Shillong, Aug 30: Ryntih’s bid to be one of the 10 clubs to take part in this year’s I-League Qualifiers has been accepted by the All India Football Federation, it was announced today.
There were 29 teams that had been nominated by state associations to take part in the qualifiers and, after scrutiny, Ryntih and nine others have been given the go-ahead by the governing body.
Ryntih are the only team from the North East in the list and they will be aiming to become the fourth club from Meghalaya – after Shillong Lajong, Rangdajied United and Royal Wahingdoh – to take part in the I-League.
The other nine participating sides are Hyderya Sports FC (Jammu & Kashmir), Corbett FC (Uttarakhand), Delhi FC (Delhi), Madan Maharaj FC (Madhya Pradesh), Rajasthan United FC (Rajasthan), Kerala United FC (Kerala), ARA FC (Gujarat), Kenkre FC (Maharashtra) and FC Bengaluru United (Karnataka).
The chosen clubs have all gone through the process of nomination by their respective state associations and have successfully submitted the required documents for the league and club licensing on time, the AIFF said on its website today.
The qualifiers will take place in Bangalore from October. All 10 teams will be placed in a bio-bubble for the competition.
The 10 participating clubs will be split into two groups of five teams each. The group stage will be conducted in a round-robin format, with every team playing their rival clubs within their respective group once.
The top two teams from each group will then proceed to the final round, which will be played in another round-robin format with each of the four teams playing against each other once. The team that finishes at the top of the pile in the final round will earn promotion to I-League 2021-22.
Many states rushed to hold leagues this summer but Meghalaya was not one of them – football activities are still prohibited on account of high Covid-19 numbers in the state. Ryntih were third in 2019’s Shillong Premier League and have arguably been the most active club in the state since the pandemic struck last year, with the other big sides seemingly disappearing off the radar.
Ryntih have been in training all this month. All of their players and officials have also been vaccinated against Covid-19. This is key as the AIFF had made it mandatory that all players taking part in AIFF competitions will have to take the Covid-19 vaccine prior to taking the field (except those below 18 years of age or who are recovering from the coronavirus and are thus not eligible to get the vaccine).