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No Difference between ISL and I-League, AIFF Should Consider Our Players for National Team: Vincento Alberto Annesse

Gokulam Kerala coach Vincento Alberto Annesse (Twitter)

Gokulam Kerala coach Vincento Alberto Annesse (Twitter)

Gokulam Kerala coach Vincento Alberto Annesse said there is 'no difference between' ISL and I-League and added that AIFF should now consider their players for the national team

Having outplayed ISL giants ATK Mohun Bagan, reigning I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC proved that there is “no difference between the two tournaments” and the AIFF should now consider their players for the national team, the Malabarians coach Vincento Alberto Annesse said on Wednesday.

Fresh from becoming the first team to defend the I-League title, GKFC made a spectacular AFC Cup debut with a 4-2 thrashing of ATK Mohun Bagan to take the honours in a battle between the two heavyweights of the top-tier ISL and the second-tier I-League.

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“We have proved today that there is no difference between ISL and I-League,” the Italian coach said in the post-match media conference.

Taking a dig at the team selection of India coach Igor Stimac, Annesse said: “Most of the time, the coach does not give chances to our players to be in the national side.

“I’m very disappointed because ATKMB had eight national team players and we beat them 4-2. I think the All India Football Federation must now understand that there’s no difference between I-League and ISL teams.”

Annesse said he is “disappointed that the national team has no players from the I-League.”

“ATK Mohun Bagan is a very important club and they are very experienced. Right now, we represent India (in AFC Cup). We are very proud of our performance. We have lost a lot of energy,” he said.

He said the only difference between the two leagues is that of the budgets involved.

“In real terms, the budget of one player of ATK Mohun Bagan can buy 20 of our players including me. But the budget is only meant for the interest of the media and the owners of the clubs,” the Italian said.

“What really counts is the commitment, emotion and performance on the pitch.”

He said ATKMB posed no threat to them and Real Kashmir gave them more problems than the ISL heavyweights.

“Real Kashmir, who were fighting relegation (in the I-League), gave us more problems than ATK Mohun Bagan. This is what I want to show the federation,” he said.

“I think in football budget makes a difference. But on the pitch it is 11 v 11. We have the right mix of Indian and foreign players. I don’t want to be arrogant.”

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first published:May 19, 2022, 08:21 IST