I cannot predict the league
You look then at the league as a whole and I have to say, I gave up on predicting who is going to win during week three. I couldn’t tell you what is going to happen with any conviction about the results anymore. You look at NorthEast United when they played in form Chennaiyin, in Chennai. They fell behind twice, but, they have character, and that is their strength. They showed it when they came back and got a draw. You look at Pune, they will lose heavily and then they will go and get a big win. There are examples all over the league. Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata – they have all posted results that are surprising. I think this means a lot for the viewers and spectators, that the league is competitive and unpredictable.
NorthEast United’s 3-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC illustrates the unpredictability of the league.
I want the league to be competitive. It wouldn’t be fun it were a foregone conclusion after three or four weeks. I think it’s a plus that in the first season, we still don’t know who the top four teams are going to be. Obviously we already have Chennai that have qualified. But, you look at Goa, and they were doing really badly in the beginning and now look at them, they have just defeated Chennai and are in second place, a point behind them.
I think it takes time for a coach to get his philosophy across to his players, and that is what happened with Goa. Zico arrived late to the league and he didn’t have any pre-season and he didn’t have time with his players like some of the other coaches had, so his message, his style, his football, his ethos took some time to come through. It was coming through, coming through and it finally has come through for the team. When the players begin to feel that they can play, they do. You only have to be down in Goa to see how their fans are reacting to their team play in their town, in their stadium, for them. As a player you want to go out and give it your best. The same is the case with Kerala and NorthEast United; it’s the devotion of the fans that makes the team perform and as a player it is a pleasure to perform for them. The league is so competitive and tight that you don’t know who is going to be in the top, second, third and fourth position.
The fact that I cannot predict certain things is just what the league needs. I need you to keep watching, because if you don’t, you will miss something, and I think that is what is keeping the Indian supporters and spectators engaged because people do not want to miss out on such excitement.