I-League 2016: A look at all nine teams as Gameweek 1 kicks off
DSK Shivajians and Aizwal FC are the two new sides this season.
New Delhi: The country's premier football competition, I-League kicks off on Saturday amidst a lot of challenges, issues and an uncertain future.
With only nine teams participating this season coupled with several players who haven't got a contract after various clubs pulling out, the AIFF faces a stern challenge to restore some positivity in the competition.
Last season 11 teams had participated with Dempo SC being relegated as the likes of Pune FC, Royal Wahingdoh and and Bharat FC pulling out.
Days earlier the AIFF had confirmed that the I-League will likely be merged with the Indian Super League in the future. The I-League has been marred with several failures that have led to clubs deciding to pull out and players getting unemployed.
Lack of monetary funds, mismanagement, minimal fan base, sponsorship battle and licensing issues have hit the competition hard as it enters its ninth edition.
Here is a look at the nine teams in I-League 2016.
Mohun Bagan: The Kolkata giants are the defending champions. Coach: Sanjoy Sen. Star foreign players include likes of Sony Norde and Katsumi Yuse whereas notable Indian players include likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua and Lenny Rodriguez.
Bengaluru FC: The Ashley Westwood coached side were the runners-up last leason after winning the title in 2013-14. Star foreign players include likes of John Johnson and Joshua Walker, whereas notable Indian players include likes of Sunil Chhetri and Eugensen Lyngdoh.
East Bengal: The Red-Yellow brigade finished fourth last season. Coach: Biswajeet Bhattacharya. Star foreign players include likes of Ranty Martins and Do Dong-hyun whereas notable Indian players include likes of Arnab Mondal and Mehtab Hussain.
Mumbai FC: The western outfit finished sixth last term. Coach: Khalid Jamil. Star foreign players include likes of Reuki Kozawa and Minchol Son, whereas notable Indian players include likes of Izumi Arata and Sanjiban Ghosh.
Salgaocar FC: The Goan club finished seventh last season. Coach: Malcom Thomson. Star foreign players include likes of Darryl Duffy and Martin Scott, whereas notable Indian players include likes of Karanjit Singh and Jackie Chand Singh.
Sporting club de Goa: This Goan outfit finished eighth last season. Coach: Mateus Costa. Star foreign players include likes of Okolie Odafa and Densil Theobald, whereas notable Indian players includes Rowlin Borges.
Shillong Lajong FC: The club from north-east finished ninth last term. Coach: Thangboi Singto. Star foreign players include likes of Yusuke Yamagata and Pen Orgi, whereas notable Indian player includes Boithang Haokip.
Aizawl FC: The club is promoted from the 2nd division. Coach: Manuele Fraile. Star foreign players include likes of Yuta Kinowaki and Alfred Jayran, whereas notable Indian player includes David Lalrinmuana.
DSK Shivajians: Making a direct entry. Coach: Derrick Pereira. Star foreign players includes likes of Haroon Amiri, whereas notable Indian players include Lallianzuala Chhangte and Mohammed Rafi.