Freddie Ljungberg
Ljungberg wants to inspire young footballers in india                                                                                        Reuters

Former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg is certain that the inaugural season of the Indian Super League will be a big success.

The tournament, which is scheduled to kick off on 12 October, will be played between eight teams - Atletico de Kolkata, Mumbai City FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Pune City, NorthEast United FC, Kerala Blasters FC, FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC - over a period of 70 days.

A total of 56 fixtures will be played in the league stages, on home and away basis, before the top four teams face each other in a two-legged semifinal, followed by the final on 20 December.

And Ljungberg, who will be playing alongside former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka in Mumbai City, feels that the inaugural season of the Hero Indian Super League will be a big success, despite cricket being the dominating sport in India.

"In our first game there are going to be 110,000 fans there so it looks like it's going to be a success," Ljungberg told the BBC. "It's a new experience and I'm looking forward to working in a new country.

"There's a lot of work to do, but the organisers have been extremely professional in terms of the back-up for all the players.

"I've only been here a few days but how they've pitched it is that there is a massive interest in football among India's youth."

Robert Pires (FC Goa), Alessandro Del Piero (Delhi Dynamos), David James (Kerala Blasters), Luis Garcia (Atletico de Kolkata), Mikael Silvestre (Chennaiyin FC), David Trezeguet (Pune City) and Joan Capdevila (Northeast United) are the other big-name players in the Indian Super League.

Ljungberg, who won two Premier League titles with Arsenal, feels that there will be a lot of pressure on these players to perform and inspire the young players.

"There is expectation on us, and people in India are hoping we are going to play some good football," he added. "That's why we're here and that is what we are going to try and do."

The 37-year-old Swede, who insists that the big players should also help the youngsters "off the pitch", says that "the future for Indian football" will change if they can "inspire some of the youngsters".

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