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Indian Football Calendar for the year 2023

Check out the Indian Football Calendar for the year 2023. The calendar gives a lot of promise in setting up important competitions this year, especially for women’s football.

Last updated: 30.01.2023
Indian Football Calendar for the year 2023

After announcing the strategic roadmap for vision 2047 on 7th January 2023, AIFF released the calendar for the year in accordance with it. The calendar gives a lot of promise in setting up important competitions this year, especially for women’s football and the junior level but the key question of the execution of it remains. There have been some tournaments that are making a comeback while the schedules for the others are extended. We will break down each competition month-wise from February 2023.


February 2023

76th Santosh Trophy Final Round (Senior Men’s National Football Championship) 

Following the conclusion of the first round of the Santosh Trophy, the final round will be hosted in Odisha from February 10-20, 2023. The semi-finals, third-place playoff and the final of the tournament will be played in Saudi Arabia.


SAFF U-20 Women's Championship

In preparation for the AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers round 1 beginning in March, the U-20 women's team will participate in the SAFF U-20 Women's Championship. The competition will be played from February 3-9, 2023 in a round-robin format. India are the defending champions.     


I-League 2 Qualifiers

Four teams will fight it out in the Hero 2nd Division League 2022-23 Qualifiers in Kokrajhar, Assam from February 12 to 16, 2023. Teams include Corbett FC from Uttarakhand, Shillong Lajong FC from Meghalaya, United Chirang Duar FC from Assam and Downtown Heroes FC from Jammu and Kashmir. The top two teams of the round-robin meet will qualify for the group stage. The two qualified teams will join the 17 other teams, who have been seeded directly. The 19 teams will be divided into four groups and play on home and away format which will start in March 2023.


March 2023

AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers round 1

The focus will fall on India’s U-20 Women’s team at the start of March as they aim to qualify from Round 1 of the AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers for the 2024 tournament. The Blue Tigress are paired in Group F with Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. The first round of the qualifiers will be played from 6 to 12 March 2023. Only the group winners will advance to the final round. 


SAFF U17 Women’s Championship

The U-17 Women’s team will also get involved this month with the 2023 SAFF U-17 Women’s Championship hosted by Bangladesh. The fifth edition of the tournament will take place from 10th March to 20th March 2023. India have twice lifted the trophy also for back-to-back years in 2018 and 2019. The competition will serve as a preparation for round one of the AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers in April.


ISL Playoffs and I-league conclusion

Six teams will compete for the playoffs in a new format for the 2022/23 ISL trophy after Shield Winners are declared in February at the end of the league phase. However, a direct slot for the AFC Champions League group stage will not be there. For the I-league, winners of the league will get promoted to ISL for the first time.   

Senior Women’s National Team friendlies

The Indian women's senior national football team will take an exposure tour to play friendlies against Jordan and Uzbekistan. These will be their preparatory games for the first round of the 2023 Olympic qualifiers, the revived Gold Cup competition at home and then for the Asian games hosted by China in September.


April 2023

Women's Olympic Asian Qualifiers Round 1

Unlike the previous years, women’s football at almost every age level of the national team will get a lot of game time in playing different competitions. The senior women’s national team will compete in the first round of the Women's Olympic Asian Qualifiers for the tournament held in Paris in 2024. India will battle against the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan to get into the next round scheduled in October. The first round of the tournament will be played from April 3 to 11. The games will be played in a centralized venue.


Hero Super Cup 2023

The Super Cup makes a return to Indian football after four years and the stakes will be higher this time. The winners of the competition will fight against 2021/22 I-league winners Gokulam Kerala FC to earn a direct group stage spot in the 2023-24 AFC Cup. The tournament will take place in Kerala with qualifiers starting from 3rd April to 6th April while the group stage will begin from April 8 to 19 2023.


Indian Women's League (IWL)

The 2023 IWL season will see 18 teams participating in an expanded format of the league. However, it remains a 45-day tournament like the previous editions. Women’s club football does not bloom in the first year of launching the roadmap. The winners may participate in the newly revamped AFC Women’s Champions League starting in 2024. The league will run from April 15 to May 31.


AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 1

After playing the SAFF U17 Women’s Championship in March, India U-17 Women’s team will play the hugely important AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 1 beginning on 22 April 2023 and running till 30 April 2023. India will face Myanmar and the Kyrgyz Republic in the tournament. The group winners will advance to the next round.

Additionally, the U-16 Men’s sub-junior National Football Championship will also take place in April.


May 2023


AFC U17 Men’s Asian Cup 2023

The most vital tournament of the year for the Indian U-17 boys will be the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 hosted by Thailand starting from 3rd May till the final on 20th May 2023. The U-17 Men’s team played two friendlies against Uzbekistan in Goa, winning and losing in one, after their narrow 1-0 defeat to UAE in Dubai all in January 2023. Next, the side will play friendlies against Qatar in February as part of the preparation. India qualified for the tournament finishing second behind Saudi Arabia in the qualifiers, beating the likes of Maldives, Jordan and Myanmar by an aggregate score of 12-1 and only losing to the Gulf nation by 2-1 in the last match.          


June 2023

AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 2

If the Indian U-20 women’s side manages to top their group in round 1, they will play the final round of the AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup Qualifiers played between 3 and 11 June 2023. In the second round, the two group winners and the two group runners-up qualify for the final tournament to join the four automatically qualified teams.


Intercontinental Cup

After failing to convince the WAFA (Western Asian Football Association) to participate in their competition in January, the Indian senior national men’s team will get the first piece of competitive action in the Intercontinental Cup. The tournament returns after four years and has been slated for June 8-18. By that time, the Blue Tigers would have played some friendlies in the FIFA International window in March.     


2023 SAFF Men’s Championship

The 14th edition of the SAFF Men’s Championship will also get underway in Bangladesh from 20th June to 3rd July 2023. The U-23 Indian men’s national team will participate in the competition this time as part of the preparation for the Asian Games in September. The groups of the tournament are yet to be decided.


July 2023   

Women’s Gold Cup

Indian senior women’s team will be able to play in the Gold Cup after the competition was last held in 2019. The format is not declared yet but it is likely to be a four-nation tournament like the previous editions. It is supposed to be held from July 14-22 2023.  


Youth tournaments

The month of July will see a host of age-group competitions being held as the new roadmap aims to provide plenty of football for the youth. Domestic football with international and invitational tournaments. The Men's U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 Youth Leagues' zonal phases will take place while the SAFF U-19 Boys Championship will get underway on 7th July running until 17th July 2023. The U-20 Women's COTIF tournament is next on the schedule for the Indian U-20 women’s team after their first round of AFC U-20 women's Asian Cup qualifiers in March.               


August 2023

More youth games

The U-17 Khelo India Girls League will kick off this month and will go on for five months along with the Men’s Youth Leagues. This year youth football will get exposure like never before and the trend is expected to continue.   


September 2023

Merdeka Cup

The historical Merdeka Cup will be revived this year and the Indian senior national Men’s team is set to compete in it denying initial rumors of non-participation. The tournament is organized to commemorate the Independence day of Malaysia with some top nations from Asia taking part in it. The participants, the format and the timings of the competition are yet to be decided. This will be the last set of International games the Blue Tigers will have before the group stages of the Asian Cup hosted by Qatar in early 2024.


SAFF U-16 Boys Championship

The U-16 boys are not left behind as they will get involved in the SAFF U-16 Boys Championship hosted by Bhutan. The competition will start early this month from 1st September to 11th September 2023. The group winners and runners-up will advance to the semi-finals of the championship. India are the defending champions.


AFC U-23 Men’s Asian Cup Qualifiers

The U-23 men’s team will have their big tournament in AFC U-23 Men’s Asian Cup qualifiers to try to qualify for the main tournament in 2024. A total of 16 teams will qualify to play in the final tournament, including Qatar who qualified automatically as the host country. The competition is staged from 4th September -12th September 2023. The groups will be declared soon.      


Asian Games 2023

The highlight competition of the month will be the Asian Games hosted by China where the U-23 national teams of both genders will take center stage. The Games will be a two-months affair beginning on September 23 and ending on October 8, 2023.   


October 2023

Men’s League football (ISL and I-league)

The month of October is the period for the start of two divisions of the Men’s League football and this year will be no different.


Women's Olympic Asian Qualifiers Round 2

Should the senior women’s national team get past the round one challenge in the Women's Olympic Asian qualifiers, they will move straight to round 2. The 12 teams, five teams who automatically entered this round and seven group winners from the first round, will be drawn into three groups of four teams and compete in a one-round league format in a centralized venue. The three group winners and the best-ranked runners-up in this round will then advance to the third round.

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