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As the festival of 'Vishu' is set to be celebrated on Tuesday, former India striker I.M. Vijayan believes that Kochi franchisee in ISL is God's gift to the state of Kerala...

Former India international I.M. Vijayan hailed the Indian Super League (ISL) after Kochi was announced as one of the franchisees being sold to Sachin Tendulkar and PVP Ventures.

“This is the greatest 'Vishu' gift for Kerala. I have always admired the genius in Sachin and I’m sure Kerala football will get a huge boost with the presence of the batting maestro,” Vijayan told The Times of India.

“This is a golden opportunity for the budding footballers as they can witness some great players in action. Just seeing them play will help them improve their own skills,” he added.

Meanwhile the Kerala Football Association president KMI Mather has promised for a renovated turf for the ISL.

“Many players have complained about the cricket pitch in the ground. So we have decided to remove the pitch and lay turf. The work will begin within two weeks. There were rumours that a few IPL matches could have been played in Kochi. We were waiting for the confirmation from Kerala Cricket Association to start the renovation,” he said.

The renovation of the Kochi stadium which is also one of the probable venues for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup is reportedly expected to be completed by September.

On the other hand, the former Kerala Santosh Trophy team coach AM Sreedharan went on to state that lack of I-League action is the cause of less turnout of fans as was witnessed in the Kochi leg of the Federation Cup in January this year.

“Keralaites have now become selective about watching football. They now have the luxury of watching quality football being played in England and Spain on TV. That has set the standard. So when our players failed to meet their expectations, naturally they stepped away. Football is in Keralaites’ blood. If international stars come here, people will definitely join the party,” he said.


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