ISL 2019-20: 'Indian football has potential, needs to be nurtured with proper resources,' says Chennaiyin FC star Andre Schembri

33-year old forward Andre Schembri, who has become a household name among the football fans in Chennai since he signed with the two-time ISL champions, said he was enjoying being part of the league, adding it was a great experience

Press Trust of India January 22, 2020 23:29:47 IST
ISL 2019-20: 'Indian football has potential, needs to be nurtured with proper resources,' says Chennaiyin FC star Andre Schembri
  • Former Maltese footballer Andre Schembri feels several Indian players have the potential but it can be nurtured only by having the right and appropriate resources

  • The 33-year old forward, who has become a household name among the football fans in Chennai since he signed with the two-time ISL champions, said he was enjoying being part of the league, adding it was a great experience

  • On the talk of the football World Cup being expanded to make it a 48-team affair, the Maltese player said it would provide a better chance to small nations to feature in the showpiece event

Former Maltese footballer Andre Schembri feels several Indian players have the potential but it can be nurtured only by having the right and appropriate resources.

ISL 201920 Indian football has potential needs to be nurtured with proper resources says Chennaiyin FC star Andre Schembri

Andre Schembri of Chennaiyin FC celebrates after scoring against Kerala Blasters. Image courtesy: Indian Super League

"There is potential in many Indian players however potential can be only nurtured by having the right and appropriate resources at hand," the Chennaiyin FC footballer said in an interaction with PTI.

The 33-year old forward, who has become a household name among the football fans in Chennai since he signed with the two-time ISL champions, said he was enjoying being part of the league, adding it was a great experience.

"Great experience not only in the footballing aspect but also the social aspect. I am enjoying a lot travelling all around India, playing against different teams and in the same time seeing different places," he added.

Schembri, who is a big star in Malta, said he did not consider himself one (a star) but a role model.

"I don't consider myself a star but a role model. I have to be responsible how I act and live my life because I know a lot of young players who look up to me," he added.

He said football back home (in Malta) was still amateurish, adding the national association was trying to change things.

"...Unfortunately, football in Malta is still amateurish. However, the new Malta Football Association administration are trying to change our football into being professional," Schembri added.

On the talk of the football World Cup being expanded to make it a 48-team affair, the Maltese player said it would provide a better chance to small nations to feature in the showpiece event.

"I agree with it. The more teams there is the better as this gives a better chance to other small nations to play in the World Cup," he added.

Meanwhile, CFC mid-fielder Anirudh Thapa said the ongoing ISL season had been a roller-coaster for the team and that the focus now was on making it to the play-offs.

"The current season of the ISL has been a roller coaster ride. We have been at the bottom of the table and understand what it takes to get back up in the game. Right now our sole focus is to to make the playoffs," he added.

Thapa said playing alongside foreigners in the CFC line-up had helped as each player brings something to the table.

"Playing aside the foreigners has been very fruitful so far. Everybody in the team brings something to the table and we all learn something from each other," he added.

The 22-year old CFC star said the competition for mid-field spots in the Indian team was a blessing for the sport in the country.

"The competition in the Indian team for the midfield position is a bliss and a blessing for Indian football. I feel this competition brings out the best in the players and eventually gives the Indian team some of the best midfielders in the country," he added.

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