The Indian Super League (ISL) should help pump up interest in the I-League and both tourneys in tandem could raise football quality in India, promoter of Dempo Sports Club and a director of ISL team FC Goa Shrinivas Dempo claims.
Dempo was speaking during an interaction with the media Tuesday, the first after the team's signing up of Brazilian legend Zico as its marquee coach.
"There is a lot of synergy, which we want to develop from the two. At the Dempo Sports Club we have players who will (play) in the system at ISL and come back into the I-League, the calendar is also spaced out," Dempo said.
Dempo, who is also a vice-president with All India Football Federation (AIFF), also said that both the ISL and the I-League could co-exist well.
"We have football all year round that will give exposure. The advantage of ISL is that we have people like Zico who can give us much exposure. I personally see no challenge in terms of co-existence. Praful Patel, the AIFF president also made it very clear that the I-League continues to be the mainstream of football in the country," Dempo said.
The winner of the I-League will play the World Club Cup, which the AIFF has signed up for.
Dempo also said that all teams in the ISL were on par as competition and refused to single out one team which he considered as its key opponent.
"I think the way we approach, is that everyone is a rival. You can't take anyone easy. I think all the teams seem to be well prepared. We can't take anyone lightly. The objective is to win, so each one we will have to take seriously and every match we will have to go with a winning attitude," Dempo said.
Dempo also said that the ISL campaign has managed to break the skepticism around the event.
"Earlier, there was skepticism that the ISL is going to be a marketing exercise a branding exercise. You yourself can see what kind of quality is coming in, stadiums are being upgraded in every state. You have people like Zico who are adding a lot of value to the teams," Dempo said.