AIFF announce dates for Super Cup qualifiers, Bhubaneswar to play hosts
What's the story?
The much-awaited Indian Super Cup is all set to begin on March 15 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced on Wednesday. The final, on the other hand will be played on the 25th of next month, instead of April 22 as previously planned.
In case you didn't know...
The Super Cup will be a 16-team affair, which will include teams from the Indian Super League and the I-League, the two top leagues in the Indian football structure. The top 6 teams from each of the above-mentioned leagues will get a direct qualification to the tournament, while the remaining four slots will be decided via qualifiers.
The heart of the matter
The qualifiers were previously announced to start from March 12, but they have been postponed by three days and will now start on the 15th. The draw for the qualifiers involving the four bottom-placed teams from both the leagues will be held on March 9, a day after the last match day of the I-League.
The tournament will also allow the clubs to field up to five foreign players. The Super Cup matches will have 5.30 pm or 8 pm kickoffs and it is likely that only one match will be played per day.
With the top 12 spots already booked, it will be interesting to see who makes the cut to the final four slots up for grabs. Four teams among the eight playing in the qualifying rounds will join the top 12 teams to kick-start the main rounds of the competitions later on.
This is the first time that teams from both the leagues will be playing against each other. Although the Indian Super League is considered to be superior and generally has much more financial back-up, it will be a big showcase for the I-League teams to show that they are not lagging far behind and can go toe-to-toe against the bigger teams.