October 20 – Kolkata-based club Sporting Mohammedan confirmed their return to the I-League with a 2-0 win over Bhawanipore to wrap up the I-League qualifiers which served as a coronavirus test case for Indian football.
The club’s coach Yan Law stepped down after Mohammedan’s first qualifier, a 4-1 win over ARA, citing a conflict with the management, but it didn’t prevent Sporting from dominating the competition.
Goals from Vanalbiaa Chhangte and Gani Ahmed Nigam ensured a routine win against Bhawanipore and top spot for Sporting Mohammedan in the qualifiers that also included Garhwal and Bengaluru United. The club will return for the first time since 2013 to the I-League, which serves as the second tier of Indian club football.
The I-League qualifiers marked the first competitive football event in Indian football since the coronavirus outbreak. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) drew up a strict health protocol to create a bio-secure competition environment for the clubs, players and support staff.
Kolkata was chosen as the central venue for the qualifiers with all teams accommodated in hotels across the city. The I-League has also chosen the Bengali city as the venue hub when it kicks off later this year. The Indian Super League however will stage matches in Goa.
India has been one of the most affected countries in the world during the covid-19 crisis, with more than 7.5 million cases and 115,000 deaths.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1606269309labto1606269309ofdlr1606269309owedi1606269309sni@o1606269309fni1606269309