Gokulam Kerala FC head coach, Vincenzo Alberto Annese has opened up on the leagues taking place in Indian football, claiming that, there is “no difference” between the top-tier Indian Super League (ISL) and the second-tier, I-League.
Annese has been brilliant for Gokulam Kerala as they not only created history by becoming the first club in I-League history to defend their title under his watch, but also made a spectacular AFC Cup debut by thrashing ATK Mohun Bagan 4-2 on Wednesday.
“I’ll tell you the truth, We have proved today that there is no difference between ISL and I-League. I want the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to realise this,” he said in a press conference following his sides win over ATK Mohun Bagan.
The Italian went on to claim that the only difference between the two leagues is that of the budgets involved and that a club fighting for relegation in the I-League (Real Kashmir FC) gave them more problems than a top ISL side.
“ATK Mohun Bagan is a very important club and they are very experienced. Right now, we represent India (in AFC Cup). We are very proud of our performance. We have lost a lot of energy. In real terms, the budget of one player of ATK Mohun Bagan can buy 20 of our players including me.
“What really counts is the commitment, emotion and performance on the pitch. Real Kashmir, who were fighting relegation (in the I-League), gave us more problems than ATK Mohun Bagan. This is what I want to show the federation.
Annese also believes that there is a lack of respect for the clubs that compete in the I-League, something which he has not experienced in other countries.
“I come from Italy where if you take the top club in the Serie A (Juventus) and a top club in Serie B, there is no disrespect,” he added.