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Top 5 teams that made a mark in Elite Football League of India (EFLI) Season 1

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Serious_Sam

The first season of the Elite Football League of India (ELFI) saw many superstars being created in a brand new sport, and the rise of six franchises. Who were the top teams in the first season? Here’s a rundown of the franchises that performed the best last year – the top 5 teams in the inaugural season of ELFI:

#1 Pune Marathas

The Pune franchise were the winners of the first edition, beating the Delhi Defenders in the final 6-0.

They played eight games in all, winning six and losing two. With a 75% win rate, they were the most impressive team in the league.

They scored the second most number of points overall in the tournament with 115 points for and 49 against, scoring 15 points on average every game. They had the meanest defense amongst all the teams, letting in just 9.2 points per game.

Dinesh Kumar, as the quarterback, was the star of the team. He won the Most Outstanding Quarterback award and also picked up the Offensive Player of the Year award. Jitendra Mishra, the Defensive Back, was also in great form as he picked up the Most Outstanding Defensive Back award and the Defensive Player of the Year award.

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Fixtures:

Week 1 – July 25, Delhi vs Pune – Pune won 31-7

Week 2 – July 30, Kolkata vs Pune – Pune won 16-6

Week 3 – August 2, Pune vs Bangalore – Pune won 10-7

Week 4 – August 5, Pune vs Pakistan – not played

Week 5 – August 9, Mumbai vs Pune – Mumbai won 13-6

Week 6 – August 12, Kandy vs Pune – Pune won 19-0

Week 7 – August 15, Colombo vs Pune – Colombo won 9-6

Semi-finals – August 19, (2) Colombo vs (3) Pune – Pune won 21-7

Finals – August 25, (3) Pune vs (4) Delhi – Pune won 6-0

#2 Delhi Defenders

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They finished runners-up in the inaugural edition, losing out to Pune in a low-scoring final. They had 118 points in total to their name, but their defense was not as good as the Marathas, with them conceding 74 points through the event. They had the best offense amongst all the teams, however, averaging 14.75 points per game.

27-year-old, 6 feet tall, Amit ‘Happy’ Lochab was the lead player for the Defenders, donning the #10 jersey. He is a star rugby player by profession, having represented the national team in the past. His versatility is something that stood out as he played a multitude of positions – Tight End, Running Back, Line Backer, Kicker & Kick Returner – in a game against the Mumbai Gladiators.

Wide Receiver Anant ‘Fabio’ Verma was the other lead performer for the Defenders.

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Fixtures:

Week 1 – July 25, Delhi vs Pune – Pune won 31-7

Week 2 – July 30, Kandy vs Delhi – Delhi won 43-6

Week 3 – August 2, Delhi vs Pakistan – Delhi won 21-0

Week 4 – August 5, Delhi vs Bangalore – not played

Week 5 – August 9, Colombo vs Delhi – Colombo won 10-6

Week 6 – August 12, Kolkata vs Delhi – Delhi won 7-0

Week 7 – August 15, Mumbai vs Delhi – Delhi won 12-7

Semi-finals – August 19, (1) Bangalore vs (4) Delhi – Delhi won 22-14

Finals – August 25, (3) Pune vs (4) Delhi – Pune won 6-0

#3 Bangalore Warhawks

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The Bangalore outfit were the top team in qualifying as they lost just one round-robin game, finishing with a 5-1 record, that one loss coming to Pune.

In their seven games overall, they scored 98 points and conceded 66.

Running Back Roshan Lobo led the team during the campaign with his sparkling performances and deservedly picked up the top prize of the Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy in the inaugural season. Apart from that, he also won the Most Outstanding Running Back and Most Valuable Indian Player awards.

Navaneeth ‘Chamber’ Shanta was the other star performer. Navaneeth was the Wide Receiver and the Kicker for the Warhawks. He took home the award for Most Outstanding Wide Receiver.

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Fixtures:

Week 1 – July 25, Pakistan vs Bangalore – Bangalore won 26-6

Week 2 – July 30, Colombo vs Bangalore – Bangalore won 10-7

Week 3 – August 2, Pune vs Bangalore – Pune won 10-7

Week 4 – August 5, Delhi vs Bangalore – not played

Week 5 – August 9, Kandy vs Bangalore – Bangalore won 13-7

Week 6 – August 12, Mumbai vs Bangalore – Bangalore won 16-0

Week 7 – August 15, Kolkata vs Bangalore – Bangalore won 28-0

Semi-finals – August 19, (1) Bangalore vs (4) Delhi – Delhi won 22-14

#4 Colombo Lions

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The fourth semi-finalist were the Colombo Lions. They were comfortably beaten by Pune 21-7 in the semi-final, yet earned much praise for their spirited performances, and were the top side from Sri Lanka in the first edition.

The Lions managed to score 71 points in their six games and conceded 56. They had the third best defensive record of the eight teams in the competition.

Line Backer Suhail Imtiaz was the lead performer for the Lions, picking up the Most Outstanding Line Backer award.

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Fixtures:

Week 1 – July 25, Colombo vs Mumbai – Colombo won 12-7

Week 2 – July 30, Colombo vs Bangalore – Bangalore won 10-7

Week 3 – August 2, Colombo vs Kolkata – Colombo won 20-6

Week 4 – August 5, Colombo vs Kandy – Colombo won 13-0

Week 5 – August 9, Colombo vs Delhi – Colombo won 10-6

Week 6 – August 12, Colombo vs Pakistan – not played

Week 7 – August 15, Colombo vs Pune – Colombo won 9-6

Semi-finals – August 19, (2) Colombo vs (3) Pune – Pune won 21-7

#5 Mumbai Gladiators

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The Mumbai team was one of the few teams that could muster a win against the eventual champions Pune Marathas, beating them 13-6 in a round-robin clash.

They scored 67 points overall and conceded 45; their defense was the second best in the tournament after the Marathas, conceding just 7.5 points per game on average.

Their strapping Offensive Guard Preetesh Balyaya was the star campaigner for the Mumbai outfit. Balyaya came into the first season of EFLI boasting an impressive resume – he is a multi-sport champion in judo, weightlifting and sumo wrestling.

He received the Outstanding Offensive Linesman award for the first season. His game has been compared to that of Michael Oher.

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Fixtures:

Week 1 – July 25, Colombo vs Mumbai – Colombo won 12-7

Week 2 – July 30, Mumbai vs Pakistan – Mumbai won 14-12

Week 3 – August 2, Mumbai vs Kandy – Kandy won 11-3

Week 4 – August 5, Mumbai vs Kolkata – not played

Week 5 – August 9, Mumbai vs Pune – Mumbai won 13-6

Week 6 – August 12, Mumbai vs Bangalore – Bangalore won 16-0

Week 7 – August 15, Mumbai vs Delhi – Delhi won 12-7

Edited by Staff Editor

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