India kicks-off its biggest ever football extravaganza as Hero Indian Super League enters its 3rd season…

The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium at Guwahati on the evening of 1st October 2016 was the shining light in the country. And for a reason.

The opening ceremony of Hero Indian Super League 2016 raised a toast to the passionate footballing community of the North East.

Opening ceremony also witnessed a wonderful dance performance by Bollywood superstar Jacqueline Fernandez.

The electrical charge of over 500 performers, the passionate cheers of local supporters from the North East region, the bedecked stadium, the galaxy of stars – John Abraham, Sachin Tendulkar, Abhishek Bachchan, M.S. Dhoni, Aalia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernande and Ranbir Kapoor in the presence of the Chef Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal all metamorphosed magically to orchestrate the Grand Opening Ceremony for the country’s most high profile footballing event – Hero Indian Super League 2016.

Kicking off the football festivities, ISL Founder and Chairperson Mrs Nita Ambani recognised the region’s contribution to India’s sporting landscape.

“North East has been the epicentre of sports in India and I have always cherished coming here. North East has produced great sports personalities like Mary Kom, Baichung Bhutia and no, our latest sensation Dipa Karmakar. The region has shown immense passion and love for football. It’s encouraging to see such a support for the sport here.”

Mumbai City FC awarded the “Best Grassroots Programme” for the second year running. Co-owner Mr Ranbir Kapoor received the award on behalf of his side.

“I am pleased to inform you that the ISL grassroots initiative has reached 1.3 million children over the last two years. It’s a significant progress and we are committed to continue investing in India’s grassroots football development”, added Mrs. Nita Ambani who has recently been appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee.”

Alia Bhat mesmerised the crowd with her breath-taking dancing moves.

NorthEast United owner John Abraham arrived into the stadium in his signature style riding at the head of a motorcade. Over 500 artistes joined Alia Bhatt, Jacqueline Fernandes and Varun Dhawan as they exhibited a spell-binding performance on some of their most popular tracks.

In order to give the audience a feel of the ethnic vibrancy of the North East, the famed Shillong Chamber Choir performed to a packed audience.

The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Kerala Blasters FC co-owner and Indian cricket icon Mr Sachin Tendulkar.

India’s only Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu who brought glory to India at the Summer Olympics 2016 was the star attraction at the grand sports event.

Pictures : ISL Media