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India's bare 2018 calendar a cause of concern

'A four-nations tournament in June is likely to be the first major assignment for India in their run-up to the AFC Asian Cup in January next year.'

A four-nations tournament in June is likely to be the first major assignment for India in their run-up to the AFC Asian Cup in UAE, slated to start on January 5 next year.

With just one Asian Cup qualifier (vs. Kyrgyzstan on March 27) and the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) championship being the only other assured football pencilled in for India, that might not be enough for them to prepare for the continental tournament, where India will be making their first appearance since 2011.

Also...

By the numbers: Mohun Bagan soar past 600 goals in national league

Aser Dipanda Dicka (L) scored Bagan's 600th goal in a match against Indian Arrows
'Aser Dipanda Dicka (L) scored Bagan's 600th goal in a match against Indian Arrows.'

As Mohun Bagan becomes only the third team after East Bengal and Churchill Brothers to score 600 goals in NFL/I-League history, ESPN looks at a few interesting numbers behind the feat.

1

The first goal for Mohun Bagan was scored by Dipendu Biswas in their second NFL game in 1997-98. Bagan had failed to qualify for the Super League stage of the first NFL in 1996-97, and began their maiden season with a 1-0 defeat away to Air India. Biswas' goal set them on their way to a 2-1 win at home...

 By Paul Murphy

AFC predicts that expanded 2019 Asian Cup will spark football boom

P.J. Roberts makes his picks for the International Player of 2017 and Men's Player of 2017 honours at the AFC Annual Awards.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have revealed ambitious plans to use the expanded 2019 Asian Cup to make football Asia's number one sport.

The 2019 tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will showcase the best of Asian talent and feature Thailand and Vietnam as Southeast Asia's representatives, while the Philippines and Myanmar are still in with a chance of qualifying.

The Organising Committee for the continental championship met in Bangkok this week and outlined their vision for the...

Poor scheduling top concern as I-League starts new season

Coaches and players at a press conference for the launch of the I-League's 2017-18 season, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Coaches and players at a press conference for the launch of the I-League's 2017-18 season, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The schedule and playing times of the 2017-18 season of the I-League had been questioned almost as soon as they were released last week. Things were no different at the official launch of the season in New Delhi on Tuesday. Players and coaches criticized the scheduling and timing of matches, which they felt would reduce viewership -- both as a consequence of what they felt was the All Indian Football Federation's support of the rival Indian Super League (ISL).

"I don't know what they were thinking,"...

ISL vs I-League: Behind culture clash, signs of mutual benefit

This season ISL clubs are moving from being a franchise to a football team

The season that awaits Indian football, with the ISL and the I-League held concurrently, is expected to give the sport a new direction from the jungle of contradictions that AIFF had grown around itself, with two national leagues that looked and felt different. The 2017-18 Indian football season is to be the rumble in the jungle.

The ISL's existence of celebrity-fronted franchises without genuine community engagement required reinvention. Now that the ISL is a four-month-long league featuring ten...