Subrata Paul, Nabi to play for Mumbai in ISL

Mumbai: Current India custodian Subrata Paul and midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi were the big signings by Mumbai franchise on day one of the two-day inaugural eight-team Hero Indian Super League domestic players draft held here on Tuesday.

The other major signings for the day were defenders Nirmal Chetri and Gouramangi Singh, who were drafted in by Kerlala Blasters and Bengaluru franchise, respectively.

A total of 32 players who had played for India over the last three years are part of the two-day domestic player draft. The international player draft will be held in mid-August.

A total of 42 players were drafted in on the first day while 14 others, who have already been signed up for the IPL-style league by franchises of Goa and North East (seven each), were also announced on the day when seven rounds had been completed.

The remaining 42 players from a total strength of 84 will be picked by the six franchises tomorrow.

According to informed sources the top bracket of players would rake in Rs 80 lakh for the season while the next rung Rs 75 lakh, though the ISL organisers have refused to reveal the amount for which the players drafted in have been signed for.

Paul, who has plied his trade in Denmark for a brief while in recent times, was of the opionion that the ISL would benefit the Indian national team.

"I have played a few matches in Denmark and I feel the Indian players have the ability to play in European leagues.

The ISL is a good platform and there is good amount of interest among the players about it. It will also help the national team," Paul said.

Syed Rahim Nabi, who will be Paul`s team-mate in the Mumbai franchise, said it would be a challenge for him to play outside Kolkata.

"It`s a challenge for the young Indian players. ISL will be a great platform for them and the fans will also see good stuff," he told reporters.

The Mumbai team`s spokesperson Anirban Blah said they have identified a few venues and would announce the name of the team, the coach and the venue in two weeks` time.

Nirmal Chettri is excited to be part of the Kerala franchise side co-owned by cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar.

"Here I come to God`s Own Country where football meets with passion and Kerala Blasters. Thank you everyone for your warm wishes/greetings!!," he tweeted.

Goa announced that they have roped in Jewel Raja while North East United FC said they had singed up Zomingliana Ralte.

Defender Dharamraj Ravanan expressed happiness over being part of the Pune franchise.

Among others, Francis Fernades was preferred by Delhi while Lenny Fernandes was taken by Pune.

The tournament is organised by IMG-Reliance and supported by the All India Football Federation.

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