ISL 2017: Robbie Keane to return, NorthEast United to unveil sponsor and pollution is in the air

Indian Super League News

It has been a tough start to the Hero ISL for ATK and their head coach Teddy Sheringham. However, there is some good news for the former Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United striker as he has been able to declare Robbie Keane fit to return to the squad.

Keane suffered an injury to his Achilles in ATK’s preseason camp in Dubai and has been unable to feature yet this season. Ireland’s record goalscorer will be in the squad for the match against Chennaiyin on Thursday and his mere presence should be a boost for the ISL’s bottom club.

You may have noticed that NorthEast United have been the only ISL club without a sponsor on the front of their shirt. This was a surprise to many given that NorthEast United have one of the larger fan bases in the league, and where there is a large fan base there is an opportunity to promote your product, brand or service.

Although the name of the potential sponsor is still unknown, an official of the club has claimed that NEUFC are very close to announcing a deal and we could even see them unveiled in the upcoming match against Bengaluru FC. The official also made it clear in a conversation with SportsKeeda that the lack of lead sponsor had not affected the club financially.

“Yes, the front-sponsor brings in a fair amount, but we have been able to garner sponsors on the other areas in the jersey. They have made up for a front sponsor,” said the official.

The Sri Lankan cricketers have been having a tough time in Delhi during their recent Test match, many of the players being visibly sick during the game as a result of the heavy pollution in the Delhi air. This has naturally caused concern for the health of the footballers due to play in the Dehli Dynamos vs Jamshedpur FC match later today with players training in masks to avoid breathing in the polluted air.

Delhi Dynamos head coach Miguel Angel Portugal confirmed that his players trained in masks but said they will not use them during the match, a match that is vital to Delhi as they look to turn their slump in form around.

“This pollution is a problem but it’s not solely for the players and me. It’s for the people of Delhi. We have been training with masks, so it is fine. The players will not be wearing the masks on match day”. Portugal said at the pre-match press conference.

“It is a home and away league and it (tomorrow) is our home match. So there is no question of not playing, we have to play here. I will have no objection if a player chooses to wear one”.

Jamshedpur Head Coach Steve Coppell was clear in his thinking around the situation, saying that he felt football should not be played in Delhi at this time of year.

“Around Diwali last year I came to Delhi with the Kerala Blasters team. When we played last year, at that time the measure (level) of particulate matters was over 500. I think it’s 300 today. For the last three years I have been in Delhi at this time and there has been the exact same commentary about doing something but nothing has happened. Last year I said that matches should not be scheduled in Delhi around this particular time of the year. Common sense should have prevailed.”

Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been handed a two-match suspension and fine of INR 3 Lakhs following his red-card against FC Goa last week. Singh Sandhu will miss Bengaluru FC’s two upcoming away games, against NorthEast United FC (Friday, 8 December at Guwahati) and FC Pune City (Thursday, 14 December at Pune).

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Chris Darwen
Editor-in-Chief for Ronnie Dog Media