KOLKATA, Oct 12 (PTI): It was an evening to remember for the people residing in ‘Mecca of Indian Football’ as a riot of colours lit the Salt Lake skyline with much awaited Indian Super League (ISL) doing everything possible to strike the right chord with the football aficionado.
Touching the hearts of the football-loving crowd, chairperson of IMG-Reliance and founding Chairperson of Football Sports Development (ISL) Nita Ambani formally declared open the ISL.
“Ami Indian Super League er Subho Suchona Korchi (I declare the auspicious opening of ISL) – I formally declare the Indian Super League open,” she said surrounded a rare amalgamation of Bollywood and cricket and world football celebrities who represented the eight franchises.
The fireworks lit up the sky in a full capacity Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan to conclude a 45-minute opening ceremony as the 70,000 capacity crowd were treated to some eye-catching visual extravaganza.
Amid the confluence of Bollywood superstars, renowned sportpersons, corporate magnates and politicians, it was master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who drew the maximum applause.
With chants of ‘Sachiiiiin, Sachiiiiin’ reverberating the colossal stadium which had the earlier capacity of 120,000 now reduced to 72,000, crowd gave a standing ovation to the retired legend.
For a moment, it felt Tendulkar was once again going into the middle to take guard before the reality took over as clad in yellow t-shirt Tendulkar and his Kerala Blasters marquee player David James made the entry into the centre podium.