Beautiful State for a Beautiful Game

By on November 24, 2020
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A field side view at how the Hero Indian Super League 2020-21 and Goa can boost each other’s chances of progress

As we look forward to the seventh season of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) in Goa, I realise that this state truly has been stealing the attention off the league and its affiliate clubs. Its passion for the beautiful game and the abundance of training and match pitches make it a destination that is best equipped for the requirements of the premier event.

Needless to say, its hospitality infrastructure and service standards are unmatched. No surprises that Goa got picked well over other interested states, such as West Bengal and Kerala, to host the single venue league in the unprecedented times of COVID-19. Back in 2015 – the second season of the ISL – Goa was given the opportunity to host the final match.

Fatorda truly rose to the occasion and the atmosphere the country saw was of highest levels. Relatively Goa has hosted the most number of important matches and events, including two final matches and now the entire season across three match venues. This also includes the final match of season 6 that was held behind closed doors, where ATK triumphed.

Even long before the advent of ISL, Goa was a darling of many clubs who would conduct their pre-seasons here. I remember teams coming in even during the monsoon period because elsewhere in India, they could not find the conducive environment needed to get their training and conditioning in place.

Beyond infrastructure, Goa has very well-enlightened stakeholders who understand the importance of football players and their needs. Even the support that the government and authorities extend makes it a pleasant experience for the visiting teams and contingents. After the gloom and doom created by the pandemic, India truly needed something like an ISL to uplift the morale and spirits of the football fraternity.

I guess the Indian Premier League moving to the UAE might have been a reasonable thing to do for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC), but I am glad that the ISL has kept faith in Goa. It would be an important event that the state needed to restart the tourism economy. While the number of hotel rooms to be utilised might seem limited, the period of such utilisation is significant. Added to this the engagement of manpower for  logistics, transport and operations will only help generate employment even if it is for half a year. Also, the profiling of the state over the next six months is something that will add to Goa’s brand value.   

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.

Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.

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