SC East Bengal midfielder Maghoma believes Hero ISL could be the next MLS
Impressed with the talent on display and the country’s passion for football, SC East Bengal midfielder Jacques Maghoma believes the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) could be the next Major League Soccer (MLS).
Maghoma, who is in his first season with the league having learnt his trade with English clubs like Tottenham Hotspur, Burton Albion, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham City, shared his impression of the Hero ISL so far in an interview with BBC Sport Africa recently.
"The Indian Super League is only in the seventh season and you can already tell how much it has improved from when it first started.
"The stadiums, the pitches, the referees -- how everything is set up, a lot of it has improved. It will be like Major League Soccer,” the DR Congo international said.
The MLS came into being in the United States of America in 1996 and before long became an attractive destination for international footballers. David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard are some of the top international names to have played there. Maghoma reckons the Hero ISL is on the same path and could grow even bigger.
"Who would have known that the MLS would have gone from what it was, maybe ten years ago, to what it is now?
“The ISL will grow and even grow bigger than the MLS. The league has the potential to do that and attract more and bigger players to come and play out here in the latter stages of their career," he said.
The 33-year-old is particularly impressed with the talent pool in the league. "In terms of quality, I wouldn't compare it to the UK, but there is still a lot of talent in India and in the ISL. At times, you'd be surprised how good some players and some teams are, how they want to play football."
SC East Bengal have had a poor start to their debut season, yet to taste a victory after four games. And this has put a lot of pressure on head coach Robbie Fowler. However, Maghoma believes with a little bit of luck things can change for the better.
“The coach wants us to get the ball. That is something we have been working on from day one. I have bought into that. You can already see the improvement from what he has done to this team and how much we are playing football and keeping possession. We are a possession-based team. We are dominating the ball in the majority of the games, but at the moment we are not having the luck," he said.