The sensation that is the Hero Indian Super League is set to kick off in a week. And with Indian football being as low as it is now (India are currently ranked 158th in FIFA’s official rankings), there is only one direction it can go in, and that direction is certainly not further into the ground. Here are nine reasons why the ISL is the biggest thing to happen to Indian football:Disclaimer: Rome was not built in a day, so do not expect India to win the next FIFA World Cup. The below reasons have been listed farsightedly and not myopically.
#1 Development at the grassroots
Indian football is deficient on almost every front. Unsatisfactory infrastructure, inadequate financing, widespread insouciance, limited scope and a bevy of other deficiencies plague Indian football. But, above all, the sport's most patent deficiency lies in the grassroots. India has a virtually non-existent system of grassroots football. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that the causa causans for Indian football being where it is- down in the dumps, is this lack of development of the sport at the grassroots level. And that is exactly what the Indian Super League aims to address.
The Indian Super League, for all its glamour, flamboyance and pizzazz, has been conceived with 'grassroots development' being its watchword. With AIFF Technical Director of Academies Scott O'Donell stating that the league's main objectives were 'to train at least a million kids' and 'to take the sport to every nook and corner of the country', camps have already been undertaken in re these objectives. Furthermore, all eight franchises have invested Rupees 2 crore each in nurturing the youth, setting up academies and scouring for talent.
While the fruit of these measures may not come to the fore immediately, they will, ineluctably, make for a future generation of Indians better acquainted and more inclined towards football.
While Rome may not have been built in a day, it was built, nonetheless. And so will Indian football.