NEW DELHI, Oct 12 (IANS): Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa Sunday congratulated AIFF chief Praful Patel on the launch of the Indian Super League (ISL) and hoped the franchise-based tournament, beginning Sunday, will increase the popularity of the sport in the country.
The AFC president also conveyed his best wishes for the tournament in the letter sent to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief Sunday.
"I would like to congratulate you on the launch of the new league. I am confident that this eight-team competition with a total of 61 matches will increase the popularity of the sport in India and will create a strong fan base for Indian domestic football," the AFC chief wrote in the letter.
Conveying his optimism for the competition, he expected the clubs to help bolster the national football team by nurturing talent and providing them opportunity to showcase their potential.
"The knowledge and experience gained from this competition will also help the clubs in raising their profile and will strengthen the national team in future. I would like to wish all the eight teams the very best and wishing you all the success for this new venture," he said.
Hosts Atletico de Kolkata take on Mumbai City FC at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata Sunday in the inaugural match of the tournament.