AIFF Futsal Club Championship to begin on Saturday in Gujarat


Vadodara, June 21 (IANS) The third edition of the AIFF Futsal Club Championship is set to kick off at the Swarnim Gujarat Sports University here on Saturday.

Nineteen teams will battle for 16 days to make it to the final and lift the trophy on July 7. They have been divided into four groups – Group A, B and C with five teams each, and Group D with four teams. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals.

The first two editions of the AIFF Futsal Club Championship were held in Delhi, marking this as the first time the tournament will be played outside the capital.

For hosts Gujarat, Baroda Football Academy will fly the flag and hope to do better than their group stage exit in the inaugural edition in 2021-22.

They are placed in Group C alongside Speed Force FC (Telangana), who narrowly missed out on the semifinals last year. The other three teams in the group will make their tournament debut – FC Thyristor, Ramhlun Vengai (Mizoram), Guwahati City FC (Assam) and Ambelim Sports Club (Goa).

Group A also consists of three teams making their AIFF Futsal Club Championship debut — MUM – Millat FC (Maharashtra), Corbett FC (Uttarakhand) and Nyenshen FC (Nagaland). The latter will be the third different team to represent Nagaland in three years after Telongjem FC and Aphuyemi FC, while Maharashtra and Uttarakhand will be represented for the first time.

Among the clubs with previous national experience in the group are Manipur’s Classic Football Academy (2021-22) and Odisha’s Sports Odisha (2022-23).

Group B contains the defending champions Minerva Academy FC, who won last year’s edition thanks to a penalty shoot-out victory over Mohammedan Sporting in the final. Standing in the way of the Punjab side’s title defence in the group stage are Electric Veng Futsal Club (Mizoram), Bangalore Arrows FC (Karnataka), Satvir FC (Haryana) and Goal Hunterz FC (Delhi).

The rematch of last season’s semifinal between Minerva Academy and Electric Veng, which the former triumphed 13-8 in a high-scoring thriller, is one of the most anticipated fixtures of the group stage.

Bangalore Arrows will be making their debut, while Satvir FC will become the first team to represent Haryana in the tournament. Goal Hunterz, who exited in the group stage last year, will hope to go one step better.

Group D, the fourth and final group, consists of four teams, including Delhi FC, the champions of the inaugural edition. They failed to defend their title last year after losing to Mohammedan Sporting 6-7 in the semi-finals.

The other three teams in the group will make their first appearance at the AIFF Futsal Club Championship – Casa Barwani Soccer Club (Madhya Pradesh), Golazo FC (Himachal Pradesh) and JCT Football Academy (Punjab).

The group stage will last from June 22 to July 1. The quarter-finals will be played on July 3, followed by the semi-finals on July 5 and the final on July 7 at 19:00 IST.

The tournament will be streamed live on the Indian Football YouTube Channel.



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