In just over a year in India, Arthur Papas has carved a fine reputation for himself as an up-and-coming football manager. Formerly head coach of the India U-23 team and (the now disbanded) Pailan Arrows, Papas took charge of Dempo SC ahead of this season.

The 33-year-old Australian is in the city for Dempo’s clash with table-topping Bengaluru FC here on Wednesday. Talking to The Hindu , Papas discusses the fixture calendar, Pailan Arrows, and shows he still cares for the future of Indian football.

Excerpts

On Bengaluru FC: I think Bengaluru FC has been great for the I-League. But getting six games in a row at home — there’s a huge advantage for them. Whether that’s fair or not, that’s another story.

We’ve been on the road for nine days now and we’ve already done a trip to Shillong. I know that my boys haven’t been given the easy ride that Bengaluru FC has been given.

But I hear really good things about their professionalism and what they’re doing off the field. We’ve got huge respect for what they’re doing.

On the disbanding of Pailan Arrows: The only thing that disappoints me is that so many of these young and talented players that we worked with for over 14 months now haven’t played a game for six months.

That’s detrimental to Indian football and damaging to a player’s development. Everyone took notice of what the Arrows did the last year but the problem with India at the moment is that it takes too long for youngsters to be exposed to first-team football.

The IMG-Reliance league: (Pailan Arrows players did not find clubs after the disbandment and now train for the IPL style league in Mumbai). I don’t really have an opinion on it.

The best Indian players should be allowed to play 10 months of the year no matter what. We should be trying to promote the national team and the local league, not damage it — Shreedutta Chidananda

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