Federation Cup: Qualifiers next month
The 32nd Federation Cup, India’s version of the FA Cup, will begin next month with eight teams taking part in the qualifiers for the Federation Cup proper. The eight teams will be the two I-League relegated sides Sporting Clube de Goa and Shillong Lajong FC plus six teams from the 2nd Division I-League. The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each and only the winners will move on into the final round. While the venue for Group A hasn’t been finalised yet, the Group B matches will be played in Goa with three of the four teams from the coastal state.
The final round will be held with the two qualifiers and the 14 I-League team. If the format of the last few years is kept, then the 16 teams will be split into four groups of four teams each with only the group winners moving on into the semifinals. The likely venue and dates of the tournament proper will be announced later.
The qualifiers of the Federation Cup have been simplified this season for reasons only known to the AIFF. Last year over 30 clubs played in the zonal and inter-zone qualifiers, which made good zonal competitions.
The Qualifier Groups
Shillong Lajong FC (Meghalaya), Oil India Limited (Assam), Mohammedan Sporting Club (Kolkata), NISA (Manipur),
Sporting Clube de Goa (Goa), Vasco SC (Goa), Malabar United FC (Kerala), Sesa Football Academy (Goa)