Mumbai City FC defender Rahul Bheke is of the firm opinion that the Indian Super League has helped teams and Indian players to become better in terms of physicality and technical ability.
Bheke created history by scoring the winning goal against Iraq's Air Force Cup in Mumbai City's AFC Champions League game and he believes that this victory will serve as an inspiration for all Indian footballers.
"This achievement is an inspiration for all Indian footballers. As our coach (Des Buckingham) said, this win will make players believe they belong at this level. Watching the game in how the players played, all the Indian players should believe they do belong," Bheke told IANS.
"Obviously this is just the beginning because, in the last two years, two ISL clubs have been part of the AFC Champions League group stage. I think ISL has really helped teams and Indian players grow.
"I think huge credit goes to the Indian Super League. The opportunities and the infrastructure they have provided have helped all Indian footballers and coaches. We are playing with top foreign players and being coached by top foreign coaches, which has really helped us."
Talking about the importance of foreign players anc coaches in the ISL, Bheke added, "The Indian players have learned a lot from the foreigners they share the dressing room with and as well as the quality coaches who have come here. From here on, ISL teams will only keep doing well. We have got this victory and in the coming years, it will really help Indian football.
"In these eight years, two of the teams have now played the group stages of the AFC Champions League and it will only keep on growing and it is a great platform for each and every footballer. ISL will remain a big stage to keep on helping Indian football in future." he concluded.