The 4th season of ISL gets underway today with a repeat of last season’s final between ATK and Kerala Blasters.
The opening ceremony gets underway at 7.15pm Indian time at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi. The ceremony looks like it will be spectacular, with Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif set to perform in front of the 41,000 strong crowd.
New Kerala Blasters goalkeeper Paul Rachubka is looking forward to the challenge of playing in India and is delighted to be reunited with former Manchester United teammate Wes Brown.
“It’s going to be a different type of football. The humidity is going to play a part. Playing high intensity for 90 minutes is not going to be possible, for the foreign players.”
“It was fantastic (Manchester United). For me growing up, that was all I need. That was my education of football. From 10 years old till I was 21, that was my life. At the same time, United got bigger and bigger. Same for Wes [Brown], he is like an extended family. I hadn’t seen Wes for a long time. But you just go straight back into the way it was. Once you’ve grown up together, it’s a different experience that is hard to explain.”
Chennaiyin boss John Gregory has already hit out against claims that his side will be “long-ball” despite that being the style of many of the teams managed by the 63-year-old Englishman.
Gregory said in an interview with goal.com;
“We are not a long ball team. We’ve spent more time on the defending side of our game in pre-season. Last season we conceded almost two goals a game. We didn’t defend too well in the latter stages of matches and lacked mental toughness”.
Chennaiyin can be expected to be one of the tougher teams to break down this season, but the spotlight will be on the style of play.
Mumbai City FC Head Coach Alexandre Guimaraes believes the club has two of the best goalkeepers in the ISL to call upon.
‘’What we did differently this year from last season is that in the goalkeeping department, we have maintained domestic players. We have two of the best ‘keepers in Amrinder (Singh) and Arindam (Bhattacharya) and in local boy Kunal (Sawant), we have a player who is getting experience and learning at the same time”.
The rivalry between ATK and Kerala Blasters has turned to a fan battle on Twitter over who has the bigger cricketing star in their boardroom. ATK can call upon “the prince of Kolkata” and their Dada in Sourav Ganguly, whereas Kerala Blasters can send in Sachin Tendulkar to bat for them.
— Gaurav⚽🏆 (@mgaurav1109) November 17, 2017
The talking is nearly over though. Later today it will be finally time to #LetsFootball