The football extravaganza is back, and how. Amid the gloom of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian football fans will have a reason to cheer as the seventh season of the Indian Super League kicks off on November 20, in Goa. What makes the ISL 2020-21 more exciting is that the two legacy clubs of Indian football – Mohun Bagan (ATK Mohun Bagan, now) and SC East Bengal – will finally be part of the tournament.
Ahead of the season opener between ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, let's take a look at all you need to know about this season of the ISL.
ATK Mohun Bagan
Head coach: Antonio Lopez Habas
Players to watch out for: Tiri, Prabir Das, Sandesh Jhingan, David Williams, Roy Krishna
Head coach: Carles Cuadrat
Players to watch out for: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Udanta Singh Cleiton Silva, Deshorn Brown, Kristian Opseth, Sunil Chhetri
Head coach: Csaba Laszlo
Players to watch out for: Jerry Lalrinzuala, Anirudh Thapa, Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro Jakub Sylvestr
Head coach: Juan Ferrando
Players to watch out for: James Donachie, Seriton Fernandes, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Princeton Rebello, Igor Angulo
Head coach: Manuel Marquez Roca
Players to watch out for: Odei Onaindia, Joao Victor, Lluis Sastre, Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, Rohit Danu
Head coach: Owen Coyle
Players to watch out for: Stephen Eze, Peter Hartley, Amarjit Singh, Jackichand Singh, Nerijus Valskis
Kerala Blasters FC
Head coach: Kibu Vicuna
Players to watch out for: Bakary Kone, Costa Nhamoinesu, Jessel Carneiro, Sahal Abdul Samad, Sergio Cidoncha, Gary Hooper
Mumbai City FC
Head coach: Sergio Lobera
Players to watch out for: Amrinder Singh, Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh, Hernan Santana, Hugo Boumous, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Adam Le Fondre
Head coach: Stuart Baxter
Players to watch out for: Shubham Sarangi, Steven Taylor, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Manuel Onwu, Marcelinho
NorthEast United FC
Head coach: Gerard Nus
Players to watch out for: Subhasish Roy, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Kwesi Appiah, Luis Machado
SC East Bengal
Head coach: Robbie Fowler
Players to watch out for: Debjit Majumder, Anthony Pilkington, Danny Fox, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Jeje Lalpekhlua
All the matches will be played behind closed doors in Goa. There will be three venues:
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda
GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim
Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco
There will be a total of 115 matches, 20 more than last season. All teams will play each other in a 'home' and 'away' round-robin format and the top four sides will qualify for the play-offs. The league stage winner will book their spot in next year's AFC Champions League.
Each team can make five substitutions instead of three. But these have to be done in at the most three intervals, and it does not include the changes at the half-time break.
Teams had the option to sign a minimum of five and a maximum of seven foreign players, with at least one foreign player affiliated with the Asian Football Confederation.
All matches will be shown LIVE on Star Sports Network and Asianet Plus. The games will also be streamed online on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Jio TV.