I-League 2017: All you need to know about the 10 teams

Take a look at the ten teams participating in the 2017 edition of the I-League and what to expect from them.

The defending champion of the I-League, Aizawl FC made history last year when it became the first team from the north-east to win the title.
The team was founded in 1984, in the city of Aizawl, and had to wait until the 2015-16 season to participate in India's top division, by virtue of winning the I-League 2nd division.
The defending champion will enter the season's competition on a weaker footing with its core members being poached by ISL clubs and rival East Bengal, which also signed its manager Khalid Jamil.
Players to watch out for: Alfred Kemah Jaryan, Yugo Kobayashi, William Lalnunfela
Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
One of the two Kolkata giants, East Bengal has three National Football League titles, the predecessor to the I-League, to its name.
However, that is not the end of its trophy cabinet, as it has a record 38 Calcutta Football League titles, 28 IFA Shields, 16 Durand Cups, 10 Rover Cups, eight Federation Cups and three Indian Super Cups.
Players to watch out for: Willis Plaza, Laldanmawia Ralte, Brandon Vanlalremdika
Photo: Twitter/ East Bengal FC
Another North-East club in the division, Lajong will be playing in its seventh consecutive I-League campaign this season.
Having a strong fan base in the North-East, the club recently announced the introduction of season tickets for the upcoming season.
Players to watch out for: Abdoulaye Koffi, Alen Deory
Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
This time last year, I-League football returned to the city of Chennai after Chennai City FC made its bow.
Originally formed as Nethaji Sports Club in 1946, the side competed in local tournaments across Tamil Nadu. It made its foray into the national stage after the AIFF awarded it direct entry into the I-League last season.
Players to watch out for: Michael Soosairaj, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul
Photo: R. Ragu
Mohun Bagan is the other Kolkata giant and the oldest running football club in India. Its only I-League championship win came on the final day of the 2014-15 season. The club’s fan base, known as the Mariners, is the largest in the country.
Its accolades include a record 14 Federation Cup wins, 22 IFA Shields, 16 Durand Cups and 29 Calcutta Football League titles. It also has three National Football League title.
Players to watch out for: Aser Pierrick Dipanda, Chesterpaul Lyngdoh, Sony Norde
Photo: PTI
Kerala Blasters Gokulam Kerala FC
Kerala will have a team in the I-League for the first time after Chirag United’s relegation in the 2011-12 season.
After Bengaluru FC joined the ISL, AIFF invited bids for new teams to join the league before awarding the entry to Gokulam Kerala in September. The club will be based out of Kozhikode and former footballer Bino George will be the coach.
Players to watch out for: Kamo Stephane Bayi
Photo: Special Arrangement
Based in Margao, Goa, Churchill Brothers is one of the founding clubs of the I-League. The Goan side has two I-League titles to its name and finished second on two occasions, while it has also finished as the runner-up in the National Football League. Former Ukrainian defender Mykola Shevchenko, who has played for Churchill and Dempo SC, will be the head coach.
Player to watch out for: Bektur Talgat Uulu
Photo: H. Vibhu
The Punjab-based side was the only Indian club to produce players for the recently concluded FIFA U-17 World Cup for the national team. Established in 2005, the club made the jump up to the first division in the 2016-17 season via a direct entry. It finished ninth in the league with only two wins to its name. The side will plays its home matches at the Guru Nanak stadium, which previously hosted the JCT FC of the I-League.
Players to watch out for: Chencho Gyeltshen
Photo: Special Arrangement
NEROCA had a memorable campaign last year when it won the I-League 2nd division to earn a promotion and finished runner-up in the Durand Cup.
In the process, it became the first club from Manipur to represent the I-league and the third North-East club in the top division for the 2017-18 season.
Players to watch out for: Odili Felix Chidi, Singam Subash Singh
Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
Started as an AIFF initiative in 2010 to nurture young Indian players, Pailan Arrows, as it was called earlier, hit a roadblock when it was disbanded three years down the line.
The project was revived as the Indian Arrows after the success of hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The developmental team will be made up of most of the India U-17 World Cup boys and other promising U-19 players and will be coached by the U-17 national coach Luis Norton de Matos.
Players to watch out for: Jeakson Singh, Anwar Ali, Dheeraj Singh
Photo: PTI