Category Archives: I-league

Agents of Tomorrow

football, soccer, india, sonu lamba, ranti martins, sunil chhetri, agent, top, Dudu Omagbemi, Shankar, Rino Anto, Vineeth, Eugeneson, Israil Gurung

Mariadon Pathaw writes about football agents working in India.

The manager runs the game, players deliver the score, and the fans – they are the team’s 12th man, overwhelming the team with all their backing. During a transfer window, we hear about players, the management, and the board who takes a call on the transfers, and the manager who decides on the options available and so on, but seldom do we hear about the “agents” who are trying to get these transfers possible. They are a shadow presence in the whole scheme of things, and they represent the player at all times.

A football agent is someone who lightens the burden of players in matters relating to club transfers, salary and contract negotiations. A player appoints an agent and the agent takes care of everything related to his footballing side thus enabling the player to deliver maximum on the ground and stay focused on his trade of playing the game.

We are well aware of the famous agents of the west. Jorge Mendes, who represents Cristiano Ronaldo, Falcao, and Jose Mourinho. Pere Guardiola who was responsible for the $130 million transfer of Suarez to Barcelona FC and so on. But little do we know about the player agents in India, who work with our footballers.

Sunil Chhetri and Eugeneson Lyngdoh – these are the names synonymous to football in India. But who is responsible for their transfers? The man behind is Sonu Lamba, a top football player agent who deals with the country’s best football talent. In a conversation with Sonu Lamba, he shared how his great love and passion for Indian football brought him to his current career, moving away from his engineering and Merchant Navy stint. In 2013, when his daughter was born, he decided not to return to the sea and decided to pursue his passion and do his bit to develop football in India, and there began his stint as a football player agent. Sonu represents Sunil Chhetri, Rino Anto, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, CK Vineeth, Balwant Singh, Udanta Singh, Anwar Ali, Shankar Sampingiraj, Ashutosh Mehta, Keegan Pereira and Sehnaj Singh.

When asked about the biggest challenge in his job, he said, “it is gaining the player’s trust.” Player agents not only secure the best deal for a player, but also double up as a guiding force for the player, helping him in his professional life. He added, “Getting a deal is not the main job for an agent. His job is to make sure that the deal is in the best interest of the player. The agent is like the go-to man for the player for any problems he may have; I am here to solve it.”

Adewale Seriki, who hails from Nigeria and is currently in Goa, is no stranger to Indian football. This former JCT player is the man behind the contracts of various African players plying their trade in India. He represents a host of players including Friday GbenemeEbi SukorePenn OrjiObiora AnorueEkenne Ekenwa, and the attacking duo of Dudu Omagbemi and Ranti Martins. Apart from foreign players, Adewale also works with many local players who have the potential and the determination to work hard on field. Israil Gurung, currently playing for the FC Pune City is one among them. Coach Abdulaziz Bola, who won Durand Cup with Mohammedan Sporting in 2013, is also a client of Adewale. His enthusiasm to spend time on observing and studying local players has made him one of the few foreign agents in India, who deals with local as well as foreign talent.

Football in India is yet to make a mark. For the development of Indian football, it is imperative that agents play a role in ensuring that the players have the right remuneration, and are able to secure their rights during contracts. The work is yet to begin, and for Indian football, these are baby steps towards making a mark in the global football scene. Agents are here to help build that tomorrow, and the future definitely looks bright!

 

Editorial support from Sreedhanya

Federation Cup to return in 2016?

Football, Indianfootball, Federation Cup, Kerala, Soccer

The I-league executive committee meeting happened today evening and news is trickling out that Federation Cup will be revived in 2016. A PTI report quotes sources inside AIFF in a report confirming this development.

“It has informally decided that AIFF is likely re-start the Federation Cup from May, 2016 after the conclusion of the I-league. It has been decided that Federation Cup will be a month-long affair rather than being a 10-day thing which has been the norm. It will be held in home and away knock-out basis,” says an unidentified AIFF official in the PTI report.

The logic behind this quick reversal of ideas is attributed to the fact that I-league will only be a nine-team affair after Royal Wahindoh’s pull out.

“Look, if it is a 9-team I-League, then each team will play only 16 I-League matches. That is an insufficient number. Now to play the qualifying rounds of the AFC Champions League, a club needs to play a minimum of 18 matches in a year,” the source said.

“So Federation Cup will be an 8-team affair. So at least 8 teams will get a chance to play 18 matches. The 9th team of I-League in any case will be relegated. The decision to have a one-month Federation Cup was taken on AIFF Academy Director Scott Odonell’s recommendation. It was seconded by senior vice-president Subrata Dutta,” said the official to PTI.

 

Read the PTI report here.

Mohun Bagan to fight it out in court

Mohun Bagan, Court , United Spirits Limited, McDowell, Football, I-league, Mohun Bagan to file a liquidation suit against United Spirits Limited.

Mohun Bagan A.C. has had a long standing tie-up with UB Group since 1998 as the Sponsor of the Football Team and formed a company in the name of United Mohun Bagan Football Team Pvt. Ltd.

United Mohun Bagan Football Team Pvt. Ltd. had executed a Sponsorship agreement with United Spirits Limited dated 11th June 2013 for 10 years to provide financial assistance of Rs. 8 crore per year and from there on the sponsorship fund was deposited to our account every month, but since November 2014 the fund was unilaterally stopped by USL without any prior intimation.

Upon our inquiry with USL (East Division) and subsequent followup at their Head office, we came to know that Shareholders did not approve the said deal in their EGM dated November 28, 2014. However, in spite of not receiving any payment, Mohun Bagan continued in their commitment to give proper mileage and visibility to the brand “McDowell” as mentioned in the agreement.

On the other hand, Mohun Bagan have constantly tried to resolve the issue on the basis of our cordial relationship with USL but all our effort was unfruitful.

After hearing the current situation the Executive Committee Members of Mohun Bagan A.C. discussed that there is no other option but to file a liquidation suit against USL and thus recommended the Board of Directors of United Mohun Bagan Football Team Pvt. Ltd. to initiate the same as soon as possible to recover outstanding dues and implementation of the contract executed on 11th June 2013.

DSK Shivajians to play in I-league

DSK Shivajians, Football, Pune, Soccer, League, I-league, Top Tier

 

If reports are anything to go by, AIFF received a boost after Pune based team DSK Shivajians submitted their bid for playing in the top division of India, the I-league. With Bharat FC and Pune FC pulling out of the top flight, it was expected that I-league would be a nine team affair in the upcoming season.

DSK based in Pune, is running an academy in partnership Liverpool is easily expected to clear all the licensing criteria essential for I-league clubs to fulfill.

 

DSK submits bid, set to become I-League’s 10th club

India Football Forum 2015 makes grand debut in Mumbai

India Football Forum 2015, Indian Football, Star Sports, Football, Soccer, India,  Sports, Industry, Mumbai

 

MUMBAI, 30th October 2015: Stakeholders in the growing Indian sports industry unanimously agree that the appetite for football in India is definitely on the rise though there are numerous challenges which have to be overcome before its full potential can be realised.

Senior professionals from the sports and broadcast industry deliberated on the multiple opportunities in the football sector at the Star Sports Indian Football Forum 2015 titled: “Taking Indian Football Higher, Deeper, Wider”, held in Mumbai on 29 October 2015.

The day-long conference revolved around various Knowledge Sessions such as:

  • Governance & Management– Faster Growth, Higher Visibility, Stronger Management
  • Maximising Fan Experience– Getting It Right on Air and In Stadia
  • Internet & Mobile Keys To Experiential Nirvana– Connecting To the Consumer in a Fast Evolving Media Landscape
  • Corporate Social Opportunity– The Business Potential in Grassroots Outreach

Established in 2010, the India Football Forum, the flagship property of the SportzPower Knowledge Series (SKS), brings together some of the best minds in the industry on one platform for what is the definitive conference on the business of football in this market. Additionally, to improve the overall presentation and profile of the conference, SportzPower has partnered Mumbai-based Event Capital to deliver this edition

A stellar grouping of industry stalwarts such as Nitin Kukreja, President Sports, STAR India; Ronnie Screwvala, Founder, U Sports; Peter Leible, Chief Representative Asia Pacific DFL Sports Enterprises; and Santosh Desai, MD & CEO, Future Brands, spoke on the various factors that indicate the rapid strides made by football, and the initiatives required to take it to the next level.

In his keynote address, Mr Nitin Kukreja, President Sports, STAR India, said that while merging I-League and ISL would solve much of the logistical chaos currently reigning in the Indian football calendar, no concrete progress has been made towards that. He also stressed on the need for schools and colleges to participate in the sport in a structured manner in order to allow a footballing culture to develop on a larger scale, especially in North and West India where the sport does not have much popularity.

Mr Peter Leible, Chief Representative Asia Pacific of DSL Sports Enterprises, who drew a parallel to the recent period of revival in German football to provide context to the Indian experience, said a similar widespread initiative, with emphasis on clubs doing their bit on the grassroots and academy side of things, could lead to a uniform growth of football in India though “patience” is the key criteria while implementing such programmes.

U Sports founder Ronnie Screwvala, in conversation with Conference Chair, Ayaz Memon, said that with ISL, the changes are positive in Indian football, but there needs to be an effort to develop the game at the grassroots level to actually help improve the standards of Indian football.

Adding heft to the knowledge delivery at this year’s IFF were two cutting edge case study presentations by ESP Properties and Repucom International.

Other experts who shared their views during interactions in the multiple Knowledge Sessions included:

  • Supratik Sen, CEO and Co-Founder, U Sports
  • Vinit Karnik, National Director – Entertainment, Sports &Live Events, ESP Properties
  • Gaurav Gokhale, Business Head, Football at Star India
  • Srinivasan Gopalkrishnan, AVP Marketing & Commercial – Football Sports Development Limited (ISL)
  • Joy Bhattacharyja – Project Director, 2017 U-17 World Cup
  • Indranil Das Blah, CEO, Mumbai City FC & COO, CAA Kwan
  • Ravi Chavan, Vice-President – South Asia, Repucom International
  • Mustafa Ghouse, CEO, JSW Sports Pvt Ltd.
  • Neetu Bhatia, Co-Founder & CEO, Kyazoonga
  • Nikhil Sharma, COO, Anglian Management Group; Director, ShillongLajong FC
  • Neel Shah, Business Director, Libero Sports India
  • Arun Raghu, Co-Founder and Director, Fans On Stands Sports Pvt Ltd
  • Nimish Raut, Country Head, Sports & Events Marketing, Red Bull India
  • Jitendra Joshi – Co-founder, Director, SportzConsult
  • Jaideep Bhatia – Partnerships Consultant, Magic Bus
  • Siddhartha Upadhyay – Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS
  • LV Krishnan – CEO, TAM Media Research
  • Pranesh Krishnamurthy – CEO, The Football Mind
  • Aneesh S Madani – Head Sports Partnerships, Twitter India

India Football Forum 2015 provided a broader perspective and key insights into the opportunities available and challenges that await in what is the most exciting sports and media market in the world at present.

Guwahati FC raring to go in the 2nd Division I-League

Guwahati FC, Football, Axom Sports, North East, Club, New, Proffesional, Soccer, Friendly, Anthem, Launch, Assam, 2nd division, I-league, Durga Boro, Subhash BhowmickNewly formed club appoints Subhash Bhowmick as Technical Director, will face Mohammedan Sporting in the first match

Guwahati, India:  Newly formed Guwahati FC is raring to go as they prepare for the 2nd Division I-League 2015-16. The club is aiming for promotion to the first tier of Indian football and is leaving no stone unturned in its quest. They have appointed legendary former Indian National player and Coach, Subhash Bhowmick as their Technical Director. Mr Bhowmick has previously managed top clubs such as East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Salgaocar among others. He comes on board as a mentor and guide and the team will benefit greatly from his vast experience.

 

Durga Boro, Guwahati FC, Football, Axom Sports, North East, Club, New, Proffesional, Soccer, Friendly, Anthem, Launch, Assam, 2nd division, I-league, Durga Boro, Subhash BhowmickGuwahati FC has also recently successfully held trials for its first team, with some top talent being recruited from top division clubs in India. They have announced the signing of top Assamese attacker, Durga Boro, who will bring a lot of quality to the first team. They will be announcing many more exciting signings in the days to come.

The club will face Mohammedan Sporting in their first match of the 2nd Division I-League on 14th November in Kolkata. The other teams in the Eastern Conference are Neroca FC, Himalayan Gangtok SC and Fateh Hyderabad FC. Three teams will qualify from the Conference for the main Group.

 

The club has recently tied up with Delhi-based Anglian Management Group (AMG) and Brazil’s Clube Atlético Paranaense (CAP) to set up the first international football Academy in North-East India based out of Guwahati. The Academy plans to train a hundred elite youth footballers from various age groups each of the next three years as well as run numerous programmes throughout the year aimed at attracting many more youth to the sport.To kick off their youth programs, they will be competing in the U-18 and U-15 I-League 2015-16 which will start in November.

 

Guwahati FC, which was formed at the end of 2014, aims to establish itself by developing local talent in partnership with AMG and CAP. The club intends to leverage AMG’s international connections and experiences managing football clubs in India and in Europe as well as CAP’s globally-renowned youth football programmes.

“We are looking forward to a great campaign in the 2nd Division I-League and will definitely aim to qualify to the top tier. We will remain passionate and dedicated about the cause of building the sport of football in India from the bottom up, as evidenced by our setting up the Guwahati FC Youth Academy in partnership with Anglian Management Group and Clube Atlético Paranaense.” said Sanjive Narain Co-owner Guwahati FC.

United SC Sign Former East Bengal Goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal

United SC, Kolkata, Football, India, IMG - Reliance, Indian Super League, ISL, Players Loan United SC registered 11 players at IFA including Abhijit Mondal, Sashti Duley!

United Sports Club on Tuesday registered a total number of eleven players at the IFA Office ahead of 2015-16 Calcutta Football League (Premier Division).

The former United SC keeper Abhijit Mondal, who was member of club’s maiden Durand Cup winning squad in 2010, making his return at the club after spending two successful seasons at East Bengal.

United SC, Kolkata, Football, India, IMG - Reliance, Indian Super League, ISL, Abhijit Mondal“It feels great to become a member of purple family again. I still remember when we won the Durand Cup in 2010, we also had a young team like this year therefor I am very much hopeful to repeat that performance once again,” Mondal said.

Meanwhile the club has also signed seasoned campaigner Sashti Duley along with a host of young but talented footballers like Usman Ashik, Sreanshu Das, Ajay Nag, Md. Rashid, Shaibuddin KK, Subhajit Biswas, Suhair VP, Sahbaz Salil and Md. Rafi.

Guam vs India fallout – training your gun at the right people?

India vs Guam, India, Guam, Football, 2018, Russia, World Cup Qualifiers, AFC, Asia, Asian Cup, 2011, Bob Houhton, AIFF

Back in 2010, Indian football was at a similar critical juncture. The only difference was that, we were losing to good teams in friendlies but not in any World Cup qualifiers as it is happening now. However, the script looks almost the same. Experts, former coaches and players were taking pot shots at the team. Back then, we were preparing for our appearance in 2011 AFC Asian Cup. In the aftermath of defeat in the Guam vs. India 2018 World Cup qualifier, I am trying to analyze if it is fair to criticize the newly appointed coach and the freshly drafted in national team players.

 

The difference is that we were prepared much better for the Asian Cup than what we are right now. Bob Houghton had selected a coterie of players who went through extensive training for around one and half years. We even played a lot more friendlies before our appearance in the 2011 Asian Cup. We played around nine friendlies in the run up to the Asian Cup. Our campaign in AFC Cup in Group C was not spectacular but what it showed was that extensive preparations could limit the damage. We did not see damning score lines against top teams such as South Korea, Bahrain. (Subjective. 4-1 defeat to South Korea is not a damning score line according to me!)

 

Cut to 2015, we have a coach who has been appointed around 6 months ago or so; a team that practiced for a week, devoid of match practice or friendlies, struggling against teams that have been improving fast, off late. In short, the defeat to Guam is not really a surprise.

 

The other question is how the same team that showed some amount of promise against Oman went very awry against a lower ranked Guam. There are two reasons for this. Even though the 2-1 score line was a respectable one against Oman, we were saved by the callousness of Omanis. If they were a bit more clinical, score line would have been even worse. Our team played with a good drive and players playing their hearts out against Oman. The main reason behind that drive was the great home support the team received in Bangalore.

 

Team took a long trip of about 27 hours to reach Guam after the home defeat to Oman. They were treated to a super humid tropical climate and played on an artificial turf. After the first defeat against Oman, fans were already on an overdrive against the coach, team selection, and players. And our players completely forgot the basics while we succumbed to the pressure from a very good Guam side.

 

While these are no excuses to redeem the team from the bad performance, we should also understand the undue expectations we have on our team. Our media also does not help the case by repeatedly parroting Guam’s size and population in every other reference to the defeat. It is nice to compose a title for an article or a tweet by mentioning the size and population of Guam but that diverts the attention from the real issues that plagues our football system. Several small nations consistently do well in football, just as bigger nations like India and China continuously under-perform in football.

 

One and a half year long practice and nine friendlies in 2010 did not earn us a single win in 2011 Asia Cup. How can you expect a team that was assembled ten days ago the Oman fixture to perform miracles?

 

Rather than venting your ire on the coach and players, the criticism should be directed towards the shambolic fixture management by the custodians of Indian Football, the AIFF.

Do go through these insightful articles that came out in the media after the defeat to Guam.

 

 

Official – Bengaluru FC recruit striking duo

By Sunil A Markal

I-League runners-up Bengaluru FC have confirmed the signings of attacking duo Kim Seng-Yong and SeiminlenDoungel from Royal Wahingdoh FC and ShillongLajong respectively.

A statement on the Blues’ official website read

Bengaluru FC, on Wednesday, announced the signings of strikers Kim Seng-Yong and Seiminlen Doungel as the Blues are looking to build on what’s been a successful second season where they finished winners of the Federation Cup, runners-up in the I-League and made the last-16 of the AFC Cup.

The Federation Cup winners were on the look for a new striker, after Australian striker Sean Rooney’s contract with the Blues expired at the end of the current campaign.

And the champions of last year have signed an experienced campaigner in North Korean Kim to replace the departing Australian. The former Rangdajied United man is a prolific goalscorer, and found the back of the net five teams to propel his side to an impressive 3rd placed finish. The 28-year-old has penned a one-year-deal, with Bengaluru having the choice to extend it for another year.

Talking to the official website, Kim said, “I am extremely happy to have signed for Bengaluru FC. I consider myself lucky to have been given a chance to play for a club like this. They have done an amazing job on and off the pitch over the past two years. I am looking forward to playing under the guidance of Ashley Westwood and the rest of the staff, and I will do my best to contribute towards the team’s success on all fronts.”

Bengaluru’s second addition comes in the form of 21-year-old Shillong forward Seiminlen Doungel. The Manipur born JCT youth product was excited on signing for the Blues, and will present with more options for manager Ashley Westwood upfront.

“It makes me happy to say that I am part of Bengaluru FC. It’s a club where I know I will improve as a player and I cannot wait to be a part of wonderful things the club does,”the former East Bengal man said.

Club COO Mustafa Ghouse meanwhile said of the players that the duo were on the club’s radar for a while, and they are happy to have finally landed their targets.

“Kim and Len are both very talented players and have been on our radar for some time now. We are certain the fans will be happy to see them in the BFC blue next season, just as we are. We would also like to thank Sean Rooney whose contribution to the club in our first two seasons has been immense and we wish him all the best for his future endeavors”

Leave your thoughts in the comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter: @sunilmarkal17

 

Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai FC aftermath -Abusive Chants – Ok or Not Ok?

Abuse, Chants, Football, Bengaluru, Bangalore, Mumbai, Bengaluru FC, bottle, thrown, incident, Khalid Jamil, Ashley Westwood, fine, Verdict, Pradyum Reddy, Amoes, Gowtham PuraAIFF has pronounced its verdict on what transpired in Bengaluru during the Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai FC match. A lot has been discussed on the social media and other forums about the conduct of the fans and officials.

Now that the verdict is out, we are publishing a short note from a person who is closely connected to football in Bangalore. He knows the Bangalore football scene very well and this is his take on whether the fans should indulge in abusive chants and if so what is the limit. He wish to remain anonymous, so we are not going to publish his name.

————————————————————–

This write up is after the BFC vs. Mumbai FC game in Kanteerava stadium, which ended in a 1-1 draw. I decided to write this for all the fans who have been supporting their club to the best, but also indulge in abusing and use foul language on opponents and their staff.

My friends and I sat in west block A to watch the game and as the players entered, there were cheers and claps for players of BFC, which was a nice thing. Once the Mumbai FC players entered the field and as the game kicked off, I was kind of feeling very bad to hear abuses being hurled at Khali Jamil and their player right from the start whistle. Families who turned up with their kids for the match were feeling discomfort because of the abusive nature of the chants and I did even see some families who had come for the match moving away from the crowd.

Come on, are we cheering the club and encouraging them or the fans wants to just have fun abusing and using foul language on the opponents and coaches, make them furious and in the end get to see what happened in that game?

India is not a country where football is the richest game unlike cricket. If it were, then no one would even bother about all the nonsense people talk. Most of the clubs in India are run with less funds, no proper facilities, unlike a professional setup like BFC who has made huge investments and provide best facilities for players to perform to their best. Most clubs do not even pay salaries to players on a regular basis and not all football players are from well-to-do families to let go everything. Most players are struggling to live a good life and they have to struggle and sacrifice a lot to play in our top tier league – I-league.

Let us also not to forget that BFC is one of the first corporate entities to have invested in Indian football, and they have all the means to provide the best facilities for players to perform well, which is very much appreciated, but that doesn’t mean fans who go to watch matches abuse and insult other clubs and players who are struggling every year to sign good players and form a decent team to play in the league.

Most of the clubs are operating with a much lesser budget/investment than that of BFC. Mumbai FC was about to be shut down like Mahindra United and had not signed a single player even when they had just one month for the deadline as they couldn’t rope in a sponsor for the club. Finally, after roping in a sponsor, they mostly signed players who were either rejected by other clubs and a few were retained from their previous squad.

They struggle so much and though being an underdog club, when they take on most clubs, they still manage to put in decent to good performances. In all their four matches against BFC before this, they managed a draw and I consider that a commendable feat.

Therefore, how the fans behave in stadiums is what the outcome they get too. Abusing, provoking and using foul language on players and coaches for no reason would definitely leave anyone angered and flustered. The composition of players in I-league is seeing a drastic change now. We have some foreigners who have played world cup for their nations. Abusing and taunting players of such stature does not hold good for our football. We have to learn from better players and start playing good football because football should not end just with clubs. It has to take Indian football to higher standards.

Go out in large numbers to support BFC but never indulge in abusing or insulting opponents. We may never know the struggle of the club and the players are undergoing to keep them going at this level.

Football can become a popular game in any country only when there are more number of people attending matches and if that has to happen, the fans who go the to cheer the teams should cheer good football . When I mean good football, even if the away team plays fair and good football we should have the heart to appreciate that too. Now, if cheering or appreciating the opponent team is difficult, let us not indulge in mindless abuse. Let us all enjoy the beautiful game in a beautiful way.

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