Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tiki-Taka with Stevie Grieve

Stevie Grieve, Coach Education, Baichung Bhutia Football Schools, Garhwal FC, Football, Delhi, Interview, Scotland, Coaching, 2nd Division I-league, Dhanbad, Gangtok

We recently caught up with Stevie Grieve – Head of Coach Education at Baichung Bhutia Football Schools and the Assistant Manager of Garhwal FC to talk about various topics ranging from his experience in India, the level of coaching and infrastructure in the country and the kind of talent he comes across in the country.

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You have been here in India for more than 6 months, apart from the football scene, what do you like about India and what do you find challenging?

I like the enthusiasm towards getting better, most of the time I will be working to develop the coach education programs for BB Football Schools. And in this short period of time there is a massive improvement. That for me is a really pleasing thing.

The cultural mentality is a bit challenging. You have an hierarchy system – ‘I am better than you because I have this job and I am better than you because of that’ and so on. The challenge then is to get people to think differently.

Before the stint in India you have coached in Switzerland, and USA, how easy was it for you to choose India as your next destination?

Anurag, who is the boss, one of the bosses in fact, emailed me about my books and at the same time, we were talking about the possibility of working  in India. I was talking to couple more of people as well. I could have gone to Japan and other countries but I liked Anurag’s vision, what he wanted to achieve over the short term and long term, and I was enthused with what he wanted me to do. I trusted them, their idea for the future, and I am excited to be a part of it.

Now, coming to football…How is your assignment with Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools panning out? What are the main areas you look in to as a chief coach in BB Schools?

Most of my time is spent developing the coaches. For example, we have field trainings Stevie Grieve, Coach Education, Baichung Bhutia Football Schools, Garhwal FC, Football, Delhi, Interview, Scotland, Coaching, 2nd Division I-league, Dhanbad, Gangtok everyday across multiple locations in Delhi, my job would be to go and monitor the sessions, ask questions to the coaches, look at the session plans and provide feedback on things that could appear in the session or make slight alterations to the practices, check how the trainings are organized, talk to them about how to make it more challenging or easy etc.

I try to get the coach as much help and information and work with them in separate training sessions. I took a session today on footwork and combination which developed into a counter attacking session, which was quite good.

Most of my time is spent mentoring the coaches but I do coach certain teams as the assistant coach, and on the game day I help the team coach with tactics etc as I am the BBFS Head Coach, so I am pretty much an auxiliary assistant coach at sessions & matches, there to provide some guidance and help the lead coach perform their work better.

I have also made a 3 stage coach education program to work in ‘The BBFS Way’ which we have just started our 1st level 1 course with 24 coaches, which has been received brilliantly.

How was the experience of taking Garhwal FC to the 2nd Div league? How do you assess your team’s performance in the 2nd div league?

I think the 2nd div league could be a lot better organized.  They could have done it on a football pitch than on a cricket pitch! Organizational wise, I don’t think Dhanbad was a suitable venue for a football tournament, especially with the high pollution and lack of quality training venues. Gangtok may be fine as it’s a football area but im not sure Dhanbad is.

From a coaching point of view, Garhwal’s performance was fantastic. We were written off by the leading sources in Indian Football initially, probably quite fairly, to be honest. We have not achieved anything so far with Garhwal FC in professional football, it was last season we won the Delhi Senior League and this season we were 30 seconds from winning the league again, but have no history in National Level Pro Football.

The media predictions were used as a source of motivation and performance wise we were excellent in the 3 games we won. In the games we lost, the Wahingdoh match was a shocker and the conditions for the Kalighat game was very bad, especially for a team who play possession football – The field was almost a swamp! In the other matches, we did put on a good show with our exciting style of play and emerged 3rd best in that group which was deserved.

Everybody is quite happy and across the country we deserve some appreciation because not every year does a new club join a league and have the relative success that we had with a 60% wins ratio, with an average of 2 goals a game.

Infrastructure is an area that gets talked about a lot when we talk about football in India. What is your opinion about what you have seen so far in India?

In terms of developing sporting infrastructure, India is a nation where temperatures soar really high, if you see Europe there are indoor facilities that help beating the cold. India could focus on creating more indoor venues, where other version of the game like Futsal could also be played.  We also need to invest on 4g astro-turfs as its better for players to play on flat fields than on bumpy grounds.

If that is not possible, we need to have good education for groundsmen. For example, BBFS hire fields for our BBFS sessions, when you arrive there you see a groundsman standing with a hose, full flow on the same patch for hours, before its about to be used! So the field gets damaged because of that so we need to educate people who can create or maintain grass facilities.

Are Astro turfs good for players?

Stevie Grieve, Coach Education, Baichung Bhutia Football Schools, Garhwal FC, Football, Delhi, Interview, Scotland, Coaching, 2nd Division I-league, Dhanbad, Gangtok I think we need to have more astro turfs. It is hard to grow grass, in some parts of the country. I have only been to Jharkhand, Delhi and Chandigarh, so I really can’t comment about the whole country. In a country where it is difficult to maintain facilities, including educating grounds-keepers and also considering the weather, laying 3 or 4 G astro-turfs is a more feasible possibility as they are easy to maintain and would last longer.  You get better quality out of that surface unlike a bouncy, wobbly natural surface. You can coach as much of technique on an astro turf, it is much easier.  I think in long term to develop technique and an attractive playing style, we need to have good astro-turfs.

Do you follow I-league? If so, what is your opinion on the standards of I-league? What could be the areas the league could look to improve?

Yes, I do follow some matches. But I cannot claim that I pay full attention to the league. I know that the Scottish player Darryl Duffy has done quite well in the league.  The matches I have seen, I would say probably not much of tactics are involved. The matches are direct,  straight and is pretty easy to predict what is going on, mainly due to the technical level of the players. In the matches that I have watched, I haven’t seen a coach shifting from a 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1, to get the team attack from the middle, to attack specific areas via making diagonal attacks from center and so on.

At Garwhal FC, we worked on attacking/defending specific areas in the 2nd div league and that got us 3 wins. It doesn’t look like it happens in the I-league and it baffles me when I watch the games, the lack of tactical awareness in the matches. Im not trying to be disrespectful to anyone, but the results of seeing the games leads me to this opinion.

I also think there is not many young Indian players playing. I haven’t noticed many. I think there is an over emphasis on big, strong powerful players and that means you have a lot Africans, particularly from Nigeria. Watched Odafa the other day, I believe he is the highest paid in India but he was not of the standard of a good British semi-professional footballer on that day.

So I take from the games I have watched of him, that we are wasting a lot of money on players who are not possibly so good for the money you pay them – you wouldn’t pay a shop assistant 3 lakh per month! So the money needs to be spent better on the players who provide quality.

We need to start identifying better players and also implement a coaching philosophy and stick to it. For the money the clubs spend today, on some players, you could get 3 good players from Spain. It is also not that all the players are bad, but an infusion of little bit of tactical nous could improve the league for better, and unearth some of the talent that exists in India.

India is slated to host the 2017 U-17 WC. As a coach who is involved in grassroots football, what do you make out of Indian Youngsters and where do they need to improve?

The first aspect that we need to look at, is to improve the level of technique. To do that, we need to improve coaches who can teach technique. That is what we do at BBFS and Garwhal FC. But despite the lack of proper coaching, there are good players in the country. I see so many special talents in this country. For example, Garwhal FC played Minlun Tunglung, who is just 16,in the 2nd div league. He was the best player on the pitch in the last game. So, there will be special talents across the nation, the difficult part is to find them and nurture them by providing good coaching facilities. With better coach education and talent identification (if the correct age) there is a good possibility that India will make a rapid rise in the FIFA Rankings in 10 years.

What opinion do you have about the levels of coaching in the country? How integral is it to provide good education to coaches for the development of football?

Massive! Massive!

Take Japan for example. Twenty years ago, they would have been around 150 in the FIFA rankings (where India are now). They invested massively in grassroots coach education,which then developed into professional youth coach education and so on. This greatly helped the J-League and Japan’s football.

Stevie Grieve, Coach Education, Baichung Bhutia Football Schools, Garhwal FC, Football, Delhi, Interview, Scotland, Coaching, 2nd Division I-league, Dhanbad, Gangtok If India could devise a coach education pathway of its own, apart from the AFC A, B, C licenses that are the current norm, it would bring about massive changes. For a country of India’s size, it should have a National coaching pathway which is tailored to Indian conditions. I believe, this can bring about drastic changes in coaching quality which improves the talent output.

You have also authored quite a few books. A book on Sergio Busquets, another one on 4-2-3-1 formation. What is your inspiration to author so much? Can we expect a book on your experience India in some time?

If I make it big and write an autobiography, there will be quite a few pages dedicated to India! It’s been a great experience and I’ve seen and done some things that will stay with me for life.

Now, some personal questions – Do you have any favorite teams in World Football?

St. Johnstone F.C. , it is a small Scottish Club. Clubs that I love to watch are Arsenal, Dortmund, Barcelona, Roma and Bayern Munich.

Apart from Football and authoring, do you pursue any other interests?

I like to go to see music concerts, play poker, normal stuff! This week I will be watching Wolfmother at the Hard Rock Cafe. Otherwise, I am happy to visit museums, QutubMinar and other touristy places. Im also learning Spanish, Russian and Italian, which I enjoy doing.

So Stevie, few words on Football News India. You follow us on Twitter. Are we able to cater a regular dose of football news from India?

It is good,I think it is the best one I have seen on the internet for Indian Football. It is unbiased, it is informative and gives you up-to-date information. So, well played! Good one there!

Italian Giants Inter Milan to Conduct Coaching Camp in Chennai

Inter Milan, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Football, Soccer, Indianfootball, Coaching Camp, Talent Hunt, India, AsiaMedia reports suggest that Inter Milan, the Italian club is to conduct a two day coaching camp in Chennai. The event slated to be on March 19th and 20th will have theory and practical classes.

This would be a joint effort of Tamil Nadu Football Association, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu and Inter Milan. The Inter Milan contingent will consist of technical director Marco Monti, fitness coach Stefano Rapetti and youth coach Andrea Ratti.

Read More : Inter Milan team coming to Chennai in search of talent – TOI

 

Kerala Premier League to kick-off on March 15th

Kerala, Premier, League, KPL, Football, Soccer, AGs Office, Excise, Police, Customs, Eagles FC, india, Indianfootball,Media reports suggest that the first edition of Kerala Premier League will kick-off on March 15th. Twelve teams from the state will take part in the tournament that will be conducted in two stages. Kottayam and Malappuram will host these stages.

AG’s office, KSEB, Kerala Police, Eagles FC and Cochin Port trust will compete in the kottayam stage  and Titanium, SBT, Central Excise and Goldent Threads in the Manjeri stage.

The report also mentions that the winners of state inter-district U-21 Football Tournament will be given a direct entry into KPL. Top two slots from another qualifying round of matches starting on March 10th will complete the line-up of KPL.

Andres Iniesta to unveil Nike’s latest boot – Magista

Andrés Iniesta unveils new boot featuring distinctive silhouette and Nike Flyknit technology Nike, Magista, Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, Football, Nike, Magista, Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, Football, Footwear, Soccer, Spain, boots,, Soccer, Spain, boots, for unprecedented fit, feel and control.

Building on Nike’s history of groundbreaking innovation in performance footwear, the radical new Magista Football boot redefines the concept of how football boots look and perform. 

Providing improved fit, touch and traction, the boot is designed for the needs of the creative playmaker. Nike Flyknit technology has been engineered for football for the first time, allowing the foot to get closer to the ball and to deliver enhanced ball-feel and control. The boot was unveiled by FC Barcelona playmaker Andrés Iniesta in Spain today.

“Our aim at Nike has always been to meet the athlete’s particular performance demands and amplify his unique set of skills. Magista inherits that transformative history of design and innovation and supercharges it,“ comments Mark Parker, NIKE, Inc. CEO and President.

Born from four years of R&D in the Nike Sport Research Lab and with feedback from some of the world’s best attacking playmakers, including Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta and German forward Mario Gotze, the Magista is designed to enable devastating creativity in a game where space is at a premium.  

Nike, Magista, Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, Football, Nike, Magista, Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, Football, Footwear, Soccer, Spain, boots,, Soccer, Spain, boots,“With Magista, we’ve designed a shoe that feels like an extension of the player’s body. This isn’t a boot that just goes on your foot, it’s a boot that works with your foot,” said Phil McCartney, VP of Sport Performance Footwear. “By eliminating distractions, players are free to unlock their potential and creativity.”    

Flyknit technology delivers unprecedented feel, fit and control by creating a second-skin, sock-like feel and allows for strength and support to be knitted directly into the boot. The Magista also features a new mid-cut Dynamic Fit Collar for a more locked-down fit and increased awareness of the body’s movements and interaction with the ground and the ball.

“The Magista’s mid-cut Dynamic Fit collar is not just a visually compelling innovation, it’s designed to create heightened feel for the ball and enhance the player’s touch,” adds McCartney. “The mid-cut allows the foot, ankle, and lower leg work together as a single unit, emphasizing their natural movements.”


BUILT FOR UNSTOPPABLE PLAYMAKING

The Magista is designed for the player who is always moving, creating the attack and dictating play. In a game that is faster than ever — both mentally and physically — space is at a premium and high-speed control is essential. While the Magista player is constantly creating opportunities on the pitch, he needs to focus on seeing ahead, seeing the pass that no one else can see. The Magista liberates the player to unlock his fullest potential and focus on that split second that could change the game. 

“The fit of this boot is so unique that I don’t think about it when I’m wearing it,” said Iniesta. “It allows me to move the way I need to instinctively and with more confidence.” 


NIKE FLYKNIT TECHNOLOGY

Nike Flyknit – which was first used in Nike running shoes in 2012 and most recently in the KOBE 9 Elite basketball shoe – defies conventional shoe manufacturing processes by creating an engineered upper woven from special yarns.

“Flyknit is a material and method of manufacturing that allows us to design footwear that revolutionizes fit, creating a sock-like feel against the foot,” said McCartney. “We’re building on Flyknit’s game-changing potential and adapting it specifically to football. The second-skin nature of Nike Flyknit technology places the foot closer to the ball and creates a supernatural fit.”

Utilizing a custom Nike last and Nike Flyknit construction, Magista offers a snug fit at the arch, heel and forefoot, and the added element of a Dynamic Fit collar hugs players in, locking them down in the boot.

“The idea of Flyknit and the Dynamic Fit collar became obvious when we began testing our first prototypes — it was a new experience,” said McCartney. “It’s like wearing a glove. A glove starts at the wrist, not halfway up the hand.  You need that transition so you don’t disrupt your body’s natural movement.”

As Nike’s design team worked to perfect the collar height, they found through player feedback that the Dynamic Fit collar not only provided a more locked-down fit, but that players also felt more confident and more aware of their movements.

To provide additional strength and lock-down for multi-directional movement, designers added Brio cables. These cables are knitted directly into the one-piece upper and lock the eyelet into the outsole, creating strength similar to a suspension bridge.


BUILT FOR IMPROVED CONTROL

For consistent contact and increased control, the Magista features a 3D-knit textured upper. The Nike, Magista, Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, Football, Nike, Magista, Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, Football, Footwear, Soccer, Spain, boots,, Soccer, Spain, boots,Magista player needs a more aggressive texture to create friction on the ball for accurate dribbling and striking. 

“Previous construction methods required added layers to the top of the boot to get this friction, ultimately moving the foot further from the ball, but Nike Flyknit allows us to knit texture directly into the boot,” said McCartney.  “3D knit is new for Nike and for football, and hundreds of revisions were required to get this 3D pattern exactly right. The result of all this work is great ball feel in a minimal package.”

To protect the foot from water and cold, Nike’s design team developed a special application of NIKESKIN placed over top the Flyknit. The skin is less than 0.1 mm thick — thinner than a sheet of paper — and melts onto the knit to help protect from water that provide protection.  


BUILT FOR IMPROVED TRACTION

The Magista player stops, decelerates and moves in multiple directions while controlling the ball. For this player, Nike added 360° rotational traction through conical studs and a Pebax®-and-nylon plate to improve traction.

Compressed nylon offers a highly responsive plate that delivers strength while remaining incredibly light. Combined with Pebax, the structure allows for flex and increased movement with the foot while eliminating mechanical flex (an area where the boot always flexes in the same spot).

Nylon extends to the big toe and acts as a chassis to help players plant and then spring off the ground for more explosive speed. Nike also removed the insole board to place the player closer to the ground for a better center of gravity and enhanced traction. Finally, the entirely conical stud configuration is unique to the Magista, enabling 360° rotation.

 The Magista will be available for pre-order at Nike.com on April 29 and to purchase from May 22.

Third Edition of O Jogo Bonito (OJB) Country’s Biggest Amateur Football League

DZRE1344O Jogo Bonito aka OJB is  India’s biggest amateur football league promoted by Bulldog Sports Ventures. Football tournaments are conducted every quarter in a calendar year. The players of this tourney comprise of working professionals, students, businessmen who are united for the common cause of football.

After two successful seasons of OJBm the O Jogo Bonito , Kochi, Football, Bulldog Sports Ventures, Amateur, Soccer, India, Mammootythird edition took place in the last week of February 2014. It was bigger than ever with close to 180 registered players 12 teams battling it out for glory in the “Flood Lit Stadium” experience .

Here are few pictures from the tournament that took place in Kochi.

O Jogo Bonito , Kochi, Football, Bulldog Sports Ventures, Amateur, Soccer, India, Mammooty

Kerala based SEPT to form a professional club

SEPT, tSEPT, Kozhikode, Football, Kerala, Indianfootball, Soccer, Al-Ahli, Proffesional, Clubhe Kerala based academy that trains around 2000 kids all over Kerala through their 17 centers across the state is planning to form a professional club.

With this the SEPT trust will transform into a company that field teams in the professional leagues of the country. SEPT, involved in grassroots football development for over a decade has the necessary background to graduate their efforts to a professional club.

SEPT recently  signed a collaboration agreement with the UAE club Al-Ahli. They have already fielded a team in Kozhikode “E” Division league in 2014 and are the winners, there by earning a promotion to the “D” division. A website has gone live and we get to know that  ONGC and Faizal & Shabana Foundation are the sponsors of the club.

More news in the coming days….