India football captain Sunil Chhetri believes the Next Gen Cup will provide an exclusive platform for upcoming football players across the country. He hopes the tournament leads to the emergence of first-team players for different clubs as well as the national team. Chhetri is currently third on the international goalscoring list level with the legendary striker Ferenc Puskas on 84 goals.
“This is an opportunity that I didn’t have as a young footballer in India, and I’m really happy that the Premier League and ISL have joined hands to make this happen,” India captain Sunil Chhetri said about the Next Gen Cup. “The Next Generation Cup presents a chance for our players to go out and get the experience of playing against the youth teams of some of the best sides in the UK. I’m really glad to see our youngsters get this chance, and it also gives our coaches a chance to see the boys who have been knocking on the first team doors in action.”
“To give them a message becomes easy when examples like Roshan Naorem are in front of you,” he added. “Think of where he was exactly a year back and look now, the journey from the club’s academy to the first team and then the Indian [national] team. He was a boy amongst them, and he has completely changed his life around. That is what you can do when you work hard.”
Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters FC has announced the club will play pre-season friendlies in UAE next month.
“The initial plan of the club was a camp for less than two weeks with three friendly matches which will be executed as well in this pre-season,” sporting director Karolis Skinkys said. “I’m delighted that all our UAE fans can come and be part of us at the stadium. This pre-season match is crucial for the club and all our supporters, and this will assist us to test our squads’ limits as well.”