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The Final round of Second Division is about to kick-off. Eight teams will participate in the final round with top two qualifying for I-League 2011/12. Teams such as Vasco, Mohammedan and Sporting Clube have tasted top level football before, while the likes of Southern Samity and Royal Wahingdoh are débutantes at this level.

United Sikkim (Sikkim)

Road to Final Round – Finished first in Group A in the First Round

Baichung Bhutia’s brainchild made an encouraging start to its football career. United put out a solid performance in Group-A and became one of the first teams to qualify for the next round. They will miss Baichung and Rennedy, but the rest of their squad is more than capable of launching a serious push for promotion. Coach Stanley Rosario worked wonders with Lajong FC last season and has made a good start with US.

Players to Watch out For – NS Manju, Joseph Lapira, John Menyongar, Budhiram Tudu

Will Baichung’s dream come true ?

Mohammedan Sporting (West Bengal)

Road to Final Round – Finished first in Group B in the First Round

Sporting is one of the most experienced clubs at this level, having played in NFL/I-League more than once in the past. Coach Fuja Tope has done a decent job with the Mohammedan squad so far. When he took over Sporting, they were struggling in KFL but Tope has revived their fortunes since then. Sporting topped group B with surprising ease, with veteran Dipendu Biswas scoring crucial goals. Having conceded just four goals in the first Round, Sporting also had the best defensive record.

Players to Watch out For – Dipendu Biswas, Christopher, Karthik Kisku, Han Wook

Vasco SC (Goa)

Road to Final Round – Finished second in Group C in the First Round

One of the oldest clubs in Goa started its Division Two campaign by scoring an incredible 14 goals in their first two matches. Vasco continued its free scoring form till the end of the campaign and notched up 21 goals in 8 matches – the highest in the group stages. Under Gavin Araujo, Vasco looks one of the top contenders to make their much awaited return to the top flight of Indian football.

Players to Watch Out for – Koko Sakibu, Sachin Gawas, Joy Ferrao

Royal Wahingdoh (Meghalaya)

Road to Final Round – Finished first in Group C in First Round

Royal Wahingdoh were invincible in the group league, having won each of their six matches. The spirit they showed in matches against Vasco and BEML was commendable and suits well to champion teams. Under the tutelage of Hugh Lewis and Carlton Chapman, the boys from Shillong will be one of the favourites in this round. They can also count on some very boisterous home support.

Players to Watch Out for – Jackichand Singh, Seityesein Singh, Tulunga

Ar-Hima (Meghalaya)

Road to Final Round – Finished first in Group C in First Round

Ar-Hima edged out Kenkre and Josco SC on goal difference on the last day of group stages. The highlight of Ar-Hima’s campaign was a 5-2 thrashing of SESA Goa. They also staged a spectacular comeback against Denzong Boyz. Despite trailing 2-0 after 23 minutes, Ar-Hima came back to earn a 4-2 victory. Ar-Hima will have strong home support and are well versed with the playing conditions. They can be expected to cause a few upsets in this round.

Players to Watch Out for – Zico Zorensanga, Emanuel Inioyoh, Eugeneson Lyngooh

Southern Samity (West Bengal)

Road to Final Round – Finished second in Group A in First Round

One of Southern’s biggest strengths is Brazilian gaffer Carlos Perreira. The veteran manager has coached the likes of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Churchill Brothers, and has also won titles with them. His teams tend to play exciting, attacking football. At the same time they are vulnerable in defence. In Group A, they showed admirable big match mentality, grinding out wins against United Sikkim and NISA in crunch matches.

Players to Watch Out For – Francis Xavier, Edmilson, Jamir Ali Mandal

Edmilson is in unstoppable form

Lajong FC (Meghalaya)

Road to Final Round – Relegated from 2009/10 I-League

Last season Lajong created a sensation by becoming the first ever team from Meghalaya to play in the I-League. They also performed brilliantly in the Federation Cup, and reached the final. They started out well in I-League and had some wonderful results (including a thrashing of Mohun Bagan in Kolkata). Sadly, they fizzed out near the end and got relegated in their maiden season.

Lajong has come back strongly this season, reaching the semi-final of IFA Shield a few weeks ago. They enjoy massive local support and are used to playing in the uneven surface of SSA Ground. Both of these factors can prove crucial eventually. In IFA Shield Lajong defeated the likes of Chirag United and Pune FC to reach the semi-final, despite playing nine matches in the space of 28 days. Lajong FC is one of the favourites for promotion. They will be looking to avenge the 4-0 thrashing they received from Southern Samity in IFA Shield.

Players to Watch Out for – Racy, Gumpe Rime, Zenith

Sporting Clube de Goa (Goa)

Road to Final Round – Relegated from 2009/10 I-League

The Flaming Orange will be looking to get back into I-League after a disappointing relegation last season. Sporting has the right mixture of experienced players and youngsters. A big chunk of their squad is made up with players from U-19 I-League winning team from last season. Sporting’s team also contains experienced players like Bibiano Fernandez and Felix D’Souza.

Of their foreign stars, Daniel Bedemi will be the one to watch out. Bedemi was one of the stars for Shillong Lajong last season and will be looking for another stellar performance in a familiar environment. Alex Alvarez is their current coach and he has done a good job with Sporting Clube so far. In Federation Cup Sporting suffered the ignominy of being knocked out by relative newcomers SESA FC, a club managed by Sporting’s former coach Clifford Chukuwama. Sporting will certainly be looking to improve on that performance. Recently they have defeated Salgaocar 3-0 in Goan League while drawing 1-1 against Dempo.

Players to Watch Out for – Felix De Souza, Matthew Gonsalves, Bibiano Fernandes, Joseph Perreira