Aizawl: The eighth season of Mizoram Premier League (MPL), Mizoram’s top flight football league, was kicked off on Thursday evening.
India’s international footballer Jeje Lalpekhlua kicked off the new season of sensational football league in an entertaining opening segment at Lammual or Assam Rifles ground in Aizawl.
The Blue Tigers sniper is the second Indian international to kickoff the state’s top flight football league after Indian football torchbearer Bhaichung Bhutia in the inaugural Mizoram Premier League Season 1 in 2012.
Another Indian international, cultured Mizo fullback Robert Lalthlamuana, led the oath-taking ceremony for the players from each MPL club.
An entertaining opening ceremony featured performances from top artistes in the state, drills from the successful AIFF-MFA grassroots programme as well as club parade and jersey unveiling by top models in the state.
The league will be contested by eight teams — defending champions and three-time winners Aizawl FC, two-time champions Chanmari FC, 2017 winners Chhinga Veng FC, Mizoram Police, Electric Veng FC, Ramhlun North FC, FC Venghnuai and Chawnpui FC.
Each team will face each other twice in the league with the top four earning a spot in the semi-finals. The last four will be a two-legged tie while the final will be a one-off battle.
This time the MPL is set to make a new ground in the Indian footballing scene as select matches of the league will be streamed live on SonyLIV.
MPL honorary secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar alias Tetea Hmar, a man who revolutionised football in Mizoram said Sony Pictures Networks will stream selected matches on its OTT platform SonyLIV while broadcasting partner local cable TV ‘Zonet’ will give live telecast on all matches.
Hmar said that the first and milestone endeavour to make MPL matches available to a broader audience through Internet streaming. Now, football lovers from across the globe can easily catch live important matches of MPL on their hand-held devices through SonyLIV, he said.
MPL is the first state league to be televised on a national television platform.
Began in 2012, the MPL has previously served as a platform for a number of Mizo footballers currently plying their trade in the top leagues in Indian football.
The new season is expected to be the most popular state league in the country.
In the opening match on Thursday night, I-Day football tournament champion Electric Veng FC took on its I-Day tournament final contender FC Venghnuai. The match ended in a draw.