Hero Indian Super League 2016: Opening Ceremony Celebrates the Cultural Diversity and Spirit of

Hero Indian Super League 2016 Opening Ceremony concluded on 1st October 2016. It was a star-studded affair making a national buzz with glitz, glamour, game and celebrities coming together to make the event a grand success.

Guwahati has seldom seen so many stars on its ground on a single day. The ISL opening ceremony pulled who’s who from Mumbai and across India to the event. On 1st October, when the curtain was finally raised we saw Bollywood superstars Alia Bhatt, Jacqueline Fernandez, and Varun Dhawan rocking the stage with their performance in the Opening Ceremony of the Hero Indian Super League Season 3 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. NorthEast United owner John Abraham along with ISL Founder and Chairperson Mrs Nita Ambani had already arrived in Guwahati ahead of the much-awaited opening ceremony. However, the high voltage event became a major audience puller when names like Mumbai City FC owner Ranbir Kapoor, Kerala Blasters FC owner Sachin Tendulkar, and Chennaiyin FC owner M.S Dhoni  made it to the venue along with Abhishek Bachan to be the part of the event on 1st October 2016.

Prior to the event Indian Super League Founding Chairperson Mrs Nita Ambani on 29th September 2016, called upon all eight ISL club owners along with host broadcaster Star Sports for a meeting in Mumbai. Represented by Dr Anil Sharma (Delhi Dynamos FC), Akshay Tandon (FC Goa), Kapil Wadhawan (FC Pune City), Ranbir Kapoor (Mumbai City FC), Abhishek Bachchan (Chennaiyin FC), John Abraham (NorthEast United FC), Sanjiv Goenka (Atletico de Kolkata), Sanjay Gupta (Star India) and N Prasad (Kerala Blasters FC), the clubs in the meeting, brought forth their plans on developing football through Young Champs and Youth Sports, ISL’s Vision, Goal, Organisation and Ethics and Fair Play. Club Owners presented their respective club’s plan on development of football in their region and discussed the path towards an inclusive growth of football in the country.

Keeping in mind, the northeast region’s contribution to football the opening ceremony celebrated the cultural diversity and spirit of the eight states of Northeast- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim. Northeast has consistently groomed talented football professionals who have represented some of the biggest clubs in the country as well as the national team. The opening ceremony had a local North East flavour with the famed Shillong Chamber Choir  performing in the event. The scintillating ceremony saw over 500 artists and drummers across the north east come together to perform amidst a spectacular show. India’s only Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu who brought glory to India at the Summer Olympics 2016 was, however, the star attraction at the grand sports event.

Last Saturday the gates to Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium opened at 3.00pm sharp for the football fans. The event was aired on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Star Jalsha Movies, Star Jalsha Movies HD, Asia Net Movies, Vijay Super and Hot Star (deferred live) from 6.15pm

To add to this glory, our home team NorthEast United FC kick-started their campaign in the 3rd Hero Indian Super League (HISL) on a winning note with a 1-0 victory over Kerala Blasters . After a barren first session where NorthEast United dominated for long spells, Katsumi Yusa scored the all-important goal in the 54th minute. NorthEast were continuously attacking in the opening 45 minutes but had nothing to show as the strikers were found wanting. After near misses in the first half, NorthEast United finally tasted success in the 54th minute. It was Velez who made it happen after dancing down the left flank and essaying across which the Kerala defence missed and Katsumi was only too happy to speed forward and tap it into the goal.

Kerala Basters tried hard to find the equaliser and came close just after the hour mark. Jhingan’s attempted cross sailed unintentionally towards goal and Subrata Paul dived frenetically to keep the ball away from danger. From the resultant corner kick, Subrata left his charge needlessly, got stranded but German’s strike from close range missed the target by a whisker.

The win has rekindled the desire to bring the ISL trophy home this season. As it has been noted that in the last two seasons the teams who hosted opening ceremonies in the Hero Indian Super League ended up winning the trophy, we can hope that lady luck will favour NorthEast United this season.

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