New Delhi: After a quality show against Asian Champions Qatar in their previous World Cup qualifier at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, the Indian footballers are now gearing up for their next challenge as they take on Bangladesh at the at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on October 15. And one man who knows the turf at the YBK inside out is the legendary Bhaichung Bhutia.
But more importantly, Bhutia has seen the fate of Indian football rise one step at a time and believes that the current set of players are improving with every outing. In fact, the former India skipper feels that playing against quality players in the Indian Super League (ISL) has helped the boys understand the challenges that come with playing against top teams.
"In my opinion, the ISL has made the players more confident. I think competing with good players has definitely given them confidence and you can see that in the way they played the last two World Cup qualifiers against Oman and Qatar," Bhaichung told IANS.
But the maestro goes on to add that along with ISL, there are other factors as well that have helped in the overall growth of Indian football and that includes bringing in quality coaches.
"What I am trying to say is that while the ISL has definitely helped as the players are now wearing a more confident look and have much more self-belief, there are a lot of other factors too and a major one in that is the tactical acumen that has come in with the coaches.
"These boys did well under Stephen Constantine and are now doing well under Igor Stimac. The boys are improving tactically and their style of play has also improved. All these have combined to ensure the performance that you see on the field now," he explained.
The recent show by the Blue Tigers has earned the team a lot of praise from the football fraternity and Bhutia feels that it is a clear case of the players looking to learn from the foreign players who are coming in thanks to the ISL.
"So, psychologically the players are now looking more confident. Due to the ISL, the boys are now playing and training with quality players. So, that definitely helps you learn a lot more and gain in experience," he signed off.