The Englishman feels the competition has become an obligation for the teams involved in it.
ATK’s Hero Super Cup dreams came to an end on Wednesday night, when they fell to a 2-0 loss to former ISL Champions Chennaiyin FC at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar. However, it was what happened after the game which has made for the real talking point of the whole encounter.
In what could possibly be his final game for ATK, Steve Coppell was asked about the organization of the Super Cup and gave some pretty blunt answers at that. Talking to the media after the game, he was asked on whether the competition should be played during the season or as a pre-season tournament.
He said, “You have got to be careful about what you say about this competition! When most of the I-League teams pulled out, I feel like the tournament has lost credibility. The arrangements I felt were poor. The training facilities were unprofessional. I think that whoever is in charge needs a real rethink about whether this competition sits.”
He further spoke on how the Super Cup should be placed going forward, saying, “I’ve said it for many years that it should be a pre-season or during the season. Nobody knows what the league is going to be next year. Nobody knows when’s it’s starting. Nobody knows about the structure. Nobody knows anything.”
“I feel there needs to be more transparency in the planning going forward as to what’s the endgame. The ISL is helping the Indian national team. This competition is just so forced upon. It’s almost like we just got to do that so let’s do it”, he added.
This brutally honest opinion from the English gaffer really pin-points the mindset of many teams coming into playing the Super Cup. While we will see a new champion being crowned when FC Goa take on Chennaiyin FC this weekend, there is little to no point in going forward with this tournament, especially with so many teams pulling out of it.
There’s been little to no interest in Bhubaneshwar for the competition, with a handful of spectators coming to watch games at difficult timings. As Coppell explained, the living arrangements and training facilities have also been under-par, something which has definitely ticked off a few teams.
Even for the ISL teams, wasting all the resources to come to Bhubaneswar only to see multiple games being given as walkover was frustrating. As the Indian Footballing scene gets a major makeover after this competition ends, the All India Football Federation(AIFF) needs to handle the Super Cup much better. They have to be much more assertive in shifting the timeframe of the tournament in being played during the league season or as a pre-season to make sure it’s not felt like a wasted as teams are forcibly having to participate in it.