New Delhi: The seventh edition of the National Football League kicks off on Friday in Margao where a total of 132 matches will be played in the next six months. In April this year, Kolkata's Mohun Bagan lifted the sixth National Football League for the third time and though Bagan recently lost 6-0 to their South Korean opponents in the Asian Champions League, they remain the favourites at Margoa. But the NFL continues to be a fairly unmarketable event. The Tata's stepped in as sponsors last year midway through the season. This time the public sector has been roped in, before the tournament starts. The only change in the NFL this season is that teams will get a little more travelling time between various venues. There will be a Man of the Match award after each game. But the prize money hasn't increased - the winners still get Rs 40 lakh and there aren't enough weekend fixtures to interest the crowd. To add to that, there are unlikely to be too many live broadcasts of the games. Still the biggest attraction for Indian crowds is likely to be the return of Baichung Bhutia to India after three years. The former FC Bury striker will play for Mohun Bagan this season, and with foreign players ending up as the top scorers in the last four editions, its time now for Bhutia and company to reassert themselves.
Topics : Football