New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) The top eight teams of the country will match up against each other in the upcoming Federation Cup football tournament but all eyes will be on newly-crowned I-League champions Bengaluru FC and runners-up Mohun Bagan.
The prestigious tournament is set to kick-start from April 30. The first match of the competition will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium where hosts Aizawl FC will take on Bengaluru, said the All India Football Federation in a statement here on Thursday.
Record 13-time Federation Cup champions Mohun Bagan will face four-time winners Salgaocar FC on May 2.
East Bengal will take on Shillong Lajong, who beat them 1-0 on Sunday to escape I-League relegation, in their opening match of the tournament on May 1.
The top eight teams as per the final standings of the I-League would be locking horns with the tournament being played on a home and away basis. The higher ranked teams (as per the final standings of the I-League) would have the privilege of playing their home matches later (in the return leg).
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said the tournament will be as competitive as the recently concluded I-League.
“Despite the I-League having lesser teams this season there has been a substantial increase in viewership — both in TV audience and spectators on the ground. The league was very competitive and I expect the Federation Cup to generate the same level of interest and competition,” Das was cited in the AIFF statement.
Das also spoke about the present format of the Federation Cup.
“The AIFF were looking to bring in a more relevant format for the tournament. Going forward, we may make further changes to bring it more in line with other championships,” he added.