New Delhi, Feb 4: Inorder to regain the lost glory of Indian soccer in Asia, soccer authorities have wholly changed the structure of the foremost domestic tournaments in the country.
India were twice Asian Games champions in the 1950s and held their own in Asia until the amateur era ended and are currently ranked 144th in the world. The Indian federation have introduced zonal qualifiers allowing local clubs for this year's Federation Cup, giving them the opportunity to rub shoulders with top flight teams, taking a cue from the format of the English FA Cup.
Ten qualifiers from five zones will compete with 12 second division teams and four teams joining the 12 I-The professional I-League was launched last year to improve the standard of the national team and tap into growing sponsorship due to India's economic boom.
However, FIFA and Asian soccer officials have pushed to boost the game in India to add momentum to the game's growth in Asia.