Leicester City became Premier League champion last season defying the odds of 5000/1, and it became a buzzword. Now, every unheard team who chases the glory got related to the Foxes, and this time it’s our very own Aizawl FC who did it in style. Mizoram based club Aizawl FC became the first club from North East to clinch Indian’s top domestic title as they won Hero I-League 2017 Champion.
There were various candidates this season to do the Leicester, but it’s Aizawl who managed to do it in the end. Atalanta FC from Serie A, RB Leipzig from Bundesliga, and OGC Nice in Ligue 1 were the prime candidate, but it’s Khalid Zamil’s boys who managed to do it in the end.
— Aizawl Football Club (@AizawlFC) April 30, 2017
They needed a point from their last match played against Shillong Lajong, and they managed to do so playing 1-1 draw. They end their rat race with the Kolkata’s duo Mohun Bagan & East Bengal. Mohun Bagan, the Kolkata giant had a rare chance to clinch the title even if Aizawl have had lost their match against Shillong. But ending the doubt, Aizawl kept the title challenge in their own hand and ends Bagan hope despite they won their last match 2-1.
It was a dramatic journey for the Aizawl in India’s top-flight football. It’s only their second season in the Hero I-league, and they are India’s champion. They played first in 2016 season, but they were relegated despite not finishing at the bottom of the table. AIFF’s rule to not to relegate corporate backed team allowed DSK Shivajians to compete in 2017 I-League season, but Aizawl also handed the opportunity after Goa based clubs Sporting de Goa, Dempo SC, and Salgaocar withdrew from the competition against the proposed roadmap of AIFF to restructure Indian football.
Aizawl grabbed their opportunity from both hands, and made the most of their backdoor entry. They don’t fulfill the club licensing criteria, but AIFF allowed an exception and that exception did something exceptional.
Indian coach Khalid Zamil’s led the club from the sideline and guides them to clinching their maiden I-league trophy. Where two back to back title winner Bengaluru FC suffered and managed only to finish in top four, the unheard Mizoram based club Aizawl FC became India’s very own Leicester.