The upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL) will be totally different from what we were used to seeing in the previous six seasons.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the ISL organizers to conduct the league in a centralized venue in Goa in the absence of fans.
Not only centralized venue, but the ISL will also witness several protocols which will be strictly followed keeping in mind the players’ safety.
This is something that has already been implemented across the world since football restarted after the Covid-19 forced the game to come to a standstill earlier this year. But Indian clubs, as well as the players, are completely new to this ‘new normal’ situation.
Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez Roca believes that while playing in empty stadiums is not something the players look forward to, but considering the present condition, the decision to organize the league in a centralized venue is the correct step taken by the ISL authorities.
“The pandemic is changing the world, unfortunately, and football is not an exception. We play for the people. They are the most important. Football without spectators is a different kind of football. But all of us are in the same situation,” the Spaniard told Goal.
The former Las Palmas boss also suggested that the players need to have the right mentality to perform during this pandemic.
“Playing the entire League in Goa is the only way that ISL can be played next season,” opined the Spanish boss. “We can't take a risk with the pandemic. It will be very different for players, coaches and all the people who will be around the team. For me, the mentality will be one of the keys. If the team is prepared mentally, we’ll have a good season for sure.”
Marquez further suggested that it will be up to him and his technical team to make sure that the players are motivated and happy throughout the season in order to bring out their best.
“All the people know that we are in an unusual situation but football is an escape route for fans and we have to give them the best possible things. When we play, we have to forget about the pandemic and enjoy the game.
“Football is happiness and we have to remember it. The planning of the technical staff is to try and make sure that the players are comfortable throughout the season and we have to know how every player is at every moment. There will be funny, tedious, happy moments and we have to control all these things as much as possible,” opined the Hyderabad boss.