISL performers can graduate to India team: Chhetri

PTI 20 Nov 2014, 12:02:41 PM IST

New Delhi: Impressed with the performance of some of the youngsters playing in the ongoing Indian Super League, India captain Sunil Chhetri yesterday said that they deserved to be considered for national team selection.

The likes of C S Sabeeth, Balwant Singh, Durga Boro, Cavin Lobo and Sandesh Jhingan have done well in the ISL for different franchise teams and Chhetri said that the new national team coach could have a look at these players.

"Some of the young players have done so well in the ISL and I am impressed with their performance. I think whoever comes as India coach will have a look at these players (for selection)," Chhetri said.

Some of these players have made it to the India squad but have not played regularly for the country.

"The ISL has given them a platform to show their capability. I hope they continue with their performance," he said at the sidelines of an event to announce a 4 vs 4 football league for children from 6-14 years of age.

Chhetri also felt that the inaugural ISL has got superb reception from Indian football fans and hoped that it could "sustain" the popularity.

"The ISL has been received very well by the football fans. The tournament has been shown in many channels, including in High Definition and you can access to it in other formats. It has been marketed well. I hope the tournament sustains its popularity in future editions also and keep on growing," said the 30-year-old striker.

Asked about his own chances of playing in the future editions of ISL, Chhetri, who has one more year in his two-year contract with I-League champions Bengaluru FC, he said, "I have not thought about it".

"We (Bengaluru FC) are going to play more than 30 matches in the next six months, including the I-League, Federation Cup and AFC Cup. We are very serious about doing well at the Asian club level," he added.

Chhetri said that India had a mixed result during Wim Koevermans' a little over two-year stint as head coach but said that the blame should not be laid on the Dutchman.

Koevermans's contract ended last month and the All Indian Football Federation has been in search of his successor.

"Our performance was a mixed result under Koevermans. We began with a bang with a Nehru Cup win but finishing runners-up at the SAFF Championships last year (after losing to Afghanistan in final) was a debacle.," he said.