In modern day India, most people think beyond the clichéd doctor-engineer professions while selecting a career path for themselves. The professional choices made get more unique day by day. In this list of options, professional sports features somewhere on top. Watching their idols compete, and achieve many laurels, young children all over the country start considering a career in sports.
Till a few years back, barring a few more fortunate ones, this remained a dream for most (no matter how good they were). Gradually, the scenario has changed. With all these leagues like Indian Premier League (Cricket), the Indian Badminton League and now the Indian Super League (Football) coming up, the idea of making a career out of sports in India is turning into a reality.
If the sports industry keeps coming up this way, the day is not far, when the aspiration of professional sports becomes a common career path, and not out of the ordinary.
With just a few hours to go, here’s a little bit about the Indian Super League.
What is the Indian Super League?
The Indian Super League, also known as the Hero Indian Super League, with Hero Motocorp Ltd as its official sponsor, is India’s unrivalled professional football league, starting this year. The league will comprise of eight franchise teams from all over the country and will extend over a period of ten weeks.
It was founded in 2013 in an attempt to make football a top sport in India. The mission and vision includes providing entertaining football to millions of fans and improving football at the grass-root levels and promoting it among the masses, so that in a few years time, India can be a global football power.
The league will be telecasted on Star Sports.
Team owners include renowned personalities from sports as well as the film industry.
At present there are eight teams, namely:
- Athletico de Kolkata, owned by former Indian Cricket captain Saurav Ganguly, football club Atheltico Madrid, Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanniv Goenka and Utsav Parekh
- Chennaiyin FC (Bangalore), owned by the Sun Group
- Delhi Dynamos FC, owned by the DEN Network
- FC Goa, owned by the billion dollar Vidoecon Group, Dempo and Dattaraj Salgaocar
- FC Pune City, owned by Salman Khan and the Wadhawan Group
- Kerela Blasters FC (Kochi), owned by cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and PVP ventures
- Mumbai City FC, owned by Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor and invsestment banker Bimal Parekh
- NorthEast United FC (Guwahati), owned by actor-producer John Abraham and I-league team Shillong Lajong
Initially, there was a Bangalore team instead of the Chennai one. However, when in August the Bangalore team pulled out, the owners bid for a Chennai team, which quickly filled up the vacated 8th spot.
The players comprise of domestic as well as international players.
The top Indian ones include:
- Nirmal Chettri playing for Kerala
- Subrata Pal for Mumbai
- Syed Rahim for Mumbai
- Sanju Pradhan for Kolkata
- Lenny Rodrigues for Pune
- Francis Fernandes for Delhi
The big international ones include:
- Italian Alessandro Del Piero playing for Delhi
- French Nikolas Anelka for Mumbai
- Italian Marco Materazzi for Chennai
- Swedish Fredrik Ljungberg for Mumbai
- French David Trezeguet for Pune
- Spanish Luis Garcia for Kolkata
The league kicks off on the 12th of October at 7pm, with Mumbai vs Kolkata. Matches will be played from October through December, with the final on the 20th of December.
There will be a total of 61 matches, with each team playing every other team twice, once at home and once away. The top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals. There will be four semi-finals, each team playing twice, and then the top two teams will qualify for the final.
Every now and then, India comes up with something big that shakes the world. Very recently, it was Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States, a month back, it was the Mangalyaan, and a few years back, in the sports industry itself, it was the Indian Premier League.
Let’s hope that the Indian Super League, is bigger and better, and shakes the world very very soon. In other words, “Come on India, Let’s Football!”
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.