Shillong: Riding high on NorthEast United FC's home win against Kerela Blasters, team co-owner John Abraham has said that his team will put up a strong fight in his side's next Indian Super League (ISL) match against Atletico de Kolkata.
The actor and football enthusiast Abraham has, however, admitted that the next game would be one of the toughest considering the way they played to beat Mumbai FC at the inaugural match.
“Kolkata is a tough side but we are a young team... we will give our heart. We'll put up a fight like no one has ever seen,” Abraham told reporters during his one hour-long visit to Shillong on Tuesday.
NE United FC pulled off a hard fought 1-0 victory against Kerala Blasters in a packed Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati even as the latter were much better in the game statistically.
“They are a bunch of warriors out there,” he said, optimistic that his team would give Atletico de Kolkata a tough fight in the latter's home turf.
As for the composition of the NE United FC, Abraham said NE United FC was the only team in the ISL where domestic players had been drawn exclusively from the region.
He also said the passion for football across the region was unmatched pointing out that his team co-owner and Shillong Lajong's MD Larsing M Sawyan was a football player himself.
The team owners also revealed plans to take the ISL to Shillong, Imphal and Aizawl besides other state capitals in the north east in the coming editions of the league.
Speaking on the involvement of Bollywood superstars and cricket players as team owners, Abraham said, “This is important to draw eyeballs initially.”
However, he said, football was a sport of purist and domestic heroes should be crowd pullers.
“As a team owner, my job is to build these domestic heroes,” he said negating views that the ISL would turn out to be a show of vanity.