Indian football coach Stephen Constantine believes the domestic players have a lot to gain from the Indian Super League (ISL) as they rub shoulders with knowledgeable international players and train under quality foreign coaches.
Since its inception in 2014, ISL has attracted international players who have played in some of the best leagues around the world and Constantine said the Indian players have a lot to gain from them who have plied their trade at much higher levels before making a move to India.
"The positive impact has been the sharing of experience from the foreign recruits, or may I call it the knowledge transfer. So many foreign recruits who have played at much higher levels are coming to India to play in the ISL. They are here to share their experience and do it in a positive manner," said Constantine while discussing the positive impact that the ISL has had on Indian football.
"It's now up to the Indian player to grasp as much as possible from them. It is an unique opportunity and one needs to make the most of it. You won't get such a chance every day," he said.
Apart from the foreign players, the ISL has also attracted many leading coaches from around the world with Brazilian legend Zico, now into his third season with FC Goa, being the most famous name.
There are other coaches who have handled top clubs in the past and Constantine has been left in no doubt that there is plenty to learn from them.
"It's so significant that we have some very good coaches who are coaching in the ISL. A player can improve only when he trains under a quality coach. The ISL is providing the opportunity to the Indian player," said Constantine who is now into his second stint with the Indian football team.
"I expect them to approach it positively, be inquisitive and learn as much as possible to add expertise and more value to the Indian player and Indian football as a whole. I would expect my players to interact and learn as much as possible. There is no substitute to learning."
The third edition of the ISL kicks off on October 1 with NorthEast United facing Kerala Blasters in the opener at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.