The football fever is back upon us with the third season of the Indian Super League (ISL). The ISL got off to a bright start with a galaxy of stars appearing in the opening ceremony. The event was held at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium, Guwahati. All this when Navratri and Durga Puja is in the air.
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The opening ceremony was attended by ISL founding chairperson, Mrs Nita Ambani, along with the team owners of the eight participants. Star shuttler, and Rio Olympic medallist, PV Sindhu was also present. Others in attendance included Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez.
The initial part of the 30 minute ceremony showcased the cultural diversity and spirit of the eight North-Eastern states (eight sisters). This was followed by a spectacular show by the Bollywood superstars, along with about 500 performers rocked the stadium in the short.
The famed Shillong Chamber Choir, who have enthralled audiences across the globe, injected a healthy dose of local flavour into the event.
This was followed by a bout of selfie taking by the likes of Varun, Alia and Jacqueline. Others who indulged in the act included Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, Sindhu, Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and MS Dhoni.
Finally, it was PV Sindhu who performed the ceremonial kick-off.
Mrs Ambani paid tribute to the northeast region’s contribution to sport, especially football, in recent years.
“Northeast has been the epicentre for sports in India and it’s always a pleasure to be here. Northeast has produced great sports personalities like MC Mary Kom, Bhaichung Bhutia and now the latest sensation Dipa Karmakar,” Nita said in her address.
She added, “I am pleased to inform that the ISL grassroots initiative has reached 1.3 million children over the last two years. It’s a significant progress and we are committed to continue investing in India’s grassroots football development.”
The ceremony was followed by the opening match of the tournament, where the hosts, North East United gained a 1-0 victory over Kerala Blasters.