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NFL gets title sponsors

New Delhi: A spokesperson of Strata Sports, the marketing agent of All India Football Federation, confirmed on Wednesday that public sector undertaking Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) will be the title-sponsors of the seventh edition of National Football League (NFL) commencing in Margao on Friday.

ONGC also confirmed their acceptance as title-sponsors. They are the fourth sponsors of the NFL, starting with Philips in 1997 and 1998, Coca Cola in 1999 and 2000 and Tatas in the 2001-02. There was no title sponsor for the fifth NFL. Strata Sports confirmed that Tatas are the likely sponsors for the next Federation Cup slated for April next year.

The vice-president of India, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat will be the chief guest in the inaugural match — a Goan derby between last year’s runners-up Churchill Brothers and former champions Salgaocar FC.

Both teams have clashed twice this season, in the Goa Professional League. Their first leg tie ended goalless and in the return leg Salgaocar triumphed 1-0, with a goal by Liberian international Sunday Seah. Salgaocar have won the eight- team Goa league title with 37 points from 14 matches.

The match will kick-off at 3.45 p.m. with a deferred live telecast on DD Sports. The NFL match between Vasco SC, third in the 6th NFL and promoted Dempo SC will be telecast live on DD Sport on Saturday, from 3.45 p.m. onwards.

In a bid to promote the NFL, Strata Sports are trying to introduce a weekly TV show called Football India. The 30-minute programme, to be shown either on DD Sports or Ten Sports, will focus on highlights of the matches that have taken place and interviews with star players and coaches. Strata itself is likely to produce the programme, expected to start next week.

Meanwhile, India’s memorable triumph in the LG Cup in Vietnam in August this season can be viewed on Ten Sports on Friday at 8.00 p.m.

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