Many players like Sandesh Jhingan, Rahul Bheke, and Jeje Lalpekhlua have improved by leaps and bounds thanks to the exposure of playing in the Indian Super League. As a result, the Indian national football team has broken into the top 100 FIFA rankings along with qualifying for the Asian Cup.
The core philosophy of the Indian Super League's (ISL) is as simple and it is complex: develop Indian football. And while three seasons are hardly enough for any league in the world to affect major change, there are a few standout examples that certainly make a case for the league to claim that it has played a role in the furthering of the sport in India.
Iain Hume, who has been a constant thorn in the side of defenders since first joining the ISL in 2014, is in prime position to gauge how far the league has come. Keeping the length, sponsorship, number of teams, number of foreign players, entertainment quotient and more, Hume spoke about the core mission of the ISL.
"A lot of people ask me whether the ISL has really helped develop football in India. There is no doubt for me that it has. As a player, I have seen the Indian players around me
Hume played his first season with Kerala Blasters and used one of the Yellow Army's finest players as an example of how far Indian players have come due to the exposure to a higher level of football in the ISL.
"No disrespect to the I-League, but the ISL is a notch above and you can see how Sandesh Jhingan has developed after breaking through with the Blasters. In the last three years, he has played with players like Aaron Hughes, Carlos Marchena, Cedric Hengbart and others. He was not known in a big way when he started playing with us, but look at him now! He is leading his national team on some occasions," Hume said.
Jhingan played a starring role for Kerala Blasters in the inaugural season, when the team reached the final and narrowly lost to Atletico de Kolkata (1-0). Since then, the 24-year-old hasn't looked back. Jhingan made his senior national team debut in 2015. He has made 16 appearances for India, scoring four goals in the process. In between the ISL seasons, Jhingan played for Sporting Clube de Goa, DSK
Jhingan's overall game, including his versatility of playing at right and
"We have a lot of young players in Anirudh Thapa (19), Jerry Lalrinzuala (19) and Germanpreet Singh (21) and they will show their quality over the course of the season by not just coming in for 10 minutes, but as being part of the core team which will play high-level football watched
It's clear, then, that with the ISL growing in terms of duration and number of teams, that
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