League football has been prevalent in India for over two decades and yet it took a team instituted just three years ago to set out and challenge for unprecedented continental glory in the final of the AFC Cup in November. The Hard Tackle attempts to chart this remarkable growth of the new pride of Indian football, Bengaluru FC.
The Indian National Football team is gearing up to take on Iran and Turkmenistan in the last two qualifiers of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. As things stand in group D, India are perched at the bottom with three points - four points adrift of the fourth placed Guam.
At the halfway stage Mohun Bagan and East Bengal lead the I League table while Bengaluru FC have lost the plot after a good start.
Mohun Bagan are three points clear at the top of the I-League table and are unbeaten so far in this season's I-League, but a big concern for their fans is the frm of star striker Cornell Glen.
With both Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan likely to suffer from fixture congestion due to AFC Cup matches, East Bengal will look to mount a serious challenge for the I League title.
East Bengal striker Ranti Martins is already breaking club records so early on in the season, but the Nigerian has not set himself any big targets to achieve. In stead, his only goal is in the I-League right now.
It was the same old story for Aizawl FC at the Barasat Stadium, as they played well, only to go down in the end to a much stornger side. However, coach Manuel Retamero feels that his side can do well in the I-League if they are consistent.
The first Kolkata Derby of 2016 between defending I League champions Mohun Bagan and East Bengal ended in a 1-1 draw. The result may have pleased both sets of fans but left a lot to think about for both the coaches.
The London derby can take a backseat on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 119th birth anniversary, as the biggest fixture in the Indian football calendar is coming up -- the Kolkata Derby -- one of the most fiercely fought battles in India, as the two bitter rivals Mohun Bagan and East Bengal prepare to take each other on.
16th January 2016 would undoubtedly go down as an historic day in Indian Football. It was a day when Aizawl hosted its first ever I League match at the picturesque Rajiv Gandhi Stadium when home team Aizawl FC against Bengaluru FC.