The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has rolled in its sixth edition and it promises to bring more zing than ever before.  Two new teams have joined the cult of the country’s footballing extravaganza, setting the bar higher than what it was five years back.

The league, since its birth in 2014, has been credited for not only bringing in stellar names from the industry, but has also been reverenced for being a breeding ground for the raw talents of the country. All that coupled with the global associations over the years has further elevated Indian football on a bigger juncture.

And now with the new season is in its glory, here’s is why you can expect this year’s ISL to be the biggest ever in the tournament’s history:

India’s premier competition:

The Indian football has seen its fair share of highs and lows over the years, but a recent development in the context has finally made ISL India’s top league.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and ISL worked along the pathway, reaching the conclusion that the tournament will be recognised as the top league in India starting from the 2019-2020 season. And this development brings along a place in the AFC Champions League play-offs for the tournament winner.

Overall, there’s a lot more to win for the clubs; like representing the team on a continental stage.

Induction in EA Sports FIFA 20

A deal between ISL and globally renowned video game giant, EA Sports has led to the inclusion of the former in the latest edition of FIFA 20 mobile version. The news not only creates a frenzy amongst the Indian fans, but also ensures all the ten clubs (including the two new entrants) get the global recognition.

Global associations

Now that the Scottish club, Rangers have announced a two-year partnership with the defending champions, Bengaluru FC, the eyes are set on the prospective investment of Premier League champions, Manchester City in Mumbai City FC.

The advancement of the City Football Group (CFG) over the past decade has stretched to as many as eight clubs over four different continents, and their eagerness of acquiring the Asian market has come at the right time.

Like Rangers, who will help Bengaluru in establishing a scouting link between the clubs, CFG will be expected to start off with a youth development program followed by their ever-known infrastructure and training facilities to be induced at the Mumbai based franchise.

For Rangers, their collaborations will see their soccer schools holding camps in Bengaluru and host tour groups in Glasgow.

It can also be anticipated that City’s introduction will turn the heads of other growing football clubs of Europe.

Smart signings

Bringing in stellar names sure looked like a masterstroke in the early editions, but the teams, this time around, decided to work upon the necessary areas. While Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Marcelo Pereira and Ferran Corominas remain the attacking juggernauts of the league, the likes of Asamoah Gyan (NorthEast United FC), Aridane Santana (Odisha FC), Roy Krishna (ATK), Bobo (Hyderabad FC), former CAF Champions League winner Amine Chermiti (Mumbai City FC), David Williams (ATK) and Sergio Castel (Jamshedpur FC) have added further flare, making it a delight for the faithful.

The pattern, this season, has rather remained focused on building the squads for the future rather than working along the lines of the old.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran