In a major boost for Goan football, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced that it could be Goa and not Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), as originally planned, who will host the latest edition of the Federation Cup. Remember, J&K last hosted the tournament in 1986.
Whilst stating that the state was best equipped to host the tournament, the FA also revealed that the date of the tournament had been brought forward from May 2015 to December 2014.
"We have asked Goa if they are willing to host the tournament in December 2014. Unfortunately, there is now a change in plan and the Federation Cup cannot be played in May (2015) since the Indian team has international assignments and many players consider May as off-season," explained an AIFF official, in the know of matters, to The Times of India.
This rescheduling will in-turn affect the start of the I-League, which is now set for kickoff in January 2015.
The Indian FA had indeed pondered with the idea of playing out the Federation Cup in the month of August 2014 itself, but with clubs such as Sporting Clube de Goa and Dempo SC having five players each at the national training camp for the upcoming 2014 Asian Games and subsequent international warm-up friendlies to follow, officials feared the severe backlash.
AIFF sources felt that the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda and Tilak Maidan in Vasco were match-fit venues while the Panchayat ground at Raia, Rosary ground in Navelim and Cuncolim ground, could all be used as training pitches on account of them being rejuvenated recently for the hosting of the Lusofonia Games.
With the Goan Football Association (GFA) getting the nod to host the Durand Cup, the oldest Cup competition in the Asian continent this October, it will no doubt be another significant boost to host the Federation Cup after a near decade long wait, since 2005.