The national team’s two top footballers, Syed Rahim Nabi and Ishfaq Ahmed, on Tuesday welcomed Sourav Ganguly’s decision to co-own the Kolkata franchise in the much-anticipated Indian Super League, and said his presence will attract more number of people into the stadia.
The iconic Sachin Tendulkar won the bid for the Kochi franchise in the IPL-style league, while former captain Sourav Ganguly bagged the Kolkata team for the inaugural eight-team football tournament that will be held in September-October.
“I have always said dada is welcome. We have learnt a lot watching him play cricket. Now that he has come to football, I am sure he must have done so after giving it a thought.
“Not just his cricket supporters, dada is loved by everyone in Kolkata, and I don’t have to say that… everyone knows that. More and more number of people will go to the stadiums not just to support the team, but also for love of dada,” the 28-year-old Nabi, who plays for Mohammedan Sporting told ‘extra time’.
Ganguly, on Sunday, successfully bid for Kolkata, which he will jointly own with Harshavardhan Neotia, La Liga giants Atletico Madrid, Sanjeev Goenka and Utsav Parekh.
The 31-year-old Ishfaq said, “He is very experienced and knows about franchise league after his experience in cricket. He has been captain of the national team, played with foreign players and knows a lot management.”
Both are IMG-Reliance contracted players. The tournament is being organised by IMG-Reliance in partnership with Star India and has the backing of All India Football Federation.