Category Archives: India

United Sikkim FC to Host U-14 Snow Lion Cup

United_Sikkim_FC_2012_LogoAround 30 football academies in Sikkim and neighbouring towns of Darjeeling  and Kalimpong are competing against each other during the u-14 Snow Lion Cup being hosted by United Sikkim FC this month. In January, the Bhaichung Bhutia-led club is also organizing a month-long free coaching camp for over 1,000 kids in different areas of Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills.

Both the Snow Lion Cup for under-14 kids and coaching camps, sponsored by State Bank of India and Indian Football Foundation, also carries dreams of extracting a couple of talents that could represent the nation in the U-17 World Cup being hosted by India in 2017.

“These two events are the biggest ever football grassroots football development activities in the Hills. It is historic. United Sikkim FC is committed to promote football at grassroots levels and to spot talents. Last year we could not do much as we were busy with ILeague.

This time, we are not in I-League that gives us time to focus on promoting football in the rural areas,” said Bhaichung in a press conference.

The Snow Lion Cup

The Snow Lion Cup leg for Sikkim starts at Paljor Stadium from December 14. The Darjeeling leg is scheduled from December 19 while the Kalimpong leg is from December 22.

The winner of each group will then play against each other to determine the Snow

Lion Cup winners, said tournament director Thupden Rapgyal Bhutia in a press conference here.

Each match is of 50 minutes duration in the tournament organized in a league format.

Teams featuring in the Sikkim leg are North District Football Association (Mangan), Sanju Pradhan football academy (Sombaria), Dzongu Academy, Boys Club Academy (Gangtok), Sikkim Himalayan SC (Gangtok), GVS FA (Pendam), Namthang FA, Melli Dara Academy, Gangtok FA and JNV Pakyong.

“Altogether 23 matches would be held at Paljor Stadium for Sikkim academies. We plan to complete the Sikkim leg in 3-4 days,” said Thupden Rapgyal.

A dozen academies are lined up for Darjeeling leg to be played at St Joseph’s ground while in Kalimpong, the organizers have shortlisted eight teams at Mela Ground.

Bhaichung informed that all the teams would be provided with free transportation, accommodation (in case of teams far away from the venue) and food. The Snow Lion Cup winner will receive a cash prize of Rs. 30,000 and the runners up will get Rs. 20,000 while the third positioned team will get Rs. 10,000, he said.

The battle of under-14 kids from Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong does not end with the Snow Lion Cup. The organizers have planned to select best 20 talents among these academies for a special camp under United Sikkim for around 20 days.

“We will also be taking them to exposure trips and tournaments outside Sikkim. They could be taken to Delhi to train and play with students of Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools,” said United Sikkim senior manager Arjun Rai.

Football Camps

United Sikkim FC is also holding a month-long coaching Warm Winter for Football camp in January for kids up to 16 years in different parts of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Around 500 kids from Sikkim are expected to participate in the camps to be held in North, West and South districts and another 500 kids would be attending the camps at Lebong ground in Darjeeling and Mela ground in Kalimpong.

“Schools in the hills are presently on a long winter vacation. We need to keep the kids occupied in healthy activities during the winter break. This camp will help them channelize their energy in positive things,” said Bhaichung.

The camps would not be charging any entry fees. The participants will be provided with free kits and coaches from outside the State along with local coaches are providing trainings. “Football talents are mostly found in rural areas. We want to provide them proper training and groom best talents through the camps,” said Bhaichung.

“I hope we get talents from these two events. The biggest dream for us to have 2-3 kids coming from these two events would go on to play for the nation in the u-17 World Cup being hosted by India in 2017. If it happens, it will be our biggest satisfaction,” said Bhaichung.

Bhaichung thanked Thupden Rapgyal for his support to both the events. He also thanked the State Bank of India and Indian Football Association for their generous sponsorship for both the coaching camps and the Snow Lion Cup football tournament.

Courtesy :

Kochi and Manjeri to host Federation Cup 2014

Football, Indianfootball, Federation Cup, Kerala, SoccerBringing joy to all football fans in Malappuram, AIFF has confirmed that Federation Cup 2014 will be played in Kochi and Manjeri starting from January 14th. Sixteen teams divided in to four groups will battle it out in the competition.

With the withdrawal of Lansing FC, the hosts Kerala will be represented by Eagles FC Kochi.

The venues are as follows:

Group A and Group C: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Cochin

Group B and Group D: MDS Complex, Manjeri

Semifinals and Final: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Cochin

Bengaluru FC’s Ashley Westwood rebuffs offers from England

Ashley Westwood

Ashley Westwood

According to 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 –

“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.

Manchester City to Hold Football Clinics in India

Manchester City, India, Football Clinic, Jet Airways, Football, Soccer, Delhi, Mumbai, EPL, Premier LeagueManchester City FC football coaching clinics, a grassroots program for young children that aims at improving their technical football skills, will take place in the Capital from December 1 to 8.

The clinics will also include coaching on positioning, dribbling, passing and shooting the ball and will be conducted in a fun atmosphere with emphasis on teamwork and interacting with the coaches to benefit from their vast knowledge.

This is the first joint initiative taken by Etihad Airways and equity alliance partner, Jet Airways, since the transaction for the purchase of 24 per cent of Jet Airways by Etihad Airways was concluded on November 20.

This is Etihad Airways’ first coaching initiative to be held in India aiming to promote sport among the Indian youth.

Etihad Airways is the main partner and shirt sponsor of Manchester City FC and has hosted several football clinics in Abu Dhabi as well as in China, Seychelles and Nigeria.

A coaching team headed by Manchester City’s Community Ambassador Alex Williams MBE, an ex-professional goalkeeper with the club, will visit Mumbai and Delhi to lead 11 training sessions for up to 1,000 children.

The week-long activities will kick off in Mumbai with mall promotions at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel followed by a four-day coaching program in Mumbai.

The team will then travel to Delhi where they will deliver a similar grassroots coaching program and conclude with a major promotion at the DLF Emporio Mall, Vasant Kunj.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief commercial officer said: “Etihad Airways has a proud tradition of hosting grass roots sporting events globally and we are very excited to be bringing our Manchester City FC football clinics to India to celebrate the completion of our partnership with our equity partner Jet Airways.”

Gaurang Shetty, Senior VP, Commercial, Jet Airways said: “We recognise our responsibility to society and stand committed to creating more such opportunities for the development of Indian youth by way of the programs we conduct.”

Source : PTI

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

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. –

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.

Veda FC Crowned Nagaland Premier League Champions

Nagaland Premier League, Footbal, North East, Kohima, Veda FC, Kohima Komets, Indianfootball, SoccerDebutants Veda FC were crowned the champions of the Nagaland Premier League season 2 following a 4-0 win over Dynamic FC at DDSC Stadium, Dimapur Monday. Nagaland Premier League, NPL, Football, North East, Veda FC, Indianfootball, Kohima

Kohima Komets finished on second place with a victory over Doyang FC at Kohima, while Dimapur United FC defeated last year champion, Barak FC 2-0 to finish on third position. Naga Tornadoes beat United Redskins 3-1 to fourth.

Earlier, Rhitsho Mero opened the account for Veda in the 5th minute. After the break Veda FC added three more goals with K. Thopi scoring two goals, second and fourth in 59th and 88th minutes.

The third goal for Veda FC was scored by Kezevituo in the 67th minute. In the first session, Dynamic FC lost number of real opportunities.

Nagaland Premier League Season 2 :

NPL Table

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. 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.

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