Hyderabad, May 15 (IANS) The Indian Super League (ISL) has had a ‘tremendous’ impact on Indian football as it has given the country ‘grounds, facilities and great coaches’, said Hyderabad FC midfielder Nikhil Poojary.
Poojary, who has played 28 games for Hyderabad FC in the last two ISL seasons, said on Saturday that the tournament had also brought ‘structure’ to Indian football.
“The ISL has had a tremendous impact on Indian football. The reason I say that is now we have top grounds, facilities and great coaches. It has brought with it a structure to Indian football that is sustainable and will have a positive impact on the long-term future of the sport in the country,” Poojary said in an interview on the ISL website.
During the 2020-21 ISL edition, the Mangalore-born 25-year-old featured in 10 games and played 604 minutes in all for Manuel Marquez’s team as it narrowly missed out on a semi-final berth in what was their second season in the league.
The pandemic, says Poojary, has brought fresh challenges for footballers, both on a “personal as well as professional level”.
“We are trying hard to find ways to cope with the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, both on personal as well as professional level. It’s been difficult for everyone. It’s been a year to forget but as an athlete, you try to do as much as you can to help your family and friends in these times.
“And other times you try to follow a routine so that you can keep yourself in excellent condition,” said the midfielder who made his ISL debut for FC Pune City in 2018-19 and has also represented Mumbai FC and East Bengal (now SC East Bengal) as well.