Defending champions Dempo Sports Club will take on Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the opening match of the 27th Federation Cup football championship at the Nehru Stadium in Margao on Wednesday.
The opening match will be followed by Kolkata giants East Bengal taking on Mumbai outfit Air India.
Dempo, who had a fruitful season last year winning the Federation Cup and the National Football League, are in upbeat mood after starting the season winning the Police Cup and are unbeaten so far in the Goan professional league.
Dempo's coach Armando Colaco is happy with the way his boys are playing and have proven their consistency by winning the Police Cup.
"There is no reason why we cannot do well once again in the Federation Cup this time," asserted Colaco.
With the signing of Nigerian Baba Tunde recently, Dempo look more sharp in the attack as they have Ranty Martins, who has taken them to national triumph and another Nigerian Bolaji Majek, who has manned the defence efficiently.
"I have told the boys to go and enjoy their game. After all there is no use worrying about the result of our opening match against HAL. We have got to win every match to lift the title and the plan would be to take each match as it comes provided we get past the first hurdle.
"I am confident that if the boys stay focused and do not get pressurised, things could work in our favour," Colaco said.
Dempo had suffered a blow in the last edition played at Bangalore when their Brazilian striker Cristiano Junior died after he collapsed on the ground.
HAL, who arrived on Monday, will be playing without any foreigners and are looking to give a tough time to their rivals.
HAL manager G Narasimha Moorthy said his boys have not played much football together except one domestic tournament and stood second behind KSEB in the Puttaiah Memorial Football event.
"Dempo is a great side and difficult to beat but we will do our best to give them a tough fight," Moorthy added.
East Bengal, who were the first team to arrive in Margao, had two practice sessions for the last two days and have taken things seriously. The loss against Mohun Bagan twice in the IFA league has not dampened their spirit as they were experimenting players in the different position.
Coach Subhash Bhowmick is confident that his team will do well in their opening match against Air India.
"The 11-day training camp in Shantiniketan has helped our boys to shape themselves mentally and physically," Bhowmick said.
The arrival of South African striker Sidney Nkwalanga has brightened things up for East Bengal. And with I M Vijayan, Mike Okoro and Alvito D'Cunha in form, the Kolkatans will look to fire upfront. Another South African striker Liswa Ndutyi, who arrived on Tuesday, will give more teeth to their upfront.
Air India, who gave good account of themselves by beating Mahindra United in the Mumbai league and Nadkarni Cup, will be looking to impress after they qualified for the NFL this season.
Air India coach Bimal Ghosh said that his team is a good side and the signing of two Nigerians, striker Basheer Mohammed Abass and defender Abiodun Kolawole Martins, will give more strength to the team.
"Martins is good in air and that will be our plus point. We have youngsters like Benoi Kuruvilla, Santosh Koli, Vinay Shetty and Javed Ansari who can give a hard time to the rivals," Ghosh added.
Meanwhile, Zee TV, which has bagged the television rights of Indian football for the next 10 years, are going to set the stadium alight with series of entertainment programmes during the 12-day tournament.
"There will be music and dance performances by bands during the half time and in between the two matches. Besides, drummers, face painters and jugglers will also be there to create a festive atmosphere," Himanshu Mody, president of Zee TV, told reporters.
In order to promote football and to attract more viewers, the channel has organised a road show, which has a mini float on the vehicle and a contest along the coastal belts of Goa.
12 cameras will be installed to deliver quality coverage, while John Helm and former England international Russell Osman, will be the commentators for the mega event.
The tournament will offer a total prize money of Rs 26 lakh with the winner taking home Rs 12 lakh and runners up team winning Rs 7 lakh. The third placed team will take home Rs 2 lakh while the team reaching the pre-quarterfinals stage will win Rs 30,000 and the team winning the quarter-finals will take a prize money of Rs 60,000. A prize money of Rs 50,000 will also be given to a team for fair play.
Besides man-of-the-match awards will also be given from the pre-quarterfinal stages.
Following is the fixture:
Oct 19: Dempo v/s HAL, East Bengal v/s Air India.
Oct 20: JCT v/s Mahindra United, Churchill v/s Tollygunge.
Oct 21: Sporting v/s State Bank of Travancore, Mohammedan Sporting v/s Fransa Pax.
Oct 22: Punjab Police v/s Salgaocar, Vasco v/s Mohan Bagan.
Oct 23: 1st QF -- match 1 winner v/s match 3 winner, 2nd QF -- match 2 winner v/s match 4 winner.
Oct 24: 3rd QF -- match 5 winner v/s match 6 winner.
Oct 25: 4th QF -- match 7 winner v/s match 8 winner.
Oct 26: 1st SF -- Q1 winner v/s Q2 winner.
Oct 27: 2nd SF -- Q3 winner v/s Q4 winner.
Oct 29: 3rd play-off.
Oct 30: Final.