The Telegraph
Friday , August 29 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Need to make most of ISL platform: Sachin

- Beginning of a football revolution: Ranbir

Calcutta: Kerala Blasters co-owner Sachin Tendulkar feels it will be extremely important for everyone to make the most of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) platform.

“It is extremely important for everyone to make the most of the ISL platform. From my own experience spanning 25 years, I can tell you that I have been able to learn by engaging myself in sporting activities… These things could not be learnt at the boardroom or classroom”, The Master said during the unveiling of the ISL emblem, in Mumbai, on Thursday.

The eight League partners, barring FC Goa co-owners, were present during the launch.

“Sport teaches you a lot in life. It taught me to compete but compete in the right spirit. Along the way, there would be obstacles… You may win or may lose. But it teaches you to get back on your feet again and compete. That is what I would ask all the teams here to do — to compete in the right spirit; We will compete hard though we continue to be friends off the field.”

Sachin said he has a vision for India. “Be it cricket or football, I will support sport in India... I have a vision for India and in my words I call it ‘Sport for All’.

“It is about encouraging the youth of India and starting at the grassroots level to involve themselves in sporting activities. It is not about making all of them professional sportsmen or sportswomen. It is all about making all of them healthy and fit.

“The happy moment for me would be when India as a nation would be recognised as the healthiest and fittest nation in the world. I personally feel that in such a big nation, talent is there but possibly, there is no right platform or not enough opportunities to express the talent. That’s why this ISL is very very important,” he added

The following is what the owners and co-owners had to say (alphabetically)…

John Abraham (co-owner Northeast United FC): I am realising my dream through the North-East United FC. I have an able partner in Larsing Ming. I think that the ISL is in an incubation period to give a catalytic growth to the game in our country. With Northeast United FC, we plan to bring the region to the rest of India.

Abhishek Bachchan (co-owner, Team Chennai): Passion is very important when you are setting up something new and especially when it is of the magnitude of the Hero Indian Super League. We are really keen to get in there, work hard and drive the tournament to the level that we believe it can attain. I think that is pretty much the game plan.

Ranbir Kapoor (co-owner, Team Mumbai): I am excited and thrilled. As a fan, I have always been yearning for international quality football in my own country and with this tournament, I think that we are going to get that right now.

We want to build a team for Mumbai — a team which every 20 million Mumbaikar can call their own. A team which showcases quality, engaging and entertaining football. I truly believe that this is the beginning of a football revolution.

Sameer Manchanda (owner, Delhi Dynamos FC): We have initiated the Junior Dynamos through which we have identified about a 100 schools and the competition is already on from August 3. Hopefully we will be able locate 30 school kids — there are three competitions happening — the U-12, U-14 and U-17. We are hoping that through this initiative, we can have 30 kids who can play in the Under-17 World Cup

Utsav Parekh (co-owner, Atletico de Kolkata): We have a long and ambitious programme for grassroots development. The key objective of this programme will be to give youngsters the support. We have already employed a football coach on a three-year period with his primary objective being to get involved at the grassroots level training.

We have Sourav Ganguly as one of the co-owners. He has pledged that after his last assignment, which is currently underway in England, he will be only for football. He has already given his pledge and we look forward to that. We will try to win on Sourav's iconic fan following.

Kapil Wadhawan (co-owner, FC Pune City): It is really unfortunate that in the players’ draft, we didn’t have a single player coming from Pune. So, we will focus at the grassroots development… Putting up academies and finally in the next three-four years we will be able to put up a few strong players representing the ISL from Pune.