The 2021-22 season of I-League is all set to commence on Boxing Day, December 26, with the clash between TRAU FC of Manipur and the Indian Arrows. All the matches of this season of the competition are set to be played across three venues – Ground in Kolkata, Kalyani Stadium and Naihati Stadium. Notably, there are as many as 13 teams set to compete in the competition this year with Sreenidi Deccan FC of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan United FC and Kenkre FC of Kolhapur being the new entrants.
Ahead of the season opener between TRAU FC and Indian Arrows, coach Nandkumar Singh and goalkeeper Amrit Gope addressed a virtual press conference. While coach Nandkumar highlighted how the match against Indian Arrows is going to be important since they have the “best coaches in the country” and to win against them will instill confidence in their side that can sustain throughout the season.
The coach also stated that he does not have a full-strength squad at his disposal and two of his preferred players in the starting XI have not yet fully recovered.
15th edition of the Hero I-League to kick off on Boxing Day
— Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) December 7, 2021
Meanwhile, when Amrit was asked his personal target for the season, he stated that his personal target was to win the trophy for his team this year after a promising season last time around.
It is worth outlining that all the teams along with the referees, officials and volunteers have been kept inside bio-secure bubbles in four different hotels across Kolkata amid concerns over the new Omicron variant of the Coronavirus which has been reported in over 80 countries. Over 400 cases of the same variant have already been reported in India and the new virus is said to spread faster than the previous delta variant.
Some of the sports events have already started being postponed much like how it started when the virus first started spreading in late 2019 and the first half of 2020. However, now with vaccinations being made mandatory especially for players and officials involved in the functioning of the tournaments, there is lesser reason to worry. Yet there are opinions divided on the effectiveness of the vaccine on the new variant of the virus.