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National team needs time to get used to world level: Bhutia

April 15, 2012 19:11 IST

Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia said the national team should be given enough time in order to make an impact on the international arena.

With India lying low in 165th place in FIFA rankings, the former India captain said: "The national team has too many young players now so they need time to gel and get used to the international level."

Baichung BhutiaOnce dominant in Indian football, Kolkata is yet to win the national league (now I-League) in eight years -- East Bengal had last won the title in 2003-04. Bhutia said the Big Two city teams -- Mohun Bagan and East Bengal -- need to settle down instead of changing and chopping.

"The Kolkata clubs need to retain the same team for two-three seasons to have a settled look. I think East Bengal have done well in that regard last two seasons but unfortunately it looks like they have fallen a little short again," he said.

Bhutia further said the I-League title is once again Goa-bound, with Dempo firmly in lead.

"Dempo deserve to be champions because of their consistency," the Sikkimese Sniper said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of T20 Pepsi Challenge, Bhutia said: "It is a good platform for amateurs. When I was young, all I wanted was to play whether it was a five-a-side or eleven-a-side it didn't matter. It is a good initiative and it helps increase popularity."

The meet is a five-a-side football tournament for amateurs inside a cage covered from all ends.

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