Indian club owner seeks help from Turkish football
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Players from the Assam-based club are currently in the southern province of Antalya for pre-season training, with Abraham, who became one of India’s best-known faces after starting his career as a model, meeting Antalya Governor Münir Karaloğlu.
Football is a relatively new sport in the cricket-mad India, and the Indian Super League was founded just four years ago.
Abraham said he hoped his side, which came fifth in the league last season, could learn from Turkey’s clubs and players.
“The league is very new… We are trying to do better. Hopefully Antalya is lucky for us and we do better this year,” he told Karaloğlu on Nov. 6.
“You have a very good team. Also, football reaches out to 260 million people [in India],” he said.
Having spent two months filming in Antalya last year, Abraham said, “I’m very happy to be back. I’m hoping to be the face of Antalya in India… I would like to promote sports and culture from India and come here and develop it out here.”
Karaloğlu stressed the role of sports in creating links between countries and cultures.
NorthEast United are due to play a friendly match with Süper Lig team Alanyaspor on Nov. 9.
The team arrived in Antalya last month and was spotted playing football on the city’s beaches.
Abraham, who played professionally in the Indian A-Division when he was younger, has previously spoken of his love for the sport.
“Before each NorthEast United home game, and even before some of the away ones, I run one lap of the pitch and I stop before sections of the crowd,” he told British newspaper The Guardian in 2015.
“I throw my arms up and the decibel levels are shattering. The fans are just screaming,” he had said.