Jobby Justin says I-League is India’s best league, but made sense to move to ISL

Jobby Justin scored 9 goals for East Bengal in the 2018-19 I-League season, the joint highest goal tally for an Indian across the I-League and ISL (File Photo/I-League)

Jobby Justin, who was at the centre of a transfer row between East Bengal and ATK till last month, says he’s thankful for the platform that the I-League provided, but it was always going to be an easy answer when the ISL came calling.

“From my experience of following football last season, I’ll have to say I-League is the best league in the country. We had a crazy season last year, with all of Chennai FC, East Bengal and Real Kashmir fighting for the title till the end. However, as a professional player, I thought the logical decision would be to move to the ISL,” Justin told indianexpress.com.

Justin, presently a striker for ATK and India, is one of the most significant examples of the shift from the country’s older league to the new. He came to prominence in the I-League, and drove stadiums of team fanatics hoarse with cheers. With 9 goals in the 2018-19 I-League, Justin was the joint highest-scoring Indian in the country’s two premier football leagues last season, along with Sunil Chhetri.

Jobby’s decision to move to the ISL had hit a roadblock not too long ago. After the news broke in April that he had signed with ATK, East Bengal claimed that he had signed a contract with them too, which the footballer vehemently denied. In the end, the AIFF intervened, and ruled in ATK’s favour, saying that East Bengal did not have “sufficient evidence”.