Calcutta: After the seniors had swept everything last season, it’s time for the East Bengal juniors to match them.
The red-and-gold brigade starts off their under-19 National League campaign against Tollygunge Agragami while JCT lock horns with Indian Bank in the opening Group B fixtures Tuesday.
Defending champions East Bengal will then be pitted against Indian Bank on Thursday before wrapping up their group engagements against JCT Saturday.
Nine NFL teams are taking part in the meet, being held simultaneously in the city and Goa.
However, Mohun Bagan, along with HAL and ITI have not fielded teams for the tournament.
But the All India Football Federation secretary Alberto Colaco said the teams can pull-out of the meet by paying a “fine of one lakh rupees”.
The five teams in fray in Group A in Goa are Mahindra United, Salgaocar, Churchill Brothers, Vasco and Dempo.
The top two teams from each group will vie for top honours in Goa from May 31, the final being scheduled for June 2.
But apprehensions of teams fielding overage players puts a question mark on the credibility of the tournament.
“We have asked the clubs to ratify the birth certificates of players. If there is still complaint from some quarters, the match officials are empowered to take the final decision,” Colaco added.
Colaco further informed that efforts are on to persuade the state associations to start under-19 leagues which will give more exposure to the junior boys.