Soccer has enthralled and stirred a huge fan base for club football in India. The North-West Derby, the Arsenal- Chelsea Rivalry, the Manchester Derby, and the El Clasico brought much adulation for the game in the subcontinent.
The ISL strived much to draw the football fans in India together, deriving much inspiration from the IPL which became a runaway success with its very first season. May not be at the very same level, but the ISL did find its strides. India may not have filled a great gap in the international level with its players or talents but it sure does have a great fan following with the likes of great English club such as Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Liverpool and so on. Even the newly crowned English Champions Leicester city nurtures a good chunk of fans in India.
Is ISL helping soccer grow in India?
ISL, the Indian Super League, with the glams of Bollywood and the phalanx of country’s great cricketing icons made a promising and solid first season. ISL came at a time where Football in India was in a phase of revamping. Football to grow in a country that has hockey as its national sport and one which is the home for the largest number of cricketing fans is quite laborious.
At this point of time, with almost a quarter of a year still left for the third season, it is high time, we begin analyzing of how ISL has broken the opinion about the game, helping it grow to an altogether new level. The success of the first two editions of ISL gives a clear indication of how good a platform India has become for soccer to grow. Holding the status as the second most peopled country in the world, India has great potentials.
ISL conceptualized and redefined club football in India, helped it diversifying, especially from those days club football was just played only in certain parts of the subcontinent. It brought domestic soccer back to the limelight. The level of spirit permeates more and more each day, going beyond the boundaries of language, culture, and ethnicity and this brings the country more united in the company of football. It brought a sense of enjoyment and exhilaration in fans as they witnessed legendary players like Alessandro Del Piero, Roberto Carlos and David Benjamin James in action.
Helps discover young Indian talents and prodigies in the field of football
They also get the opportunity to play with the biggest names in football. This gives much inspiration and aids them to find their strides, bring them fame and build international contacts, which is essential for a football player. As such, it shapes and molds them to become a complete football player and provides them a greater platform to perform.
ISL has projected the possibilities of club footballing in India indicating how good a market it is for investors to come and invest. What India currently lacks is the adequate infrastructure but having got selected as the venue for next year’s U-17 World Cup, it is attracting investments from various corporates all around the globe.
Atlético de Kolkata, the first season winners are trying to find new talents in West Bengal. They started organizing Grassroots Programmes and these Grassroots Programmes may be the tip of the iceberg but it sure does provoke inspiration for others to try.
For a country having 1.25 billion people, ISL may not be the greatest sporting or football event. Or ISL may not be the best ever football tournament that could stir up fans in India or elevate the football standards in India. But it sure helps realize that India can become a hotspot for football in future years.