A Manchester United fan and an avid football fan, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has entered the world of football by co-owning the Indian Super League (ISL) franchisee Chennaiyin FC.
Dhoni has become the fourth cricketer, after former skipper Sourav Ganguly (Athletico de Kolkata), Sachin Tendulkar (Kerala Blasters) and Virat Kohli (FC Goa), to join the ISL bandwagon.
The addition of Indian captain is certain to boost the popularity of the Chennai-based team but moreover, it will attract large chunk of fans to the cash-rich league, starting October 12.
It’s a well known fact that Dhoni equally loves football and cricket, and during the England tour he visited the Red Devils’ home, the Old Trafford. In early days, Dhoni used to play football and even during training drills prefers to play soccer.
“Our vision will be to win trophies, but more than that to develop talent and help the Indian players to learn under established international players,” Dhoni insisted. “Grassroots level football and sports in India is lacking and that is something we shall address.”
“I feel that Indian sports fans should consume different types of sports,” he added. “I want them to be passionate about cricket as they are, but at the same time one needs to give healthy respect to other disciplines as well.”
Chennaiyin FC is one solid team on papers in the ISL, featuring former Italian defender Marco Materazzi, Indian international Gouramangi Singh and Swedish midfield duo Bojan Djordjic and Pierre Tillman.
The team also has quality Indian players like forward Balwant Singh, Gouramangi Singh, Shilton paul and striker Jeje Lalpe khlua. They will be playing their first match on October 15 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.