ISL 2023-24: A Decade in Indian Football and Counting
The Indian Super league is almost upon us. Now in its landmark 10th edition, the ISL is no more a franchise-based tournament; it is now the 'premier' football league of India. No more an entertainment machine which ran for a couple of months or so, it is now a ‘proper’ football league with a six month season. Gone are the days of celebrity owners, Bollywood extravaganza and semi-retired marquees. Now, after recognition from the AFC, a new roadmap, expansion of the teams and promotion from I-League to ISL (relegation is still a couple of seasons away), the ISL can be said to have well and truly evolved over the years.
The new season will begin on September 21 with the ‘Southern Derby’, when arch-rivals Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC face off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. India top-flight league has expanded to 12 teams, with Punjab FC becoming the first I-League club to be promoted to the ISL. A total of 12 teams will be vying for top honours—Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, East Bengal FC, FC Goa, Hyderabad FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC, Mohun Bagan Super Giants, Mumbai City FC, Northeast United FC, Odisha FC and Punjab FC. The matches will kick off at 8 PM, with the double headers on Saturdays starting at 5.30 PM. The ISL has a new broadcaster for this season, Viacom18 Media Private Limited having replaced Star Sports as the new broadcaster of the ISL, with free streaming on JioCinema. Mohun Bagan Super Giants are the defending champions, while Mumbai City are the League Shield winners.
The ISL promises to provide plenty of entertainment this year; a host of exciting clashes with a number of sub-plots are on offer. This season marks the return of three veteran and successful coaches in Indian football--Sergio Lobera, the only coach to have won both the ISL Cup and ISL shield, returns to helm Odisha FC while former Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat is set to try his fortune with East Bengal and Owen Coyle, after a stint in Scotland, returns to one of his former sides, Chennaiyin FC. Manolo Marquez, one of the chief architects of Hyderabad FC’s success, has joined FC Goa while new faces like Thangboi Singhto, Scott Cooper and Staikos Vergetis would add a new dimension to the league. On the players’ front, there is the usual mix of exciting Indian talent in Lallianzuala Chhangte, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Anwar Ali, Sivasakthi Narayanan and Parthib Gogoi and quality foreign players like Greg Stewart, Adrian Luna, Jonathan Moya, Slavko Damjanovic and Jason Cummings.
So guys, get ready to immerse yourself in football fever once again. It's time to say, 'Let's Football'!
This thread is to discuss all activities--pre-season matches, team news, matches during ISL, post-match analysis--except those related to transfer.