Kolkata: Twelve of India's best teams will compete in 132 matches in the 8th National Football League which began this week. And the league promises an interesting Goa vs Kolkata rivalry. But the tournament also has a number of problems - no sponsor yet and confusion over whether the matches will be telecast on television. Winds of change East Bengal are the defending National Football League champions and together with Mohun Bagan they've won five of the last seven editions. But both clubs want some changes this year. "The ground conditions should be better and the referees should also be good. There are a lot of problems, The referees should get paid better and additionally the clubs should be allowed to organise the tournament because the clubs can organise it better," said Anjan Mitra, General Secretary of Mohun Bagan. Mohammedan Sporting is one of the two clubs that will be making a debut in the NFL this season. That's another Kolkata club to join the league, but this year Kerala and Karnataka, two major centres of football are unrepresented. "We have prepared well under our technical advisor PK Banerjee for the last one month and hopefully we should do well," said Sultan Ahmed, Secretary of Mohammedan Sporting.
Clash of the titans
Mohammadan Sporting will be part of a total of four teams from Kolkata in the national league. Goa leads the tally with a total of five clubs. They had four last season with Salgoancar, Vasco, Churchill and Dempo while Haywards was the team that earned a promotion this season.
The other three teams completing the line up of 12 includes JCT from Punjab, Mahindra United from Mumbai and Indian Bank from Chennai.
Kolkata's domination of the National Football League looks like it will be severely tested this season. Salgaocar won the Durand Cup this year beating East Bengal on penalties, while Mahindra United won the Federation Cup.
|Teams From Kolkata||Teams From Goa||Other Teams|
|East Bengal||Salgaocar SC||JCT, Punjab|
|Mohun Bagan||Vasco SC||Mahindra United, Mumbai|
|Tollygunge Agragami||Churchill Brothers||Indian Bank, Chennai|
|Mohammedan Sporting||Dempo SC|
Topics : Football