Indian Football

I-League second division to kick off in January, seven ISL sides to field reserve teams

Lansning FC, TRAU FC, Real Kashmir FC and Delhi United are among the teams expected to fight it out for the second division title.

The first round of the I-League second division will kick off in January, if sources within the All India Football Federation are to be believed.

Twenty teams will participate in an expanded second division, with the teams likely to be split into either four or five regional zonal groups for the ease of conducting matches. The winners of these zones will then compete against each other in the final round.

The league committee is still pondering the best way of conducting the final round, as they say a home-and-away format may mean additional expenditure for the teams, and may be replaced by a centralised round-robin league, hosted at a single location.

The reserve sides of seven Indian Super League sides will participate in the second division, alongside 13 other clubs from across the country. The 13 clubs have all been nominated previously by their respective state association, with the AIFF yet to decide on their participation on the basis of their finances.

The additional caveat for their inclusion is that the team nominated by the SA must have finished in the top half of their respective state league in the previous season in order to be eligible to be nominated. The most high-profile casualty for this rule was Mumbai-based Kenkre FC, who could only finish ninth in the 12-team MDFA Elite League last season.

The AIFF had also laid down a rule that no more than two teams from the same SA would be accepted into the second division. As a result of this, the third teams from Kashmir and Delhi were not accepted, as two from each SA had already been accepted into the fold.

It has been reliably learnt that the reserve sides of Mumbai City FC, NorthEast United FC and ATK will not be taking part in the I-League division two. Alongside the ISL reserve sides, some teams have already been notified of their likely inclusion in the division.

In the last seven years, six editions have been won by teams from the Northeast - Shillong Lajong (2011), United Sikkim (2012), Rangjadied United (2013), Royal Wahingdoh (2014), Aizawl (2015) and Neroca (2017).

From the Northeast, Shillong-based Lansning FC will make a return to the second division after a hiatus of four years. At the helm will be former Lajong head coach and Meghalaya’s first Pro License holder Herring Shampliang, who took over at the start of the 2017 SPL season. Lansning finished fourth in last season’s SPL.

Imphal-based Neroca won the second division last time and from the home of the defending champions, Tiddim Road Athletic Union, also known as TRAU FC, will stake a claim for a spot in the first division. TRAU finished runners-up behind Neroca in the previous Manipur Super League and are three-times champions of the MSL in its 11 editions so far.

Bhopal-based Madhya Bharat SC will also be a part, coached by Jose Hevia. The two teams from Delhi competing in division two will be Hindustan FC and Delhi United. The two Kashmiri teams from previous season, Real Kashmir FC and Lonestar Kashmir, return to have another go at promotion.

Ozone FC, having recently appointed Stanley Rozario as head coach, have been reinstated in the second division, after initially having been dropped from the list of teams. Expected to join them from the south are Fateh Hyderabad and Viva Chennai, although it remains to be seen whether the latter will play from their home base.

The exuberant costs of playing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai had forced I-League side Chennai City FC to shift to Coimbatore and Viva Chennai may do the same. From Kolkata, Mohammedan Sporting are expected to try to return to the first division.

Division two runners-up last time, Southern Samity may not return this year, due to financial irregularities, owing to non-payment of player dues for last season and this Calcutta Football League season.

The list of teams is still tentative and the official announcement is expected sometime later this month. The clubs are also expected to fulfill the licensing criteria for second-tier teams.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.


During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.