The standard of Indian football has been improved due to the presence of foreign recruits in various clubs across the country, AIFF Vice-president Ankur Dutta said in Jamshedpur on Thursday.
"We must give credit to them (foreign recruits). The standard of Indian football has gone up because of them," Dutta said.
Asked if the presence of foreigners would hamper the prospect of Indian footballers, he replied in the negative.
"On many counts, they are much ahead of us and their presence has made a difference in the standard of our game," said Dutta, also the Chairman of Federation Cup committee.
Foreign recruits will not affect Indians but provide them a sort of international exposure, Dutta said.
On the poor performance of Indian strikers in recent tournaments when the country was targeting to a place at the 2022 World Cup, he said Indian footballers have plenty of talent and potential but needed to be groomed properly.
"We too have good strikers," he said referring to Wednesday's impressive performance of AIFF's developmental side, Kolkata [ Images ] based Pailan Arrows, at the Federation Cup lung opener.
Without having a single foreigner, Pailan Arrows fought hard and held I-League champions Dempo SC.
"We are focusing on preparing our Under-17 team for the 2017 World Cup, which we will be bidding for," he said and appealed to state governments and the corporate sector to contribute in infrastructural development for the promotion of the game in the country.
Dutta cited the example of a Saudi Arabian King who had developed infrastructure for top ten professional football clubs leading the country to qualify for the World Cup.