AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das: Hero ISL helped improve infrastructure immensely
All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das reflected on the launch of the AIFF Strategic Plan and the impact of the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League in 'developing the infrastructure' in India. Mr. Das was speaking at inauguration of the FICCI Goal 2015 at the FICCI Federation House in the Capital on Thursday, February 12.
"The year 2014 was a significant one for Indian football as there were three key events which were game changers in the real sense," Mr. Das maintained.
"Firstly, the Hero Indian Super League exceeded our expectations. It was very successful in bringing in the adrenalin rush. There were families who thronged the Stadia's and that was all we wanted," he added.
"Not to forget that the Hero Indian Super League has contributed immensely to the development of infrastructure in the Country. It has created and developed infrastructure for football."
It was in October 2014 that the inaugural edition of the Hero Indian Super League kicked off amidst much fanfare at the Saltlake Stadium in Kolkata.
"When you talk about quality, you can't judge it unless it's there in front of you. And in that perspective, the ISL has brought in a quality. There are emerging young Players like Romeo Fernandes, Sandesh Jhingan and a whole lot others making a mark and Indian football is only benefitting."
"However, there's always a comparison among the ISL and the Hero I-League which isn't fair. The ISL was created for a purpose and it has had a rub-on effect on the Hero Federation Cup and the Hero I-League. The appetite for football has been created and it's here to grow from here," he further stated.
"The I-League should be compared from what it was some three years back. At that time, we didn't have a sponsor while today Hero is on board for support for three editions. Today, courtesy the Hero ISL, we can today afford to have all matches under the floodlights. The rub-on effect has been splendid."
Speaking more on AIFF's vision for Indian football, Mr. Das mentioned about the launch of the 'AIFF Strategic Plan'.
"I can stretch out my neck and say that All India Football Federation is the sole Sporting Federation in the Country to have a four-year Strategic Plan. It was launched by Mr. Jerome Valcke, Secretary General, FIFA in 2014 in New Delhi. We sat down with all stakeholders, did a situational and a swot analysis and that's how the roadmap was created. Now we know exactly what to do."
“I also need to mention about the opening up of the LOC Office for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. We look to the U-17 World Cup to activate the youth; and to do that, we have the perfect combination of Mr. Joy Bhattacharya and Mr. Javier Ceppi to drive it forward."
"We have also appointed Mr. Nicolai Adam as the Head Coach of the Indian U-17 Team for the U-17 World Cup and the AIFF would be arranging for a whole lot of exposure tours for the boys."
Game-changing for sure!
(Report courtesy AIFF Media)