Excitement Building for IMG-Reliance’s Indian Super League

Reliance Foundation backed Indian Super League is finally shaping up. The eight cities where the teams in this hot new league will be based were announced recently. The league’s financial muscle is provided by IMG-Reliance and Star TV with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) as a partner. The league is set to kick off in September 2014 and the preparation for the teams in underway.

To nobody’s surprise, Goa featured on the list of eight places where an ISL team will be based out of. A hotbed of football in India, Goa has had a long and fruitful relationship with the beautiful game. A big part in this was played by the State’s Portuguese Roots. The Goa franchisee of the Indian Super League is owned by a consortium of Dattaraj Salgaocar, Srinivas V Dempo and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon.

A Vision for the Future:

Many football fans in India have been longing for a league like this for a long time now. While many foreign coaches have taken an active role in developing the young talent in the country, the ISL is considered by many to be a game-changer in what it’s going to offer to the youth. The first and possibly the most invigorating point being the presence of foreign players; and they’re not your average Sunday League type players. We’re talking about world class players who’ve captivated global audiences for a long time now; players like Thierry Henry, Michael Owen, Hernan Crespo and many others!

The Goa franchise would of course want to build a string team that’s capable of winning the ISL. But’s that’s not the whole story. The bigger picture is that the franchise wants to develop the youth players, inspire them and elevate them to a much higher level than where they’re now. Srinivas V Dempo is experienced in Indian Football having overseen the rise of Dempo FC and taking on giants like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on the pitch. It’s heartening to see owners playing such a proactive role in the development of the youngsters.

Fan Participation:

The Goa franchise has carefully studied football clubs across Europe and South America where fan support is often feverish and clubs are an integral part of the local culture. As a result, fan engagement has been given priority. Rather than running contests and offering prizes, the Goa franchise has ventured into hitherto unknown territory by asking its fans to suggest a team name and a nickname. This bold move is sure to attract a lot of engagement from football fans across the country and these fans are sure to be treated to high-quality football once the league commences.

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