National Football Tournaments of India – Everything You Need To Know. Indian football is witnessing a steady rise with a growing fan base, participation of quality foreign players, and the national team performing well at different tournaments. Overall, there is a feel-good factor in the Indian football. Now, the domestic tournaments are held without any delay. Moreover, you don’t hear about any financial troubles faced by the federation or the organizers.
However, this is just the beginning of making India a footballing superpower and fulfilling the dream of many to qualify for the World Cup. The Federation should focus more on building requisite infrastructure at the grassroots level.
National Football Tournaments of India
Indian Super League
Played since 2014, this is the national league of India. It is a consistent annual affair and all the prestigious Indian clubs participate in this tournament. The Indian Super League (ISL) season extends for six months from September-October to March-April. All teams play each other twice in a home and away-format. Currently, ISL has 12 teams from different parts of India.
2023-24 Season Updates
The 2023-24 season started on 21st September and will continue till March 2024. The top-positioned team at the end of the league stage will win the League Premiership. The top four teams at the end of the league stage will qualify for the play-offs. The winner of the play-offs will win the ISL trophy. Mohun Bagan Super Giants are the defending champions of this season and Mumbai City FC are winners of the Premiership shield.
This season will also witness the winner of the I-league being promoted to the ISL. Punjab FC became the first team to play in ISL as per the promotion rules.
First Matchday: 21st September 2023
Playoffs: To be held in March.
This is the second division of Indian club football. The I-League promotes its winners to the ISL while relegating the bottom two teams to the third division, known as I-League 2. In 2007, the I-League emerged as a successor to the National Football League. However, starting from the 2017-18 season, due to financial and management issues, it was demoted to Indian football’s second division and replaced by the ISL. Dempo is the most successful team in the I-League.
The season will kick off in October 2023 and continue till April 2024. Delhi FC and Shillong Lajong are the two promoted teams into the I-League from I-league 2. This season will see participation from 13 teams. It will be a league-style tournament with the team standing at the top at the end of the season will become the I-League champions and will play in the ISL next season.
It is the oldest football tournament in Asia having started in 1888. Durand Cup serves as the season opener. Organized by the AIFF and Durand Football Tournament Society, apart from participation by various clubs, teams of Indian Armed forces and Railways also participate. There are 24 teams divided into 6 groups of 4 each. The top teams from each group proceed to the knockout round. Usually, it is a month-long tournament played in more than one city.
Durand Cup 2023 happened from 3rd August to 3rd September 2023. Mohun Bagan won the trophy after defeating its arch-rival East Bengal in the finals at their home ground. Noah Sadaoui of FC Goa was the top scorer of the 2023 edition. The venues for the 2023 Durand Cup were Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Kolkata), Mohun Bagan Ground (Kolkata), East Bengal Ground (Kolkata), SAI Stadium (Kokrajhar) and Indira Gandhi Stadium (Guwahati).
Semi-Final 1: North East United 2-2 East Bengal (East Bengal Won on Penalties 5-3)
Semi-Final 2: FC Goa 1-2 Mohun Bagan Super Giants
Final: East Bengal 0-1 Mohun Bagan Super Giants, Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Kolkata)