Kolkata: The fifth edition of the I-League football tournament kicks off from Saturday with title aspirants East Bengal taking on former champions Churchill Brothers in the inaugural match at the floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan here.

The match will be played after the official inaugural function to be attended by the top bosses of the All India Football Federation and will be telecast live by Ten Action Plus.

Fresh from their Super Cup triumph, East Bengal, one of the four teams based in Bengal, will look to begin the tournament with a win as they are aiming to lift the crown this time after finishing runners-up in the last edition.

The other three Bengal-based sides are Mohun Bagan, Prayag United SC and Pailan Indian Arrows.

A balanced East Bengal under coach Trevor James Morgan missed the title to Salgaocar last year but among the four Bengal-based teams, the red and gold brigade appear heavyweights to lay their hands on the crown that was last won by them eight years ago in the form of then National Football League.

Morgan''s boys will be desperate to add the trophy that has been missing in their cabinet, even as consistency and maintaining a momentum right through the marathon league will be the key to success.

The championship crown has been rooted to Goa so far after the NFL was re-christened I-League in 2007-08 with Dempo winning twice in the inaugural edition and in 2009-10.

Churchill Brothers have won the second edition.

Besides the Goa versus Kolkata rivalry, this year''s I-League will be given some competitive edge with dark horse Pune FC, promoted north-east outfit Shillong Lajong FC and a revived Chirag United Kerala set to dish out some fireworks.

(Agencies)