Indian Super League 2021-22: Let's Football
The eighth season of India’s ‘premier’ Indian football league—the Indian Super League (ISL) is almost upon us. The league kicks off on 19 November with last season’s finalists, ATK Mohun Bagan taking on Kerala Blasters FC in the opening game. Just like the previous edition, eleven teams--SC East Bengal, ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC, Hyderabad FC, Odisha FC, NorthEast United FC, Jamshedpur FC—will be vying with one another for the coveted trophy this time around. With the spectre of the pandemic still haunting Indian football, the matches will take place in a bio-secure bubble without the presence of spectators in three iconic stadiums in Goa--the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama and the GMC stadium in Bambolin. Mumbai City FC are the defending champions, having defeated ATK Mohun Bagan in last year’s finals.
There will be some important changes in this season, the most significant being the reduction of foreign players in a team. Under the new rules, a club can now sign a maximum of six (down from seven) foreign players, with only four (down from five) of them being allowed to feature in the playing XI. The decrease in foreign players from five to four in the playing XI mandates the clubs to have a minimum of seven Indian players on the field at any point of time. Such a move has been welcomed in all quarters, as it allows an extra position for an Indian player in the field. This bodes well for the NT and Indian football in the long run. The clubs have also been asked to increase the number of developmental players form a minimum of two to four, though the number of players to be included in the match day squad remains fixed at two. Further, the league this season is set to introduce a late 9:30 p.m. kickoff for its Saturday double-header games.
The countdown for the ISL has been a stellar transfer season, where teams have been able to bolster their squads with quality foreigners, including a mix of ISL veterans like Hugo Boumous, Roy Krishna and Bartholomew Ogbeche and exciting talents like Jonathas de Jesus, Liridon Krasniqi, Iman Basafa and Mirlan Murzaev. On the domestic front, ISL debutants like Bidyashagar Singh (highest scorer in last season’s I-League), Muhammed Nemil and Sanjeev Stalin would get the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Anirudh Thapa and Amrinder Singh. All in all, ISL 2021-22 is shaping up to be a really high-octane tournament.
So guys, what are you waiting for? Get ready to grab your packet of popcorn, switch on your television sets and 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.