AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 21st Nov: The 11th edition of I-League, India's premeier football league, was launched here on Tuesday.
The league, from November 25 to March 6, will feature three-new clubs -- Gokulam Kerala FC from Calicut, Neroca FC with their base in Imphal and Indian Arrows here.
Speaking on the occassion, Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation (AIFF), said: "History is testimony that the I-League has laid foundation for Indian football stars to go ahead and shine in their careers and make the country proud. "The edition also pays special tribute to the coaches who create those stars with their dedication and commitment towards the beautiful game."We are happy to welcome Kerala back in the league and the return of I-League football to Delhi." Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton De Matos said: "We're here to learn more and we have to give our best. If we draw, if not win, it's a great victory for us and we are positive for the challenges." Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen said: "Earlier it was Pailan Arrows, now Indian Arrows. The name may be different but I believe the players are amazing. It will be challenge for everyone including them and let's see how everyone copes with that." Shillong Lajong coach Bobby Nongbet said: "I have faith on young players coming from the academy and they're capable to pull off a great show as a team, I belief so l say."
Aizawl FC captain Syhlo Malsawmtluanga said: "Last season was amazing and this year also we expect the fans to come out in large numbers and provide the necessary support."East Bengal Head coach Khalid Jamil said: "Expectations are high from us and we are here to give a big fight and hopefully win the season this year." The upcoming edition will fetch Rs 1 crore for the winner, Rs 60 lakh for the runner-up and Rs 40 lakh for the third place side.