Category Archives: I-league

Bengaluru FC’s Ashley Westwood rebuffs offers from England

Ashley Westwood

Ashley Westwood

According to Teamtalk.com Bengaluru FC’s  Ashley Westwood has been linked with coaching positions at Crawley FC and Bury FC. However Ashley Westwood has gone on record saying that he is concentrating on Bengaluru FC as of now.

The I-league table topper’s manager said to teamtalk.com –

“Of course in the future I will return to Europe and its nice to be recognised for your work. However I’m just focusing on the next game for Bangaluru,” he said.

“The last three months have involved early starts and long days but when you see the lads react to the information you give them then it’s very rewarding. We’ve got a long way to go yet.”

Another I-league Club to Shut Shop?

Airtel I-league, TenActionRumors are rife that another I-league could be shutting shop soon. After the chit fund scandal in West Bengal, United SC has been struggling to find sponsors after their last season sponsor Prayag abandoned them. Ironically United SC were one of the clubs that spent massively on their squad last season.

Club officials have been trying to rope in a sponsor for the club from the starting of this season with no success.  “It’s not possible to run a club solely on borrowed money. It’s getting difficult each passing day. We want to keep hoping for the best instead of throwing in the towel. But nothing positive seems to be happening.”  “If things carry on in this manner, we’ll have to give up,” club secretary Alokesh Kundu told Telegraph.

While I-league seems to be very competitive this time around with quality foreigners and better managed teams, it has to be noted that there is still not much of money in play. Clubs still find it difficult to find sponsors and the large outlay required to field  a team in the national league is not helping their cause.

Read the article from Telegraph which speculates on United SC’s future here.

Interview : Kovalam FC’s Ebin Rose on Grassroots Development and More

When you hear about Kovalam, what comes to your mind is the pristine beaches, sun kissed sand and swaying palms. Apart from being a global tourist destination, it has to be noted that Thiruvananthapuram district, of which Kovalam is a part of, has produced some of the finest footballers from Kerala. We took some time out to catch up  with Ebin Rose (former Kerala & I-league player), who is the chief coach and dons the all-in-all role at the budding Kovalam FC.

After modest beginning in 2009 with 20 footballers, Kovalam FC has grown in to a full-fledged team of approximately 100 players with U-11, U14, U16 and  a senior team as of now.

Here is what Ebin had to tell us about himself, Kovalam FC, its future, grassroot development and more. Read on.

  • Greetings Ebin, tell us a little about yourself. How did start playing football, which teams have you represented and so on. –
Ebin Rose, Kovalam FC, India, Football, Indianfootball, Grassroots, Kerala, Football, Academy, Thirvananthapuram, Soccer

Ebin Rose

Hello, I started my playing career in Thirvananthapuram, appeared for the district team both in the Junior and senior level.  In 1997, i appeared for Kerala University team which won the South India University Championship. Subsequently in 1998, I led the Kerala university team in the All India University championship in which we finished runners up with me being the top-scorer of the tournament and was awarded the Oomen George gold medal by Kerala University.

In 1999, I started my professional playing career by playing for State Bank of Travancore team  and then on I moved to Titanium Football club and subsequently got loaned out to Viva Kerala FC.  With Viva Kerala,  the team I played for 12 months, I could score a goal against East Bengal in I-league and appeared in all their matches during that period.

I am also member of the Kerala team which won Santosh Trophy in Delhi in 2004, appeared for Kerala from 2004-2008 in Santosh Trophy  and played in Guwahati  National games for Kerala. I finished my AFC C license certification in 2008 and currently don the role of coach and manager of Kovalam FC.

  • What made you think about forming Kovalam FC and tell us more about Kovalam FC, who are the trainers, how many teams are there in the senior, Junior categories?  – 

I have a good and secure job now and much respect within the football fraternity.  During my hey days in football, I had offers from the big clubs in India to play for them, but what I was looking for was a secure job and stability.

Due to my desire to give back to the society of poor fishermen family in my area,  to give the kids quality training and thereby helping them to escape a life of drug abuse and criminality, Kovalam FC was set up in 2009.

In 2009 we started  off with less than 20 players now we are approximately 100 players from Under 11s to our 1st team of seniors, that includes  U-14 & U-16 teams. Our U-11 & U-12 teams are coached a minimum of 3 times a week as part of our Football Academy programme.

  • What are the achievements of Kovalam FC so far? Has any players represented district, state teams so far?  –

If you are to look at our achievements, we won the Thrivananthapuram DFA “A” Division league in 2009 after we formed Kovalam FC.  Since 2010, we have been finishing in the top-half of the district league where our team is pitted against big departmental clubs such as KSEB, SBT and so on.  In 2012, our U-16 team participated in the  Youth Champions League conducted in Goa and were semi-finalists in the presence of football legend Luis Figo.

20 of our players have been part of the Thiruvananthapuram District teams in the senior and      Junior Category. Our players have also made progress elsewhere. Skyline Dennis has represented Delhi in Santosh Trophy, Sair Sha and Baiju are paying for Titanium FC.

Ebin Rose, Kovalam FC, India, Football, Indianfootball, Grassroots, Kerala, Football, Academy, Thirvananthapuram, Soccer

Kovalam FC Senior Team

  •  What are the future plans for Kovalam FC, do you see you club making to I-league some day?  –

Of course, we are gunning for participating in I-league in the future. But this depends on the financial viability and the growth of the club. We are expecting to achieve this within another 3 years.  Kerala badly needs an I-league club.

  • If you are to pick some really talented players coming through Kovalam FC, who are they?

If i am to pick some real good prospects from our team –  Mijun (U-11), Midhan Mathiyas (U-13), Beniston (U-16), Athiesh (U-17).

Ebin Rose, Kovalam FC, India, Football, Indianfootball, Grassroots, Kerala, Football, Academy, Thirvananthapuram, Soccer

Kovalam FC Junior team at Kovalam beach

  • We saw some pictures of Kovalam FC players with AIFF Technical Director Rob Baan. Did Kovalam FC players get a chance to train with the AFC A license course candidates? If so, how different was Rob Baan’s approach towards coaching? –

Our players got a chance to train with the who and who of Indian football when the AFC A license certification was conducted in Thiruvananthapuram.  That short training stint was very beneficial for our players. We also got very positive comments on the ability and skill levels of our players.

 

Kovalam FC with Rob Baan

Kovalam FC with Rob Baan

  • Who are the main supporters of Kovalam FC? –

Self confidence, dedication, discipline and devotion is our income, and our supporters are dreams, hard work, and families of our players.

For more information on Kovalam Football club, visit http://www.kovalamfootballclub.com/

Pune FC to be featured in BBC World News

Pune FC, India, Football, BBC World News, India Direct, February, 2014, Elections, Soccer, DalitBBC News has confirmed that they will be airing India Centric Programmes in February 2014 preceding the general elections. BBC says the program India Direct is an opportunity for the world audience to see everyday life in India. One among the stories in this series from India would be of Pune FC‘s.

The series is expected to run across two weeks from 8 February 2014.

One Square Mile – Pune FC (TBC)

Tim Samuels – a confirmed football fan and award-winning reporter – travels to Pune, one of India’s fastest growing cities with a burgeoning manufacturing and entrepreneurial sector. He visits Pune FC, in India’s premier league, meets the players, and their Dutch manager and goes to a premier league match. Tim learns who watches football and hears about the sport’s allure in a country traditionally enamoured with cricket. He also meets another football team, one made up of dalits, who can only aspire to the big time. – bbc.co.uk.

We had earlier mentioned that with the influx of European players especially from U.K, I-league has garnered attention from the U.K media. Sky Sports and The Scotsman has already carried stories on players and coaches who are part of the league.

The BBC the program may not follow that suit but this would definitely pave way for our footballing stories to reach a global audience which otherwise is buried under a heavy heap of cricket.

The Goal that Sealed the Kolkata Derby

Check out the screaming goal that sealed the Kolkata Derby. Lalrindika Ralte recieves the ball, sets it up and launches a sweet strike that dips in to the net. It was sheer brilliance.

Mohammed Rafi Could Join Mumbai FC on Loan

Mohammed Rafi, Football, Kerala, Churchill Brothers, Mumbai Tigers, IMG - Reliance, Kasargode, Soccer, Yesterday we reported that former India international and Kerala player N.P Pradeep has joined Mumbai FC on loan.

Goal.com is reporting that Mumbai FC will sign four players on loan from IMG – Reliance. Including N.P Pradeep,  Mohammed Rafi, Peter Costa and Khelemba Meetei could join the outfit.

Like N.P Pradeep, Rafi is also an experienced player in Indian football circuit appearing for Mahindra, Churchill Brothers, and as recently for Mumbai Tigers before signing on for IMG – Reliance.

N.P Pradeep Joins Mumbai FC

 N.P Pradeep, Football, I-league, Mumbai FC, Idukki, Mahindra, Mohun Bagan, Mumbai Tigers, IndianFootball, Socceer, LeagueFormer India and International and Kerala player N.P Pradeep has joined Mumbai FC on loan. By this Mumbai FC becomes the third team in I-League to sign players attached to IMG – Reliance League.

Pradeep comes with loads of experience in Indian Football circuit. From 2000 onwards, Pradeep has appeared for various clubs such as Mahindra, Viva Kerala, Mohun Bagan and lately signed for Dodsal FC which was later renamed to Mumbai Tigers.

Pradeep also has 50 international caps for India and featured heavily in the national team during Bob Houghton era. With Mumbai Tigers pulling out from I-league, Pradeep had inked deal with IMG- Reliance for their upcoming IPL Style league.

With IMG – Reliance League getting postponed, Mumbai FC has taken the plunge to sign the midfielder that will add a lot of experience to their current I-league squad. So far, Rangdajied United, Mohammedan Sporting and Mumbai FC has signed players contracted with IMG – Reliance.

I-League Could Tie-Up with SAP for High-end Analytics

SAP, I-league, SAPA HANA, India, Clubs, Football, Bengaluru FC, Pune FC, Sunandho Dhar, SoccerSAP has made its foray in to sports in a big manner with the announcement of the SAP HANA system. SAP HANA an in-memory database, analytics, mobile software combined with other technologies can help teams to gauge performance of their players, collect real time data and do much.

SAP has already taken a dive in to this vertical as they have already signed up NBA in this regard. SAPA HANA system offer teams a scouting platform, it can grab media and data from social sites and thereby gauging fan sentiments and could over all improve the experience of spectators in the stadium.

German Bundesliga outfit TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is using the latest technology offered by SAP. Where trainers use Google Glass in combination with this technology to gauge player performances.

Video of  Hoffenheim using SAP HANA technology :

AIFF has published an article about representatives participating in the recently concluded SAP Forum for Sports and Entertainment  in Germany.  SAP India Managing Director Anirban Dey told AIFF  – “SAP believes that this can also be leveraged by the I-League clubs,”

AIrtel I-league CEO Sunandho Dhar said that a Pilot Project is being chalked out between SAP India and Airtel I-league. “We are trying to work out a deal with SAP India on whether the technology can be brought to India, if not on the same scale but parts of it. A Pilot Project may be in the offing.” said Sunandho Dhar to AIFF Media.

Shillong Lajong partners with McDowell’s

Lajong_McdowellShillong Lajong today announced its association with McDowell’s No.1 Soda, the largest beverage alcohol franchise in the world as partners for the 2013-14 season. With this partnership Lajong becomes the first Football Club in the country to have 5 top-tier brand partnerships.

The Shillong based club already has telecom major Aircel as its principal sponsor along with Kingfisher and now McDowell’s as associate sponsors. adidas is the official kit sponsor of the club and Kyazoonga.com is the online ticketing partner of Shillong Lajong. This makes Lajong one of the hottest properties as far as Football in India and Sports in general is concerned.

Speaking on the occasion, Larsing M Sawyan, General Secretary, Shillong Lajong Football Club said, “We are proud to tie-up with McDowell’s No 1. The association will help catapult the Club in the big league. There is abundant football talent in the North East. Our dream is to identify budding footballers & leave an indelible mark on the Indian and international Football map.”

According to Alokesh Banerjee, Asst. Vice President-Marketing, United Spirits Limited, “McDowell’s has a long standing association with Football, as the principal sponsor of the McDowell Mohun Bagan club. Our partnership with Lajong FC is yet another step forward towards expanding the brand’s association with football. Lajong FC has emerged as a team of national stature and is one of the most professionally managed private clubs. With their focused & disciplined approach they would definitely create history in the forthcoming I-league season; we are proud to be associated with them & wish them all the very best for the competition.”

McDowell’s No.1 Platinum since its launch has been a very successful brand in the North East and now is proud to join hands with the Biggest Club in the North East.

Shillong Lajong has been one of the most professionally managed club in the country and have constantly embarked on ensuring commercial viability to back its on field success. The clubs home games in Shillong sees record turn-outs and their social media channels constantly engage their fans. They are the 3rd biggest Indian Football Club page on Facebook and have merchandise offerings for their fans.

Mohammedan Sporting break away from IPFCA

Mohammedan Sporting, IMG - Reliance, Football, Indian Super League, ISL, Football, India,Kolkata  club Mohammedan Sporting has decided to break away from Indian Professional football Clubs Association (IPFCA).

It is reported that after an emergency meeting at Kolkata, IPFCA decided show-cause Mohammedan Sporting. Mohammedan Sporting had earlier signed five IMG  – Reliance contracted players.

Irked with IPFCA decision, Mohammedan Sporting has decided to withdraw from IPFCA.“We have decided to withdraw from the IPFCA. We are for the betterment of Indian football, but IPFCA seems to have a different agenda,” Mohammedan Sporting president Sultan Ahmed told TOI.

It was also decided between the other clubs that they will only sign players from the disbanded youth set up Pailan Arrows.

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