New Delhi: Indian national football team midfielder Anirudh Thapa is looking forward to playing in front of packed stands in the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL) as it welcomes back fans across stadiums after a gap of two years.
The Chennaiyin FC captain revealed the fans were a significant miss over the last two seasons. With India’s premier football league returning to the 10 venues across the country, players are thrilled to have the support back from the stands.
“I think the fans are excited and so are we. They will be back after two years. We missed them and it will be great to meet them and entertain them. Having fans will create an amazing atmosphere in this season’s ISL for sure,” said Thapa.
“Last two years have been tough for us. I can recall the packed stands in Chennai with the people of the city behind us in each and every match. There have been special nights at the Marina Arena and I am looking forward to experiencing them back once again,” added the versatile midfielder.
Chennaiyin embark on their ISL 2022-23 campaign on October 10th away against ATK Mohun Bagan in Kolkata. Thapa also suggested it is just not the Chennai crowd that he wants to put up a special show in front of. The 24-year-old revealed he is equally excited about the away matches as well.
“You know the matches in Bengaluru, Kochi, and Kolkata will be amazing as well because you have a great turnout in these centres. I am most excited to play the four teams away from home as well,” Thapa said.
The ISL fixtures have been specially designed between Thursdays and Sundays as the weekend-centric schedule allows for more fans and their families to make the trip to the stadiums to catch the action from the stands.
Thapa reckons the scheduling will be a major boost for all involved. “Weekly matches will be nice for both players and fans and will give ample time in between matches so everyone can enjoy better.”
Two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin had tied down Thapa to a two-year contract extension this summer, ensuring their captain stays on till the end of the 2024 season. Having played the last two seasons behind closed doors in a bio-bubble in Goa, Chennaiyin’s fans are looking forward to seeing their favourite team back in action at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.