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Ex-Bagan coach sees ‘challenge’

Shillong, June 1: Former Mohun Bagan and ONGC coach Santosh Kashyap, who will begin his coaching stint in the Northeast with Meghalaya-based Rangdajied United FC, today asserted that the new I-League format would be “challenging” for participating teams.

The 2013-14 I-League, which will kick-off in August 2013, will be divided according to the conference model, the eastern conference and western conference.

The top four from each conference would advance to play in the final round. The new format has been formulated in a bid to cut costs in transportation and accommodation.

Kashyap, 46, who will stay with Rangdajied for at least one season, was unveiled as the head coach of the club today at a media conference.

“The new I-League format is similar to what is being done in the US. Although it is too early to say whether the format is fine or not, I am sure it is going to be challenging,” the former Mohun Bagan coach said.

He said his immediate challenge is to build an effective team and to ensure that Rangdajied will stay in the I-League.

Rangdajied, along with Calcutta-based Mohammedan Sporting, qualified in April this year.

It is for the first time that the Meghalaya-based club has qualified for the big league.

“It is challenging for a new club. Obviously, with a new formation, the team will have a bigger challenge in hand. But we will definitely try to do our best and remain in the league,” he said.

The head coach also said Rangdajied has excellent infrastructure for the promotion of football. “The team has a good youth set-up with talented players. We will give opportunities to such players for the main team,” Kashyap added.

On foreign recruits, he said the four foreigners in the club would “attract crowds” into the I-League.

But Kashyap, however, said this will not, in any way, harm the prospects of home-grown players. “The efforts of the clubs should be to nurture local talent and if you are talented you will make it,” he opined. The All India Football Federation had decided that each I-League Club would be allowed to register a maximum 30 players, of whom a minimum five would be required to be under-23 players.

A minimum of two under-23 players are required to be in the final 18 and at least one in the final playing XI.

It also decided to increase the number of foreign recruits to four. Every club would be allowed to register four foreign recruits (3+1) and play all of them.


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