ISL: Great to see more Karnataka players in the ISL, says Karnataka born, current Mumbai City FC defender Vignesh Dakshinamurthy
The signing of Nikhil Raj makes him the fourth Karnataka origin player currently playing in the Indian Super League, ahead of the upcoming season.
The young left-back Vignesh Dakshinamurthy had a great season in the Indian Super League last year, not only did his team won a historic double in Indian football but also he established himself as a starter for the team. Vignesh went on to make 22 appearances for the team and was an integral part of Sergio Lobera's team.
Vignesh, the 23-year-old left-back was born in Srirampura, Karnataka. He started his career with Ozone academy in Bengaluru before being promoted to their first team. He also represented Ozone FC in BDFA Super Division and then in the I-League 2nd Division. The team at The Bridge spoke to him about his special season with Mumbai City, his life, and about the growth of football in Karnataka.
"Football in Karnataka is really growing very fast. In the last season, there were only two players from Karnataka who were playing in the ISL, me and Hendry (Antonay) at Odisha FC. This year there is one more addition, as Nikhil signed for Odisha FC. Even one player going from the state is a sign of improvement. The leagues are in Bangalore are really growing. The way they conduct the league has improved. When I used to play in the BDFA League, there were no awards for 'Best Player' or 'Top Scorer'. Last season they were giving a player of the week award, and much more every week. It will be a good boost for the local players." said Vignesh on the growth of football in Karnataka.
"The local players have the quality but they lack the right guidance that will help them step up. This is the problem in Bangalore football (circuit)" added Vignesh on what needs to be done to help the players grow. Nikhil Raj, former player of Kickstart FC, who was awarded the Best Midfielder of BDFA Super Division last year, has been signed up by Odisha FC ahead of the upcoming ISL season.
Vignesh was asked jokingly if he ever wanted to come back to one of the teams in his home state in the future and the latter part of the career. There are so many clubs in Bangalore, and Bengaluru FC being an iconic club from the city. He said, "No one has seen the future. No one knows what happens in the future".