In the aftermath of their Indian Super League (ISL) triumph in Bangalore, Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory was asked to share his thoughts on the Super Cup.
“What is a Super Cup? We have another name now for that cup (chuckles)," he said.
And it wasn’t just another name for the tournament, Chennai also had a different style and performance for a competition which has been irrelevant to say the least.
The fact that the reigning ISL champions fielded only three foreign players, of which two were on the fringe during the ISL, showed how seriously they took the competition.
The point is that if the organisers couldn’t convince the ISL champions to field a strong side, what does it convey about the seriousness of the competition is anyone’s guess. In fact, there is no pride in winning such a tournament either.
It’s important to delve into why the Super Cup is being held. When the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awarded an AFC Cup play-off spot to the ISL, one of the conditions was that a tournament has to be created where teams from both leagues can participate.
This was merely a box to tick in order to appease the AFC. Although the organisers tried to convince the AFC to award India a third spot in the AFC competitions, their request wasn’t paid heed to.
Instead, you now have a tournament where all games are played on the same pitch and the winner would stand to earn a mere INR 25 lakhs!
As mentioned earlier, with ISL teams not taking the competition seriously, they have been second best. Their performances have been dour, listless and a lack of motivation is evident on the field.
While the ISL have claimed that the standard of football played in their competition is higher than what is meted out in the I-League, results in the Super Cup have stated otherwise.
When an I-League and an ISL team are competing, the difference between the two sides isn’t apparent one bit.One wouldn't which is an ISL team and which is an I-League team.
The manner in which the Super Cup has been scheduled, organised or how the regulations were decided at the eleventh hour, this has been nothing short of a nightmarish experience for brand ISL. It doesn’t matter if an ISL team lifts the Super Cup, the fact that the reigning champions have been knocked out, it’s a clear indication of how Super Cup should really have had a different name as Gregory mentioned!