Jeje Lalpekhlua
Chennai: Chennaiyin FC's Jeje Lalpekhlua during an ISL match between Chennaiyin FC and FC Pune City in Chennai on Nov 15, 2016. (Photo: IANS)IANS

India striker Jeje Lalpekhlua feels the Indian Super League has helped footballers in the country get more recognition which has in turn paid dividends when they wished to do social work and give back to the community, especially during these trying times amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lalpekhlua on what ISL does for footballers

"ISL provided players respect and recognition off the football field. For me, I started out my career like every footballer in India wanting to play in Kolkata because they love their football there and you get massive support if you are good," Lalpekhlua told ISL Media.

"Things have expanded from those times. If people recognise you in society, things get better. If people know who I am, things come easy. Earlier, it was difficult but now in Indian football, you can earn much better salaries and also give back to society as well," said the Mizoram-born who last featured for Chennaiyin FC in April 2019 and had to miss out on the entire 2019-20 season due to a knee injury.

IANS photos

"I always wanted to make a career in football with an aim to give back to society. I take inspiration from my grandmother who helped many people in my village.

"I followed what she did. Even when I used to not earn as much, I still used to help as much as I can. I am lucky to be able to help out more," he added.

This season's ISL is slated to start in the third week of November.