Guwahati, Sep 26: Indian footballers from the North East region are delighted that Guwahati will host the opening ceremony of the Indian Super League (ISL), terming the move as a recognition of the regions passion for the game. [Full list of squads for ISL 2016] [Full schedule of ISL 2016]
NorthEast United FC will take on Kerala Blasters at Indira Gandhi Stadium here on October 1.
Reminiscing about playing at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, Chennaiyin FC's super striker, Jeje Lalpekhua, said: "I still remember playing the first-ever international match at Indira Gandhi Stadium back in 2011.
In the last five years, football has really grown in the northeast region in terms of infrastructure and talent, so it is fitting that this year's ISL opener is being staged in Guwahati."
Chennaiyin FC's Thoi Singh who hails from Manipur said "Getting the distinction of hosting the first ISL game of the season is a reward for the passion that northeast has for the beautiful game.
"I would have loved to play this fixture but of course I will be looking forward to our away game there as the atmosphere in Guwahati is always electrifying."
NorthEast United FC's homeboy, Seityasen Singh was elated at playing at the venue.
"I feel extremely proud that Guwahati is the venue for this year's opening ceremony and I am happy that I shall be able to play on such a huge occasion against a team that also has a huge fanbase like ours.
"I am also delighted about the fact that the northeast can now draw the attention of the footballing fraternity towards itself via this event in Guwahati," he said.
"Ever since the ISL started, it has drawn the eyes of the entire country towards it. I am hopeful that the opening ceremony shall send out a message to everyone concerned about the importance of this region and highlight the importance that it holds in the annals of Indian footballing history," he added.