New Delhi, Nov 13: Thirty-seven teams from across the country will take part in the U-18 I-League which begins tomorrow with matches for Maharashtra zone.
All teams from I-League, second division league, a few football academies and one team from Indian Super League are participating in the tournament.
"We have witnessed an enticing U-18 I-League last season and we're expecting nothing less than another gruelling season," I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said.
"I wish success to all the participating teams. The competition will be intense and may the best team triumph," he added.
The teams from each zone will play on a home-away basis among themselves in the round robin stage and 12 teams will qualify to the National Final Round.
Those 12 teams will be divided into three groups and the group champions along with the 'best second placed team' will qualify for the semi-final which will be followed by the final to decide the U-18 I-League 2016-17 champions.
Mumbai FC will face off Kenkre Sports Club at the Cooperage Ground in the opener.
The zones and the teams
Zones: Kolkata, Maharashtra, Shillong-Guwahati, Delhi, Goa, Rest of India (Group A),
Rest of India (Group B) and
Rest of India (Group C).
Teams: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting, SAI Kolkata, Southern Samity, United Sports Club; DSK Shivajians, Mumbai FC, Kenkre Sports, PIFA Sports, FC Pune City; Shillong Lajong FC, SAI Guwahati, Royal Wahingdoh FC, Rangdajied United FC, Gauhati Town Club; Bhaichung Bhutia Football School, Sudeva FC, Delhi United FC, SAI Delhi, Hindustan FC; Neroca FC, Aizawl FC, Tata Football Academy, Pride Sports; Dempo SC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Salgaocar FC, AIFF Academy; Bengaluru FC, Ozone FA, Fateh Hyderabad AFC, Kahaani FC; Real Kashmir FC, Lonestar Kashmir FC, Minerva Academy FC, J&K Bank.