I-League set to return at historic Cooperage Stadium

The historic Cooperage Stadium, home to the Western India Football Association, the governing body of football in Maharashtra is set to host I-League matches from February 17th, 2020.

Ever since 2017, this is the first time that an I-League game will be conducted in Mumbai. Defunct Mumbai FC was the last team to play an I-League game against East Bengal where Mumbai went down by 4 goals.

AIFF Developmental side Indian Arrows have chosen the Stadium close to the iconic Gateway of India for their remaining fixtures. Ironically, they will play against Kolkata giants East Bengal in the opening fixture.

Commenting on the news, Mr Souter Vaz, Hon. General Secretary of WIFA and Executive Committee Member of the I-League said that he expects significant footfall during the matchdays. “I’m elated to share the news that the Indian Arrows will be playing at Cooperage. Hosting I-League matches is a matter of pride and I expect huge footfall on the matchdays” quoted Mr Vaz.

Former Indian team goalkeeper and the CEO of WIFA Mr Henry Menezes lauded the Cooperage as a special place for Indian football. “Back in the time, Maharashtra used to have several I-League 1st & 2nd Division teams. Teams like Mahindra United, Air India, Bharat FC, Pune FC, BMFC, Kenkre, PIFA, Dodsal Mumbai Tigers, DSK used to take part in the league” said Mr Menezes.

The Cooperage was the home ground for Mahindra United for decades. Mahindra was crowned champions of the National Football League for the first time in club’s history during 2005–06 season with two games to spare. They followed it up by beating their arch-rivals Air India for the first time in the season. They have also won the Federation Cup twice in 2003 and 2005. The coveted victory in 2005 made Mahindra the first club in history of Indian football to win both Federation Cup and National Football League in the same season.

Its feels really good to hear that I-league is coming back to Mumbai in Cooperage Stadium. Lot of early days memory will get refreshed. A new experience and motivation for all the upcoming players. Hope the promotion of the match and the timing would be appropriate so that lots of people can come and witness the match and feel the atmosphere.

– Hekmat Singh, Former Mahindra United and current Mumbai Custom defender

Mr Menezes explained why Mahindra United failed to play their home games at Cooperage during the AFC Cup. “When the AFC Club Licensing Criteria was enforced on to clubs and venues, Cooperage did not fulfil the AFC licensing criteria for venues and had to take a break to rebuild a refurbished Cooperage. I remember Mahindra had to play off from Goa & Delhi when they qualified for the AFC Cup in 2007”

Linekar Machado, an astute performer for the Income Tax team, which plays in the MDFA Elite Division says that he loved to see Mahindra United play at Cooperage. Similarly, Steven Dias, Asst Coach Jamshedpur FC and a former Indian Footballer claimed Mahindra United’s title-winning campaign back in 2006 to be one of his best memories.

The most memorable game at cooperage was between Air India and FC Kochin which Air India won 1-0. FC Kochin had star Players like IM Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri, Raman Vijayan & Satyan and were the favorites.

– Linekar Machado, Player Income Tax

Steven also talked about his time as a professional footballer while he was playing for Mumbai FC. “I concluded my professional playing career at Mumbai FC. So many lovely memories, I don’t know where to start from. I can never forget the Mumbai FC fan club, ‘Yellow Brigade’. The way they used to come in large numbers at the Cooperage Stadium and support us till the last whistle of the game was commendable. I’ve never seen fans like them anywhere in my entire football career. So yes, I miss my football as a player because of the love showered upon me by the fans”

Yellow Brigade – the Mumbai FC fan club had managed to create some exceptionally memorable nights at Cooperage

The Cooperage has had a rich history of being home to some of the substantial fixtures of Indian football in the past. Hence, do not forget to mark your calendars as Mumbai gears up to host the Hero I-League after three long years.

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

We would love to hear your Feedback on your Football Counter experience

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football.

Show off your Indian and European football knowledge with the football fantasy game from Playerzpot. Download the App with our special Footballcounter referral code, start playing and win cash daily.

Download app here: Link or click on the image below

IKF to dispense free international football exposure for children in India

India Khelo Football (IKF) is a non-profit platform aimed at providing kids from India a fair chance to pursue their dream of playing football internationally. IKF shares its vision to…


IDBI Bank to hold trials for a central defender

After successfully conducting their first round of trials on 21st November, MDFA Super Division outfit are now looking to conduct another trial in search of Central Defenders. With football resuming,…


Chedda Nagar FC set to conduct trials for MDFA Super Division

Chedda Nagar Football Fanatics will be conducting trials to reform their MDFA Super Division squad. Being established in 2011, Chedda Nagar is a renowned name in Mumbai football. The team…


IDBI Bank to host trials for MDFA Super Division

With football resuming, IDBI Bank will be conducting trials for the upcoming MDFA Season. The team will participate in the Super Division and will be seen conducting their first round…


Madanpura FA, Sara FA to host trials for the upcoming MDFA season

Sara Football Academy and Madanpura FA to host trials for MDFA Super division & 2nd division and 3rd division respectively on the 19th and 21st of November simultaneously. Sara FA…


FC Hydra to hold trials for women footballers in Bengaluru

FC Hydra will be holding trials for women footballers for the upcoming BDFA A division Women’s league. The club is based out of Bengaluru. FC Hydra will be holding trials…


NLWS FC to hold trials for MDFA 3rd division

NLWS FC is club based in Dadar who have registered themselves in the MDFA 3rd division for the 2020-21 season. The club will be holding trials for the same. Mauli…


The Oranje FC to host trials for MDFA Elite Division

The Oranje FC will be hosting trials for the upcoming MDFA 2020-21 season this November. The club will be participating in the MDFA Elite division this season. Established in 2017,…


Sporting Options FC to hold trials for MDFA 2nd Division

Sporting Options Football Club will be hosting trials for the upcoming 2020-21 football season. The team is currently playing in the MDFA 2nd division. Sporting Options FC was established in…


MDFA 1st Division side Madanpura Sports Club soon to host trials

With football gradually returning, Mumbai based Madanpura Sports Club are slated to conduct trials for the upcoming season. Madanpura Sports Club is the Junior team of Bombay Muslims SC, who…