Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 | Last Update : 10:53 AM IST
We are waiting for a concrete roadmap from the AIFF before joining I-league, says president Shirish Kulkarni.
Before the start of the 2016/17 I-league season, Bharat FC and Pune FC decided to shut their clubs down, and Mumbai FC followed as well. Not many owners find the idea of the Indian Super League very intriguing even after some remarkable games this season. They feel that the league cannot help the youth prosper.
The closing of these local clubs indicates a dreary future for the young players. However, Pune-based club DSK Shivajians who have been in and out of the I-league have re-ignited hopes as the president has indicated a possible return.
The club did significantly well in the Nike Premier Cup 2018, as they made it to the finals after beating a formidable Bengaluru FC side in the semis.
“Well, we have already seen both sides of the game. We have been to the I-league and back. Now with the changes being proposed, we have decided to wait and watch as to how it develops and then we will take a call on it. Going further, our focus will always remain on developing the youth and we will be fielding young players even if we make it to the big leagues in the future,” says Shirish Kulkarni, who is the president of the club.
“We have been in the I-league and wish to go back but that can be decided only after there is a concrete roadmap from the AIFF. ISL seems unlikely, as I’m not a big fan of the concept. We are, and will always remain, the club of Pune, and as it develops further you can certainly expect DSK Shivajians to come back to the top flight,” he further adds.
He said that the uncertainty at the top level has hampered the club’s return to the big league.
The Nike Cup certainly came as a boost for the club even if they were subjugated by a 4-0 loss in the finals against Minerva Punjab FC.
“We were certainly looking to put up a stronger display but I think the boys fell apart under pressure. It’s a learning phase and I’m sure they will use this experience to improve their overall game,” he says. “We at the club always take every single tournament in the same spirit and every game is always crucial for us. We will be participating in more tournaments and will announce our campaign at the appropriate moment,” he added.