Guwahati: Having played host to the South Asian Games opening ceremony earlier this year, the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Sarusajai will be witnessing yet another spectacle when Bollywood glamour will meet sporting world to kick off the third Indian Super League football tournament here on October 1.
Bollywood heartthrobs Alia Bhatt, Jacqueline Fernandes and Varun Dhawan along with about 500 performers are ready to rock the stadium in the short yet spectacular 30-minute show from 5.30 pm ahead of ISL-3 opener between hosts NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC.
The TV telecast, however, will be deferred live from 6.15 ahead of the match. Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar who owns the Kerala team will also be present. NorthEast United FC Owner and proud host of the opening ceremony, John Abraham said: “I’m extremely happy to get this opportunity to host the opening ceremony. It’s a huge deal for my team as well as my people in the North-East region who have always showered the team with their love and supported us throughout.
“The opening ceremony promises to draw the world’s attention to the potential of North-East region and I hope this encourages more youth from the area to take up football professionally,” he said in a statement.
Nita Ambani, founder and chairperson, Reliance Foundation and Football Sports Development Limited along with Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani will also be present during the ceremony. Football Sports Development Ltd — a joint venture between IMG, Reliance Industries and Star India — have rewarded North-East United FC the coveted rights to host the scintillating opening ceremony to celebrate the region’s passion with the beautiful game.
Both teams have had a successful pre-season campaign with NEUFC travelling to the United Arab Emirates while the men in yellow travelled to Thailand. The two teams missed out on a semi-final berth last year and they will be looking to go that extra mile this year. The Highlanders missed out by only two points to finish fifth while Kerala, the inaugural edition runners up, finished at the bottom of the table in 2015.