2016 Indian Super League all set to kick off today
The third edition of Indian Super League will be inaugurated today in Guwahati. Inaugural match will be played between Kerala Blasters FC and North East United FC. In the previous four games played by the two teams, Kerala had won two, NEUFC won one and one was draw. The tournament will go on till December 2016, with Finals to be played on 18 December.
Indian Super League
Indian Super League is a professional football league of India. It was launched on 21 October 2013 by IMG-Reliance, All India Football Federation and Star Sports and the inaugural edition was played in October 2014. A total of eight teams compete in the championship with every team playing 14 games. The league is founded to increase the popularity of football in India.
The eight teams of ISL are Atlético de Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC, NorthEast United FC and FC Pune City. Kolkata and Chennai have won the tournament in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Atletico de Kolkata
Atletico de Kolkata were champions of the inaugural season and had reached play-offs in 2015. The team is owned by former cricket Sourav Ganguly and Spanish La Liga club Atletico Madrid along with other businessmen. Former Spanish goalkeeper Jose Francisco Molina is the current manager of the team while Portugal's Helder Postiga is the marquee player of the team.
Famously known as the Gaurs, FC Goa is co-owned by cricketer Virat Kohli, Videocon boss Venugopal Dhoot and Jaydev Mod. The team has former Brazilian footballer Zico as the team manager. They were runners-up in 2015; they had reached the semi-finals in the 2014 edition.
The reigning champions of ISL, Chennaiyin Football Club is based in Chennai. It is co-owned by cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, actor Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani. Marco Materazzi of Italy's world cup winning team is the manager and former Liverpool player John Arne Riise is the marquee player of the team. India's Jeje Lalpekhlua is one of the main players for the team.
Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar jointly owns Kerala Blasters Football Club. The team lost to Atletico de Kolkata in the finals of 2014 edition while finished last in 2015. Former England footballer Stephen James Coppell is the manager of the team.
Mumbai City FC and Pune City FC
Maharashtra has representation of two teams, Mumbai City and Pune City in the Indian Super League. Both the teams are co-owned by Bollywood actors. Mumbai is co-owned by Ranbir Kapoor, while Hrithik Roshan owns Pune. Mumbai team finished 7th in the 2014 and 6th in 2015 edition. Pune also did not have a great run finishing 6th and 7th in the first two seasons.
Delhi Dynamos and North East United
Delhi Dynamos is owned by DEN Networks. They finished fifth in 2014 and fourth in 2015. Owned by actor John Abraham, North East United FC finished eighth in 2014 and fifth in 2015.