In total 21 teams will this year take part in the 2.Division of the I-League which is set to kick-off across the country in the middle of next month. The 21 teams will be split into three groups of seven in the preliminary stage with the venues still to be decided. The final round of the 2.Division I-League would be held in the Meghalaya capital Shillong with the hope that some local teams besides Lajong FC make it.
There are five clubs from Kerala, four clubs from Meghalaya, three each from Kolkata and Goa, two each from Mumbai and Sikkim plus one each from Manipur and Assam. But it is surprising that clubs who have been regulars in the 2.Division over the last few years like Amity United FC, New Delhi Heroes, Oil India Limited and others are not part of the league.
The North goes totally unrepresented and one has to question if all these small Northeastern clubs can all match Lajong FC and Baichung Bhutia's United Sikkim in fulfilling the AFC Club Licencing criteria. It would be great to have Northeastern representation in the I-League, but like with the rest of the country the clubs need to be professional on all aspects.
How many clubs will go up is unknown at the moment as it depends on how many clubs get through the AFC Club Licencing and what size league the AIFF and IMG-Reliance will want next season as the I-League is supposed to go fully professional
The participating clubs
Royal Wahingdoh SC, Shillong (Meghalaya); Langsning Sports Club, Shillong (Meghalaya); Ar-Hima Football Club, Shillong (Meghalaya); Shillong Lajong FC (Meghalaya); PIFA, Mumbai (Maharashtra); Kenkre Football Academy, Mumbai (Maharashtra); Southern Samity, Kolkata (West Bengal); Techno Aryan Club, Kolkata (West Bengal); Mohammedan Sporting Club, Kolkata (West Bengal); Guwahati Town Club (Assam); Vasco Sports Club (Goa); Sporting Clube de Goa (Goa); Sesa Football Academy (Goa); Josco FC, Cochin (Kerala); Chandni FC, Kozhikode (Kerala); Eagles FC, Cochin (Kerala); Golden Threads, Cochin (Kerala); Malabar United FC, Kozhikode (Kerala); United Sikkim FC, Gangtok (Sikkim); Denzong Boys, Gangtok (Sikkim); NISA, Imphal (Manipur)