I-league should be modeled on J-league

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Kolkata, Dec 2 (UNI) Indian soccer coach Bob Houghton while stating that the I-league should be modelled on Japanese League today emphasised on a central contract system so that youngsters could be registered and they don't drift away mid-way.

Talking to reporters here, Houghton said, ''We must model our I-league on the model of J-league. The whole league needs to be played for 30 to 40 weeks and breaks after every 10 weeks.'' ''This will help the players to get rest if injured or play international matches. It has to be evenly placed and the only league on which all the major clubs will concentrate on,'' the Briton added.

''The local leagues should be played by the U-21 boys with no more than three seniors allowed each game. Before the Nehru Cup the players were fresh and when they came for the pre-World Cup match against Lebanon they were exhausted,'' he added.

He cited examples of Mohun Bagan's Jose Ramirez Barreto who is picking up injuries and returning to play even before he is completely fit and Mahindra United playing two matches on successive days which were ''serious departures from the way matches are played internationally''.

He then raised his voice for junior footballers like Sushil Singh or Tarif Ahmed who had no clubs.

''Give them clubs. We need a central contract system like we have in cricket, where all the young players coming up are registerd. If I choose 30 out of 50, the other 20 should not be lost.'' On his wanting taller players, he said, ''When we talk of players like Baichung bhutia, Surkumar Singh or Sunil Chhetri we don't talk about height for they are class players. But average players need 1.72 mts height and big built.'' ''We are not beaten by other teams because of lack of skill or endurance, but because of our height and our weakness in set pieces and body tackles. Lebanon beat us on set pieces and we could do nothing,'' he lamented.

He also criticized the big three clubs of Kolkata -- East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohameddan Sporting -- for lacking the facilities of modern football.

''We have nothing here in Kolkata. The facilities for the players are zero, be it coaches or the dressing room. I don't want five star facility, but I mean the minimum international standard should be maintained.'' UNI

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