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Asian Games in ISL’s way

New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has chalked out elaborate plans, including two preparatory trips abroad, to get ready for the Asian Games in September. But the move may put the Indian Super League (ISL) franchisees in a spot, regarding recruitment of front-ranking young Indian players.

While the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, would be played from September 19 to October 4, the ISL is set to kick off from September 18. As per Fifa rules, the Asian Games is an under-23 tournament and only three senior players can be included in a squad. It means a whole bunch of young Indian players would miss out on the cash-rich ISL.

The ISL organisers had initially said they would recruit Indian players at least two months prior to the tournament, for training under foreign coaches. The plan may go astray as the AIFF has decided to call the first national camp in Bangalore in July, followed by a two-week trip to Marbella in Spain in the third week of July.

After the Spain trip, the team would train again in India and then go for exposure trips to China or South Korea. “The entire plan has been drawn by our chief coach Wim Koevermans,” said a federation official. “In 2010, India reached the quarter-finals. This time we hope to do better. As per the rules, the AIFF holds the right to call players for national duty at any time of the season,” he added.