AIFF confirm dates for ‘Kalinga Super Cup’, clashing with India’s AFC Asian Cup

AIFF confirm dates for ‘Kalinga Super Cup’, clashing with India’s AFC Asian Cup

The AIFF has confirmed the dates for the ‘Kalinga Super Cup,’ which would collide with the Indian Football Team’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 campaign. creating a debacle yet again!

Renamed as ‘Kalinga Super Cup’, the AIFF-organised tournament is set to commence from January 9th 2024. Teams from the top two Indian Football Leagues – the ISL and the I-League will compete in the tournament for the continental berth. However, with the tournament running till 28th of January, it will overlap with the AFC Asian Cup 2023, reinstating the Club-Country debacle again.

The annual competition has attracted clubs from both the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League. The tournament format will be four groups of four teams each. The teams will compete in single-leg matches against one another.

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The I-League teams will compete in qualifications to get to the Kalinga Super Cup group stage. In the group stage, they have only four spots reserved. All of the matches will take place at two distinct locations in Odisha.

The group winners will advance to the semi-finals, which will take place on January 28, 2024. The Kalinga Super Cup victors will be named to the ACL 2 Preliminary Stage of the AFC 2024-25 season.

AIFF confirm dates for 'Kalinga Super Cup', clashing with the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Campaign for Indian Football Team

During the same time, frame the Indian Football Team is set to play their AFC Asian Cup 2023 matches. India has been drawn alongside Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria and is set to play them on 11th, 18th and 22nd of January. While coach Igor Stimac had been demanding for a national team camp ahead of the tournament, it seems to be far off. Igor Stimac might also be without his desired set of players, given the clubs might not agree to send them with the ACL 2 contention in question.

While, the Super Cup with the ACL contention one right step in the direction of putting Indian Football on the continental map, a question of AIFF Organizing committee competence comes in question. The dates of the Asian Cup were released long back and Igor Stimac actually kept emphasizing the importance of the campaign. However, after the recently played World Cup Qualifiers, Stimac dismissed the probability of good result in the tournament, disheatenedly citing the lack of time for camp as a reason.

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