Countdown to the second edition of the Hero Indian Women’s League has begun as the premier soccer tournament for women kick-starts in Shillong on March 25 next.
Defending champions Eastern Sporting Union of Manipur will take on Indira Gandhi Academy for Sports & Education in the inaugural match to be played on Sunday in Shillong.
However, the champions will miss the services of Oinam Bembem Devi this season, as the Arjuna awardee is part of the club’s back-room staff this time.
The inaugural edition of the tournament was held at the national capital last year.
The tournament will be played among seven teams who face each other once with the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals to be played on April 12, 2018.
The final is slated for April 15, 2018.
Hero I-League 2017-18 debutants Gokulam Kerala FC, the sole club from I-League to have fielded a team in the IWL will also be in action on the first day itself when they take on runner-up Rising Student Club of Odisha, charged up to resume their challenge after being defeated in the final by the Manipur team last year.
Another team to look for is the Sethu FC, comprising mostly of members from the Tamil Nadu women’s team who won their maiden senior national title, upsetting Manipur 2-1 in the final.
Another team from Manipur, Kryhpsa, is expected to show a commendable performance giving hard times to last season’s champions from the same state.
The seven teams vying for the title this season are: Eastern Sporting Union, Rising Student Club, KRYHPSA, India Rush Soccer Club, Sethu FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Indira Gandhi Academy for Sports & Education.