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Exclusive: ISL bought worldwide attention to Indian football- Patrick Owomoyela

Written by: Neelav Chakravarti

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The former Germany international was in India for the recent Der Klassiker screening in the capital.

Over the years, India has welcomed more and more foreign football stars with hope for developing the sport in the country. We have seen the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona, Alessandro Del Piero, Diego Forlan, Luis Garcia and Roberto Carlos grace our shores.

Since the turn of this decade, more and more money has been pumped into the sport, with the elements of capitalism and commercialism slowly flowing into it. Corporates are finally taking note, which has led to private investment from bodies across the country. The current situation can be well represented with the influx of organisations like the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, who have finally begun to explore this unchartered market in one of the most populated regions in the world.

Watch: Khel Now TV's full exclusive interview with Patrick Owomoyela

In the past, Indian clubs have tied up with foreign outfits, but the tie-ups didn't reap any benefits. But now, the tide has turned. New partnerships have come up with an eye for the future. For example, Borussia Monchengladbach's tie-up with Minerva Punjab, FC Basel's partnership with Chennai City and Atletico Madrid's agreement with Jamshedpur FC.

Khel Now caught up with former German international and Borussia Dortmund cult hero Patrick Owomoyela for an exclusive interview during his visit to India, to talk about football in general.

The former Werder Bremen defender kicked-off the interaction by expressing his excitement. He said, "It's a great feeling to be here. There are such interesting cultures and it's such an interesting country. When I was asked to come here, I was really thrilled because I expected so much. So far, I am really happy to be here on behalf of Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund."

Best of BVB legend Patrick Owomoyela

Voicing his stand regarding the rise of football in India, the former Die Mannschaft player feels that the inception of the ISL and the hosting of the 2017 U-17 World Cup, has played a big role in expanding the market and increasing the sport's potential in the country.

He stated, "The ISL which started in 2014 really bought some attention to football in India. It was something new for people. Then there was the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was hosted in India. It was an exciting tournament and it bought the attention of the Bundesliga as well."


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Owomoyela further added, "Overall, the visibility of the sport has increased, and that makes it more popular. This is a big chance to light a spark in this market. I think the football market is growing here. It is an interesting market, it is pretty big. India is a very big country and there is a lot of potential in Indian football. This is what the Bundesliga and Dortmund are looking for."

Recently, Germany's Monchengladbach signed a long-term partnership with former I-League champions Minerva Punjab. When asked if Dortmund were also looking for potential tie-ups in India he quipped, "Obviously! Borussia Dortmund are actually looking for a partner in India right now, but it has to be the right one. So, it is not about the biggest name or biggest club. It has to be the perfect fit for us."

The former Germany international joined Dortmund at the same year as Jurgen Klopp

He continued, "Our club is all about youth development and how to bring our own talented youngsters to the biggest stage. So, obviously we are looking for someone who tries the same thing in India."

The two-time Bundesliga winner also mentioned that the BVB team could come to India in the foreseeable future.

Last year, former I-League Second Division champions Real Kashmir had travelled to Germany to train at Dortmund. So now, there is a high possibility that the club will expand itself into India, as the South Asian nation has an increasing Bundesliga and Dortmund fanbase.

About the increase in German football's fanbase in India, the former Hamburger player stated, "I think the Bundesliga is quite exciting overall. We have beautiful stadiums. We have the highest average attendance, highest average scores and lot of talent."

Regarding Dortmund he said, "We have a unique story. The Signal Iduna Park is probably the best stadium in Europe when it comes to excitement and fan connection during the matches. It's very easy to fall in love with the Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund."

For the version of the interview, where he spoke about Borussia Dortmund and Bundesliga, click here.

Published: Fri May 03, 2019 04:36 PM IST

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