I-League champions Chennai City FC to play in Super Cup

Bhubaneswar: Newly crowned I-League champions Chennai City FC Saturday decided to take the field against FC Pune City in the round of 16 match of Super Cup here on Sunday, breaking away from the eight club alliance which had demanded rescheduling of the tournament.

The likes of East Bengal, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala had pulled out of the tournament, demanding a fair treatment of the I-League clubs by the All India Football Federation in the impending domestic restructuring. They have sought rescheduling of the qualifying round of the Super Cup after their demand for a meeting with AIFF President Praful Patel was granted by the federation.

Mohun Bagan, which was also a part of the alliance, did not register their players for the tournament and the AIFF on Saturday deemed the Kolkata giants to have withdrawn from the tournament. Indian Super League champions Benagluru FC, who are to play against Mohun Bagan in their round of 16 match on Sunday, were Saturday declared to have progressed to the last-eight stage.

Real Kashmir, on the hand, have indicated that they have no issues playing in the Super Cup. They face ISL side ATK on April 1. At the pre-match conference on Saturday, Chennai City FC head coach Akbar Nawas declared that rivals FC Pune City would start as favourites on Sunday.

“Pune have the players, the foreigners they have, the coach they have. Player for player there is no match for any ISL team in terms of budget and portfolio. So, on paper I’m sure they are the favourites,” Nawas said.

Asked if Chennai would attempt a double after winning the I-League, the Singaporean said, “I don’t know. I cannot say that because all over the world, you normally play the cup competition within the league itself and the final you normally play after the league like the FA Cup. So, it’s something new to me that you play the cup competition after the league. So, I don’t know how to answer that,” he said.