Dempo seeks to make the return of I-League with boys from the Academy

Panaji: Dempo Sports Club is eager to return in the I-League but not with the big budgets they had in the past.

Dempo won a record five national league titles before opting out of the top-tier. They were protesting the roadmap from All India Football Federation (AIFF) that proposed to make Indian Super League (ISL) the top league and reduced I-League to second tier. Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa also withdrew in 2016.

Now, Dempo could take another shot at the top-tier - through I-League - with help from their academy graduates.

“Our eventual pathway is we want to become a factory of players. We want every single ISL and I-League club to come and tell us that they want our players. The same set of team, they have to be capable enough to go through the competitive league system and at least through the I-League, we can see whether we can come and play, ”club chairman Shrinivas Dempo He told TOI on Saturday, while congratulating his youth squads, all of whom arrived in Goa and reached the national leagues.

When at its peak, Dempo had the highest budget with a reported Rs 15 crore being spent in 2012, the year they won their last I-League title.

“Today, low budget teams have done well. You no longer have to spend 15 million rupees that Dempo spent 10 years ago. Things are changing. There is hope for us, said Dempo.

Since his exclusion, Dempo has chosen to invest in Ella's academy in Old Goa, a decision that is now beginning to bear fruit. Since October 2019, Dempo has won 44 of the 46 games, kept 33 clean sheets and averaged four goals per game.

“Our journey has just begun. I would have been disappointed if success was not there. What is the point of having a team for three years, detailed planning if you cannot get results (statewide)? The challenge now is to do well in the AIFF leagues, ”said Dempo.