Mumbai, Aug 7: India full backs Gouramangi Singh and Nirmal Chhetri, who have both signed to play in the upcoming IPL-style franchise football league, are hopeful they can take part in this season's I-League too despite the clubs' opposition to the new IMG-Reliance league.
“As a player I have been given this opportunity to be part of IMG-R league and am hopeful everything is sorted out and I will be playing in the I-League also,” said Gouramangi Singh after a training session at the Cooperage ground this morning.
I-League clubs have refused to loan players to the IPL-style league to be held from January 18-March 30 next year and have also not shown willingness to take in players who are associated with IMG-R's tournament on loan to play for them.
But the new city-based league, which will have eight franchise outfits with 10 international players in each team -- including a marquee player—has already got the green signal from the All India Football Federation.
IMG-Reliance are the marketing partners of AIFF and shared their new tournament's objectives, structure and implementation with the federation on August 2.
“We (players) are very optimistic about the league. International players are going to be there. It's going to be good for us. IMG-R is a responsible company and this will only be good for us,” said he 27-year-old Gouramangi, who has played for Churchill Brothers and Dempo SC in I-League in the past.
Chhetri also expressed similar sentiments about playing in both the leagues.
“I hope things will get sorted out. Everyone wants to be part of both the leagues and are hoping that players will get a chance to be loaned to the clubs and then come back to play in IMG-R league. I will be very happy to play for 10 months in a year and have a two-month break to be with family and friends,” said the 22-year-old Sikkim-born central defender.
“I am very happy as I started my career in Mumbai for Air India and I am back. They (IMG-R) have very good plans for Indian football. They are doing their best and have their plans for Indian football, to take it to another dimension.
“I think unless the tournament starts we can't say it's bad. Let it start and people will know what football is,” he added.
Both Gouramangi and Chhetri are part of the India squad to play in a friendly international match against Tajikistan at Khujand on August 14.
The two players, who have been training for the last two days along with other IMG-R recruits under Trevor Morgan, are set to join the rest of the India squad after leaving the camp tomorrow.