The domestic football league of the country -- I-League -- is all set to enthrall Indian football fans once again as the action gets under way from 9 January, 2016.
Football fans in India will not be expected to be too down when the ISL 2015 comes to an end on Sunday, 20 December, as the domestic league kicks off, just after the New Year break. As the common notion is -- when one good thing ends, the other begins.
Teams like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Bengaluru FC, and many more will be back in action in the I-League next year. A total of nine teams will be participating this year, and the inaugural match of the league sees defending champions Bagan go head-to-head with Second Division League 2015 winners Aizawl FC.
The match takes place at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) in Kolkata.
"Last season is history now and we've to start from scratch," Mohun Bagan's I-League winning coach Sanjoy Sen, said. "Everything will start from zero in the new season. There's no room of complacency and everyone will be on same platform on 9th January."
Meanwhile, the highlight of the I-League over the years has been the clash between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal -- regarded as one of the greatest derbies of football around the world by FIFA. In the upcoming edition, the red-letter days in the I-League calendar for the Kolkata Derby remains 23 January and 2 April.
The teams play two legs in the league season, and there are no playoffs at the end. The team who are at the top of the table after the end of the matches, is declared the champion.
Last season was an exception of sorts as Bengaluru FC played Mohun Bagan in a non-scripted final. Bagan won the match, regarded as one of the best matches of I-League over the years, to lift the title for the first time.
The teams participating: Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Bengaluru FC, Aizawl FC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Shillong Lajong FC, DSK Shivajians, Salgaocar FC, Mumbai FC.
Note: Pune FC and Royal Wahingdoh have already announced that they will not be a part of the I-League anymore.