ISL Kicks Off with Bigger and Better Season

Indian Super League 2022: Kerala Blasters vs Bengaluru FC

As the Indian Super League (ISL) enters its 10th season, all eyes are on the Southern derby between Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC in Kochi. The match is set to kick off a thrilling season of football in India. However, thousands of kilometers away, the Indian national team is in China, scrambling to prepare for their crucial Asian Games league match against Bangladesh on the same evening.

The Indian team has faced numerous challenges in the lead-up to the Asian Games. Many ISL clubs were reluctant to release their top players for the tournament as it falls outside the FIFA international window. This reluctance has caused confusion and frequent changes in the squad selection. Even the national coach Igor Stimac was unsure about the final composition of his team just five days before their departure to China.

In a last-minute rush, the team managed to add some late additions, including defender Sandesh Jhingan. Exhausted after a long journey without any training sessions, the team suffered a disappointing 5-1 defeat against the host in their Asiad opener in Hangzhou on Tuesday.

This situation has created a challenging start for the ISL.

Growth and Expansion of the Indian Super League

Since its inception in 2014 with only eight teams playing over two-and-a-half months, the ISL has come a long way. The league has continued to grow and evolve, with last season lasting four-and-a-half months. This season, the ISL welcomes Punjab FC as the first-ever team to gain promotion to the league as the I-League champion. With the addition of Punjab FC, the ISL now boasts 12 teams and is expected to have a longer duration.

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The growth of the ISL has coincided with significant improvements in India’s FIFA World ranking. The national team’s ranking has risen from a lowly 171 in 2014 to its current high of 99. This demonstrates the positive impact that the ISL has had on the development and recognition of Indian football on the international stage.

However, like any league, the ISL is not without its challenges. To ensure the continued success and growth of the sport, there needs to be better communication and coordination between the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the ISL organizer, Football Delhi (FSDL).

Major Transfers and Key Changes in the ISL

This season of the ISL has seen significant changes and player transfers. Defending champion Mohun Bagan Super Giant has secured the talented Sahal Abdul Samad from Kerala Blasters, while FC Goa has acquired top defender Sandesh Jhingan from Bengaluru FC. These high-profile transfers have added an element of excitement and competitiveness to the league.

Belgian Frank Dauwen, the assistant coach of Kerala Blasters, believes that teams like Mohun Bagan, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, and Odisha look particularly strong this season. With such formidable competition, fans can expect tight battles and thrilling matches throughout the ISL.

As the 10th season of the Indian Super League commences, football enthusiasts are filled with anticipation for the action-packed matches that lie ahead. From the Southern derby between Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC to the growth and expansion of the league, there is no shortage of excitement and intrigue in the world of Indian football.

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With the ISL continuing to evolve and make its mark on Indian football, fans can look forward to witnessing the sport thrive and reach new heights with each passing season.

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