India is attractive to football, make no mistake about it. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid etc have made a strong impact on the footsie fans here in India.
India is attractive to football, make no mistake about it.
The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid etc have made a strong impact on the footsie fans here in India.
But that said, hardly anybody recognises the Indian League which boasts some historic clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and many more.
The Indian football team is ranked lowly at 154 in the world in the FIFA rankings and there’s more work to do in reviving the sport which has been overrun by the superiority of cricket. So what is the solution of bring the fever of football back amongst the fans? Well, get a cricketing icon, few Bollywood actors and some business honchos and voila, here’s the Indian Super League (ISL).
Among much fanfare and glitz, the ISL was launched on Thursday by some star owners, Sachin Tendulkar, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and brand ambassador of the Goa side, Varun Dhawan. The co-owners took an oath to popularise the game and invest in the grassroots development of the sport in India.
Promoted by IMG-Reliance and Star India, the ISL will see eight teams fight it out for the top prize. The inaugural season of the Hero ISL will be played from Oct 12 to Dec 20 in eight Indian cities. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, co-owner of Athletico de Kolkata, and Bollywood star Salman Khan, who is a co-promoter of the Pune franchise are also involved in the promotion of ISL.
It’s good to see some of the big stars especially an iconic cricketer coming in support of popularising football in India. Sachin Tendulkar who is co-owes Kerela side, said that ISL was the way forward for bringing up the talent. In a quote to the press the Master Blaster said, “There is a lot of sporting talent in the country, but no platform to showcase the talent. Perhaps ISL is the answer. My vision for India is sport for all. It is not about being professional but staying healthy and fit,” he added.
And so it is. The Indian fans never ever dreamt of seeing the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, David James, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljunberg and others on Indian shores. Just imagine Del Piero sharing the same pitch as our Indian young rookies and what a learning curve it may be for the latter. The Indian Super League might not ranked in the same breath as the IPL but with the craze of football already in the minds of the fans here, the former will definitely find its place in the hearts and souls of our fans.