NorthEast United has had a very positive start to their ISL campaign. Drawing with FC Goa and beating ATK at Kolkata were something that many Highlanders could only dream of. The man behind this success of NorthEast is none other than Eelco Schattorie, the Dutchman who is well accustomed to Indian football.
After having stints at United Sports Club and East Bengal, Schattorie joined NorthEast last season as Assistant to former Chelsea Manager Avram Grant and has been promoted to the role of Head Coach ahead of this season.
After the win against ATK, Eelco talked about the red card issue and on other aspects of the game. But we asked him whether he notes any difference in the on-the-field level of I-League and ISL, after having been involved prominently in both leagues. The Dutchman after an initial pause stated, “This question is being asked many times. It’s very difficult to answer it to be honest. I think in a longer period of time you can make that judgement.”
Then he added, “The only thing that I see is the foreigners who are on the field. Even with ATK they have some really good foreigners. So then the level should always be high. At the same time that may not always translate onto the field. What’s the reason I don’t know!”
The former East Bengal Head Coach then said,”So if you compare both leagues, I think ISL has more quality on the field. But does that always translate? Difficult to say!”
So, although the NorthEast United FC gaffer did not ditch the question, he made it clear that the number and the quality of the foreigners is what makes the level of game in ISL better compared to I-League although often it might not be as it is.