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ISL: “It is going to be a massive season for football in Bengal,” says ATK Mohun Bagan co-owner Sourav Ganguly

ISL: “It is going to be a massive season for football in Bengal,” says ATK Mohun Bagan co-owner Sourav Ganguly

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 18 Nov 2020 11:33 AM GMT

ATK Mohun Bagan co-owner and cricketing legend Sourav Ganguly feels the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is going to be hugely important in the context of football in West Bengal, as well as the entire country.

Speaking to Jatin Sapru for ISL broadcasters Star Network, Ganguly said that it was about time the country’s biggest football rivalry found its way to the biggest footballing platform in the country. “East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are both giants of the game and you can see the competitiveness this season not just amongst the players but also amongst the fans who are waiting in anticipation,” he said.

Acknowledging the role football has historically played for people in Bengal, ‘Dada’ further added, “I remember watching the 4 pm games between the two sides in the Calcutta Football League when I was in school. It is a matter of huge attachment and pride for the people in Bengal who absolutely love the sport and their respective teams.” The former Indian cricket team captain also rued the fact that this season is going to be held in Goa behind closed doors but expressed optimism that once everything goes back to normal, the ISL’s footprint in the state is going to become even bigger.

With this season’s ISL set to feature 11 teams following SC East Bengal’s entry to the mix, the tournament is going to see 115 matches in all which is the highest in the league’s 6-year history. Ganguly feels that this development is the single-most important indicator that the league is headed in the right direction. “Star and ISL had a dream when they started the league and the first six editions have been building towards that. The league has become longer now, much longer than what it was initially and that is how I feel it should be.”

The stylish left-hander also had a few words of encouragement for ATK Mohun Bagan in their dual pursuit this season, of the ISL and the AFC Cup. “A good and competitive start to the season will go a long way in establishing the team’s fortunes by the end of the season. I hope we can win the league again for a fourth time but I also hope that we see some great football on display from all the teams,” he signed off.

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