India national team head coach, Igor Stimac claims that the country is "8 to 10" years behind top Asian countries in terms of development and has urged the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to reduce the number of foreigners altogether from participating in the I-League.
Stimac who recently led India to qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup was delighted with the way his side played in the recently concluded qualifiers - but believes that India still has a long way to go in terms of development when compared to the top Asian countries.
“In the Indian Super League (ISL) there is already the 3+1 rule. But we need to reduce foreigners altogether from I-League going forward if we want to go forward. I need players playing as strikers or forwards and centre-backs. I need reasons why there is a need for foreigners in the I-League. I’d give you 100 reasons why there is no need for foreigners in I-League," he said at a press conference.
"We need to start thinking about the future. We are 8-10 years late in the development phase. 8-10 years behind top-8 Asian countries. How will we get there when we want to get there? So let’s wake up!”
The ISL and the I-League have emerged as breeding grounds for young Indian talent and some of them were present in the Indian squad which created history by qualifying for the Asian Cup for the second successive time in their history.