ISL & I-League Lock Horns In Qualifiers: Was It A Random Draw Though?


Do you know what? Let’s get excited. The Indian Super Cup gives us chance to see who the ‘Kings of India’ really are as it’s the only tournament where everyone is involved. You’ll recall the other day that I said it will be one game a day and that the draw would take place on Friday (yesterday).

As the story goes, I was wrong on both counts. Historically, the AIFF are known for changing their minds on a whole host of things and this was no different as the draw ended up being done on Thursday and the four qualifiers are spread over two days. So, quite why there is a gap of two weeks between the qualifiers finishing and the actual tournament starting, I have no idea.

Book The Week Off

Let’s not worry about what we can’t change, instead, let’s focus on the draw itself. It seems a bit suspect that every game is ISL vs I-League, however, I for one am not going to complain as it was exactly what I wanted and I’m guessing, what the majority of people wanted as well. So, here’s the draw:

Delhi Dynamos vs Churchill Brothers (15/03 – 12:30 GMT) | NorthEast United vs Gokulam (15/03 – 14:30 GMT) | Mumbai City vs Indian Arrows (16/03 – 12:30 GMT) | ATK vs Chennai City (16/03 – 14:30 GMT)

Now, what you’re probably going to want to do is book the two days off work, in fact, scrap that, book the week off work because the whole week is jam-packed with football as we’ve got the second-leg of Chennaiyin vs Goa on Tuesday, then Bengaluru are in AFC Cup action on Wednesday, then it’s the Super Cup, then it’s the playoff final on Saturday! What a week!

Ok, now, let’s be honest. They haven’t really done a draw, have they? After all, there is no such thing as coincidence, only the illusion of coincidence (ten points if you can name the film) which is exactly what the AIFF have created here.

A ‘Random’ Draw You Say…

If we look at each of the ties in isolation, it will become clear. Delhi finished 8th in the ISL and they face Churchill Brothers who finished 9th in the I-League, nothing too untoward about that, is there? If you look further, you’ll see that ATK finished 9th and they play Chennai City who finished 8th in the I-League. So, both games are 8th versus 9th. You can probably put that down to chance.

What you can’t do is put this down to chance… NorthEast finished 10th and they play Gokulam who finished 7th which means, yes, you’ve guessed it, Mumbai finished 7th and Indian Arrows finished 10th. Effectively, it’s been drawn like a playoff system. Picture it as a top four as opposed to a bottom four. 1st vs 4th and 2nd vs 3rd is exactly how the ISL playoffs are being played and it’s also exactly how this is being done, as well.

There are no issues with it being like this, of course, nevertheless, one does wish that a bit of honesty was afforded to the supporters at times. Pre-draw I was thinking things like, oh, what about if Mumbai get Delhi as Mumbai will want revenge because Delhi eliminated them from the ISL playoff picture, but it was never meant to be. Again, to reiterate, which is fine, just have a bit of honesty.

I’m not going to go through the games in detail because we’ll have match previews for that, so what I’ll leave you with is my prediction for the draw of the knockout round…

Bengaluru vs Indian Arrows/Mumbai City | Minerva vs NorthEast/Gokulam | Neroca FC vs ATK/Chennai City | Chennaiyin FC vs Delhi Dynamos/Churchill Brothers | Mohun Bagan vs Kerala Blasters | East Bengal vs Jamshedpur FC | Aizawl FC vs Pune City | Shillong Lajong vs FC Goa

Essentially, that conclusion has been arrived at by using the ‘playoff method’, so if this draw is what ends up being the case, then, apologies folks, but a draw hasn’t been done. Again.

Until the next time.

About the Author

Jake Flock
Football and writing are my two biggest passions, so seems right to combine the pair, don't you think?