Croatian national team head coach Zlatko Dalic believes it is important to reduce the number of foreign players in Indian clubs to help the progress of the national team.
Croatia, under the tutelage of Dalic, recorded their best-ever finish in a World Cup when a historic campaign in the 2018 edition of the tournament ended in a second-place finish after losing to champions France in the final. The experienced coach took part in an interaction online with Indian coaches on Friday and offered his thoughts on India's football leagues.
"I followed your league and saw your teams and a small problem you have is that you have a lot of foreign players. An example is Saudi Arabia, last season it was eight foreign players, it is difficult for the local players, you can't develop young players," Dalic said.
He explained, "Too many foreigners is a problem because that will hinder the development of young (domestic) players. Two-to-three (foreigners) in a team should be enough. I know that you want to improve your league and brought a lot of foreign players but I think it will not help when you want to improve your national team.
"How will you improve your national team when your players didn't play in the league? If you bring foreign players, you have to bring good (quality) players who will benefit your team," the former Al-Hilal coach said.
The two professional leagues in India - the Indian Super League and the I-League - does not follow the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) 3+1 rule for foreign quota that a lot of Asian leagues have adopted. However, the number of foreigners who are being allowed is being gradually reduced. As it stands, ISL teams can sign a minimum of six and a maximum of seven players and can play five foreigners at once on the field.
Dalic advised that the coaches need to be patient with young footballers as they try to improve their careers.
"The league doesn't need too many foreign players, two-three are enough. If you have seven-eight players in your local team, young players cannot play. Without strong game time, they cannot improve their career. You want to succeed in your football, (then) you have to be patient with your young players."