I League: Eat. Play. Footie. Repeat!

 

Last time I wrote about the I-league and how thrilling it is. And now it is time for some important reasons why you should follow the I-league.

 

The league hardly gets viewership and fans in India are not ready to follow or watch Indian clubs play. If we go through recent history, Indian football clubs have had their fair share of success. Those records are something to be proud of and our support can only motivate them to do well in future as well.

 

Here are five reasons why we must follow the I-League:

 

Reason 1: Following other country’s leagues make us fans, not fanatics-

Football fans in India call themselves fanatics of the beautiful game and passionately watch the other top leagues of the world. While there is no harm in watching those leagues, no one can disagree with the fact that oozing out passion for a London or a Madrid-based club from India is possible, but not obsessively possible.

The people who actually watch and support Indian clubs are the true fanatics of the game because they can relate to the local sentiments which are attached to the local sides. Football is all about emotions and sentiments – that is what makes a true and enthusiastic fan. Watching and vouching for foreign clubs does not make one a fanatic of the game.

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Reason 2: Quality of overseas has improved the league’s overall standard-

The only purpose of forming a league in India was to improve the standard of the game. While the standard has not really improved a lot, the level of foreign players have definitely improved. Money is slowly flowing in into the clubs and into the overall Indian football setup.

Clubs are procuring quality foreigners, which ultimately benefits the Indian players. Players with experience of playing in top tiers of European football have started coming to the I-League. The marquee player rule which the All India Football Federation (AIFF) started this season has forced the clubs to bring in high-quality foreigners with vast experience.

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Reason 3: Viewership matters for the league’s market value-

The viewers contribute greatly towards the betterment of a particular football league. Till date, the viewership count of the I-league has been extremely poor and so has the average stadium attendance. As a result, the broadcasting channel shows very little interest. They pay a nominal amount to the football federation and also telecast only a few games.

The fans must be the agent of change. Their support can only make the league a commercially workable tool so that it earns revenues. Those earnings can be used for the betterment of Indian football.

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Reason 4: The I-League is India’s primary league, not the ISL-

The Indian Super League was a revolution in Indian football when the All India Football Federation partnered with a top corporate body to start this new league in 2014. It brought the focus and limelight on Indian football it they invited other corporate and celebrities to invest money in the system.

The concept was fresh and it was marketed brilliantly. As a result, after its inception, it became a grand success. The attention of the masses was successfully brought towards football in India.

While it was a good initiative and AIFF must receive its share of appreciation, we must not forget that I-League is still our country’s principal and official football league. The ISL’s success will mean nothing if the I-League fades out.

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Reason 5: It has Indian emerging players-

After the glittering start to the first edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), the focus of football enthusiasts in India is back on the I-League. Indian players are displaying with such a good performances in this league. One of the most important reason to follow this league is Indian emerging players.

It includes players like 22-year-old former East Bengal goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who digged his name by becoming the first Indian footballer in 79 years to take the field for an European club playing in the first tier of the country’s football league structure. Other players like Thongkosieam Haokip, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Thoi Singh and Satiyasen Singh have also scored well so far .

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Well I don’t have to tell a fanatic that the I league it still going on. So what are you waiting for? Start following it today!

 

By Nikhil Gautam

 

 

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