Margao, Mar 12 (PTI) Indian national team coach Igor Stimac and Mumbai City FC gaffer Sergio Lobera on Friday praised ISL organisers for the smooth conduct of the event and ensuring the players remained in touch with top-flight football despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indian Super League will conclude on Saturday with the title clash between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan here.
'Congratulations to all who survived what is probably the longest bubble in the world for a sporting event,' Stimac said.
'I need to say that I'm hundred percent right when I'm saying something like that this season was the best ISL season yet. Because this was the most difficult season for all the players, all the stakeholders involved due to the COVID-19 situation.
'How to organize it? How to survive? How to escape from injuries? This was the first time that our players were facing the problem of many games in such a short time. Every three or four days, there was another game coming up. And they all survived.
'We watched wonderful goals, great action, and open football most of the time. We could enjoy it. I need to say once again, thank you once again for making my life easier here,' he added.
A total of 115 games were played across four months.
The pandemic posed a challenge but organisers Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL) along with the 11 clubs, the Goa government, local authorities, and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) got together to successfully organise the first major sports event in India amid the health crisis.
Just before he heads into the all-important mega clash against rivals ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC coach Sergio Lobera praised the league for what has been an impressive season.
'I don't think it's easy to manage this situation for a long period. It is an achievement to get the stadiums and training grounds ready. I think this is the most success that we can achieve -- finish the season while ensuring everyone's health.' The league had also come in for high praise from NorthEast United FC coach Khalid Jamil, who was speaking after his team had exited in the semifinal stage.
'Just want to say that for the league, ISL has done a wonderful job,' he said.
'League officials, groundsmen, everybody worked very hard. I want to thank the Indian referees, they have done a wonderful job,' Jamil had said. PTI AH AH APA APA APA