Seven times defending champions East Bengal will lock horns with arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in a potential Calcutta Football League (CFL) title decider on 24th September in Siliguri, the Indian Football Association confirmed on Friday.
With the Salt Lake Stadium going through the final phase of decoration ahead of the U-17 World Cup, the governing body didn't have many venues to choose from given the obvious caveat that none of the teams would want to play the tie at the opponent's den, where their matches against the local minnows are played.
Kalyani Stadium, which has played host to a number of I-League matches in the recent past, had the facilities to hold the match, but with a capacity of only 10,000, it lost its bid to Kanchenjunga Stadium, which has a capacity of close to 25,000 and had hosted the last two I-League Kolkata derbies.
A letter sent to the Siliguri Sub-division Sports Council by IFA secretary Utpal Ganguly stated that the finer details about timing, ticket allocation etc will be finalized when the two sides meet on 7th September.
It will be interesting to see whether it turns out to be a full-house given the two clubs will be playing 550 kilometers away from Kolkata and the flood-ravaged North Bengal may turn its face away from the derby a couple of days before the start of Durga Puja - the biggest festival in this part of the world.
While the marquee clash can turn out to be a decider, the two I-League clubs will have to face a lesser hurdle in the next fortnight, when they face Mohammedan Sporting. The Black and Whites, after a slow start, have gathered pace mainly due to the prolific attacking pair of Jiten Murmu - an East Bengal reject - and Dipanda Dicka, the highest scorer of last I-League.
The premier contest of Kolkata football will be ending this month, with Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan desperate to end East Bengal's monopoly over the oldest league of the nation.