Shillong, Jul 4: The Shillong Sports Association’s Fourth Division will begin on 10th July, with a record 29 clubs scheduled to take part.
There were only 15 teams that took part in 2021-22 and this year sees the return of several clubs that had dropped out of the SSA’s football structure; according to the association’s rules, if a club doesn’t participate in a particular season, they have to rejoin at the bottom of the pyramid, ie the Fourth Division.
Some of the clubs making a return are Laitumkhrah and Riatsamthiah, both of whom last featured in the 2019 Second Division.
The Fourth Division is played with U-20 players, though this rule was waived in 2021-22 due to prevalent age restrictions on Covid-19 vaccinations at the time. Prize money will remain the same – the champions will receive a mere Rs 30,000 and the runners-up Rs 15,000. Tynring were the champions last season, having beaten Pay For Right Football Academy on penalties in the final.
The matches this year will take place at Third Ground, Polo, moving up from the usual venue of Second Ground. Each match will be played over 35 minutes per half. The 29 teams have been divided across four groups of seven, with Group A having an extra team.
With so many participating clubs, there will be 91 group games in all. Then will follow the quarterfinals, semifinals and final.
Only the first 32 fixtures were shared by the SSA today and they are subject to change.
Group A – Diliengiem YSCWA, Lumpyngngad SC, Iatyllilang SC, Madan S&CC, Mawlynrei SC, Laitlulong SC, Umrynjah S&CC, Lamlynti SC (Sohiong)
Group B – Madanrting SC, Kharang SC, Laitumkhrah SC, Mawkasiang SS&CC, Nongkolew SC, Mawphlang SC, Mawreng SC
Group C – Mawpdang SC, Lummawbah SC, Pynthorbah SC, Mawklot SC, Lamlynti FC (Laitlyngkot), Riatsamthiah SC, Umsohsun SC
Group D – Mawnianglah Youth SC, Mawkriah West SC, Risa Colony SC, Pommura SC, Laitkroh SC, Mawlyngngad SC, Diengpasoh SC
(TSR file photo)