Fresh Start: Many Firsts in I-League as 13th Season Kicks Off
Eleven teams representing eight states and one union territory of India will play a total of 110 games across five months and 17 weeks in the 13th edition of the I-League, which starts Saturday.
Igor Stimac with players of the I-League teams. (Photo Credit: AIFF)
New Delhi: The 13th edition of the I-League kicks-off this Saturday (30th November) with a double-header featuring a clash between former champions Mohun Bagan and Aizawl FC, followed by Gokulam Kerala FC taking on Neroca FC in the evening at home.
A total of 110 games are scheduled to be played across five months and 17 weeks. The I-League, this season, will feature 11 teams representing eight states and one union territory of India, vying for the trophy and a chance to represent the country in the AFC Cup.
Speaking ahead of the opening match-day, Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League said: "What makes the I-League special I believe is its competitiveness and unpredictability. You cannot earmark a team and be absolutely sure that they are going to win. That unpredictability is rare in football these days, which makes me proud of our league. It's almost time and I could not be more excited. I would like to thank the AIFF leadership, our sponsors Hero, our marketing partners FSDL as well as our production and broadcast partners Instat and Dsport for making the 13th edition better than ever before. I wish all the clubs all the very best and may the best club win."
The I-League has had a total of eight winners since its inception back in the 2007-8 season. Five different clubs have won it in the past five years, making for a many-a-memorable fairytale.
Dempo Sports Club of Goa have the maximum three titles followed by Churchill Brothers and Bengaluru FC with two each. Churchill are among five clubs in the present edition who have won the I-League.
The new #HeroILeague season is almost upon us!
— Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) November 28, 2019
In a year of many firsts, the 2019-20 I-League will feature two, instead of one high voltage local derby. Besides the Kolkata derby - between the legendary Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, the Imphal derby will also be played out for the very first time on the national stage, when newly-promoted TRAU FC takes on Neroca FC in Manipur's capital Imphal.
This year will also see a new production team and live broadcast partners for the I-League with Instat being responsible for the production and sports channel Dsport will be broadcasting the league live.
Also to the fore will be many young and exciting players particularly in the forward line that would be looking to make their mark in this edition of the I-League and catch the eye of the national coach Igor Stimac amongst the likes of Vikram Pratap Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Abhijit Sarkar, Vinil Poojary and Techi Tatra.
The 2019-20 I-League will also feature around 40 foreign nationals from nations such as Brazil, Spain, England, Japan, Nigeria, Scotland, Cameroon, Gambia, Uganda, Liberia, Trinidad, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali and others for a total of close to 21 countries, apart from India.
The teams taking part in 2019-20 I-League are - Aizawl FC, Chennai City FC, Churchill Brothers, East Bengal, Gokulam Kerala, Indian Arrows, Punjab FC, Mohun Bagan, NEROCA FC, Real Kashmir FC, TRAU FC
Aizawl FC v Mohun Bagan - 2 PM LIVE on Dsport (Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl)
Gokulam Kerala FC v Neroca FC - 7 PM LIVE on Dsport (EMC Corporation Stadium, Kozhikode)
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