ISL 2017-18: Football and its giant strides in Chennai

Veteran C.M. Ranjith, I-League footballer D. Ravanan and Youth League coach Arindam Biswas say Chennaiyin FC’s triumph is a chance for the stakeholders to shun differences and build better opportunities for youngsters.

Chennaiyin FC won its second ISL title, beating Bengaluru FC 3-2, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

C.M. Ranjith, former Tamil Nadu football captain and coach, said Chennaiyin FC's win in the Indian Super League (ISL) is definitely a big boost for the young players of the state at the grassroots level. “This is certainly an excellent win by Chennaiyin, which was totally unexpected given the fact that it was playing away from home. For young players at the grassroots, it is a huge boost.”

The 53-year-old former striker pointed how the victory is an eye-opener for Chennai Football Association and Tamil Nadu Football Association to shun their differences and try to promote the sport. “They had missed the opportunity before. I hope they take this as another chance and develop the sport, as lot of youngsters have started to play the sport in schools and colleges more than before.”

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Tamil Nadu player D. Ravanan, who plays for Chennai City FC in the I-League, said: “I was travelling so I couldn't see the match but it is a very happy moment that Chennaiyin FC has won the title again. More importantly, beating Bengaluru FC in Bengaluru makes it even more special.

Chennaiyin beat FC Goa in Goa for its first title.

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Ravanan, who played in the first edition of ISL for FC Pune City, added: “It is a huge boost for football in Tamil Nadu. We have clubs in the I-League and the ISL and there is a definite path for kids to progress. Even parents are willing to let their kids pursue the game now that they are seeing results like this on television.”

Arindam Biswas, head coach of Mahogany FC, which plays in the Youth League, said: “The win by Chennaiyin FC will, definitely, make football more popular in Tamil Nadu and as a result more children will start to play the sport. Last year, six teams took part in the Youth League, U-13 and U-15. This year, we could see four more, which is a sure sign that football continues to make giant strides in the state.”