I-League 2017/18, Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal: Kolkata Derby dates released
The AIFF has finally confirmed the I-League dates, just 11 days ahead of the tournament.
What’s The Story?
There has been some confusion over the starting date of the I-League, but the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has finally come out with the fixture dates of the tournament. The biggest encounter of the league, which is the Kolkata Derby, is all set to take place on December 3, and January 13.
The first of these fixtures will be a home match for Mohun Bagan, while the second one will be hosted by East Bengal.
Various I-League teams, including East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, have already been engaged in a series of pre-season friendlies against ISL outfits. East Bengal have shown promise by beating two ISL teams FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC.
They have the chance to emerge as a pre-tournament favourite in I-League. However, coach Khalid Jamil has refused to get carried away by his team's impressive preparation. On the other hand, Mohun Bagan lost two matches but their head coach Sanjay Sen, who has come back after a surgery is not giving any special importance to the losses.
The heart of the matter
The derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is the heart and soul of the tournament. Last year, due to the renovation work in Salt Lake Stadium for FIFA U17 World Cup, the derby could not take place there. This time around, both the clubs need to pay a certain amount in order to play at the Salt Lake Stadium. If they are ready to pay the amount, then again it will be a gala time for fans in salt stadium once again.
I-League is still the apex league in India, and what is happening around this is utterly confusing. ISL is taking Indian football to a new heights, but the clubs like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal carry the heritage of Indian football with them.
The fans can now lock those two dates. Whatever happens before and after that hardly matters to them. For the fans of these two clubs, winning the derby is bigger than winning the league.