Category Archives: International

German Coach for Indian National Team?

Germany, Football, DFB, FA, India, U-17, FIFA World Cup, Wim Koevermans, Asian Games, National Team, Technical Director, Markus WeidnerAccording to a report in Hindustan times, AIFF has sought help from DFB (German national football federation) to share knowledge in areas such as coach education and player’s development. The German FA is willing to help India as well.

Markus Weidner, the head of coach education and international relations, DFB is quoted in Hindustan times, “The AIFF recently asked us to share our knowledge, especially within the technical fields such as coach education, players’ development, etc. The DFB (German national football federation) is willing to assist the AIFF,”.

For AIFF, the priority is to find a coach for the India U-17 team which will taking part in the 2017 World Cup taking place in India. The article also reports that AIFF will seek help from DFB for replacing the current national team coach Wim Koevermans, whose contract expires on October 31.
Earlier media reports suggested that Wim Koevermans will be appointed as the Technical Director of national team once Rob Baan’s stint ends by Dec 31. This article speculates that there would be a change in this plan after India’s pathetic show at the Asian Games.

Squad for Palestine friendlies announced

India, Palestine, Football, Soccer, FIFA, Friendly, October, West Bengal, Kanchenjunga, Siliguri, InternationalWim Koevermans has announced a squad of 20 for the upcoming friendlies with AFC Challenge Cup Champions Palestine. Both the matches will take place at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri, West Bengal on October 6 and 9 respectively.

FIFA Ranks  : India – 158, Palestine : 102 [As of Sep 2014]

Palestine football team recently had a setback in their preparations for the upcoming Asian Cup when their coach Jamal Mahmoud resigned citing personal reasons.

Pritam Kotwal of Mohun Bagan is the sole debutant in the 20 member team. Lalkamal Bhowmick, the Mohun Bagan midfielder and Pune FC’s Arata Izumi will make a comeback to the national team.

Squad :

GOALKEEPERS: Subrata Paul, Karanjit Singh, Amrinder Singh.

DEFENDERS: Denzil Franco, Pritam Kotal, Arnab Mondal, Raju Gaikwad, Sandesh Jhinghan, Aiborlang Khongjee, Narayan Das.

MIDFIELDERS: Mehtab Hossain, Lenny Rodrigues, Arata Izumi, Lalkamal Bhowmick, Francis Fernandes, Clifford Miranda, Victorino Fernandes.

FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Balwant Singh.

STANDBYES: Shilton Paul, Arindam Bhattacharya, Rowilson Rodrigues, Gabriel Fernandes, Seminlen Doungel, Siam Hanghal, Lalrindika Ralte, Thongkhosem Haokip.

Libero Sports India finalists in Football Business Awards 2014

Libero Sports, Football, Soccer, Football Business Awards, 2014, Business, Awards Libero Sports India Private Limited will become first ever business firm from India to get selected as a finalist for the  annual Football Business Awards.

Libero Sports, a football advisory and player representation firm from India is nominated under the Best Business Serving Football – up to £2m turnover (non professional service) category in the 2014 awards.

Football Business Awards instituted in 2012 is an annual networking and recognition platform involving various partners operating across the globe. The 2014 panel of judges include Kevin Keegan OBE (Former Player and Manager. Football Broadcaster) Alistair Mackintosh
(CEO, Fulham FC), Kenny MacLeod (Commercial Director, Scottish FA) among others.

This is a massive achievement for Libero Sports which was formed in 2010. It has grown considerably by involving in strategic consulting and other areas related to football in India and abroad.

AIFF tying up with Brazilian club, Atletico Paranaense

Atletico Paranaense, Brazil, India, AIFF, FIFA, U-17, World Cup, 2017, AIFF, Kushal Das, BrazilAccording a PTI report, All India Football Federation is tying up the with Brazilian club, Atletico Paranaense keeping in mind the 2017 Under-17 World Cup that is slated to take place in the country.

Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF was quoted as saying  “To give exposure to the players, AIFF is tying up with Brazilian team, for an exchange program of the U-17 team,”

The other points that has got a mention in the report are FIFA’s visit to India in November to inspect stadiums for 2017 U-17 World cup,  the viability of football as a profession and the need for state associations being agile for the development at grass root level. Kerala and Mizoram were picked out and mentioned by  the General Secretary on the last aspect.

Apart from the usual backing up of ISL from the federation, Kushal Das has mentioned the importance of connecting to the fans through regional languages. Star Sports will be broadcasting the new league in 5 languages – Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam and Kannada.

Santosh Trophy also gets a surprise mention. Apparently there are plans to telecast Santosh Trophy matches as well.

Read the report here.

Asian Games 2014 : Men’s Football Schedule

After all the uncertainty, Indian Football team will start their 2014 Asian Games 2014 sojourn on September 15th, when they take on a formidable opposition in UAE.  India is grouped along UAE and Jordan in Group G and their matches take place at the Hwaseong Stadium and the Incheon Munhak Stadium. Two teams will qualify to the round 16 from the group.

India, Football, Asian Games, 2014,  UAE, Jordan,  Group G, Indianfootball, Mens, Incheon

Indian Football team may miss out on Asian Games 2014

Asian Games, Football, India, Indianfootball, team, south koreaReports are surfacing that the Indian football team may miss out on participating in the upcoming Incheon Asian games 2014. With Indian Olympic Association submitting a bumper list of 900 people including athletes and officials, to the sports ministry for approval for travelling to the Sept. 19-Oct. 4 Games in the South Korean city of Incheon, sports ministry would be forced to prune the list.  

Lacklustre performance against Pakistan in the recently friendlies have also not helped the team’s chances. SAI director Jiji Thomson was in attendance at the Bangalore stadium when the Indian team comprising  mainly under-23 players took on the Pakistan team.  

Jiji Thomoson was quoted in Times of India saying  :

“I am a football fan and I was present at the match. I can only say that the performance was very disappointing,”

If the team is not cleared by the ministry, All India Football Federation would be forced to pay from their pockets to send the team for Asian games 2014. In an article in The Telegraph a senior official is quoted that the government will not bear the cost of the men’s and women’s football teams in the Asian Games 2014.

“A final decision would only be taken after a week, but there is every chance the government would not bear the cost of the men’s and women’s football teams in the Asian Games. Of course, the AIFF (All India Football Federation) can send the team on their own,” 

However this is not the first time that the football team is being forced out of Asian Games by government. In 1990 and 1994 the government had stopped the football team from going for the Asian Games.

Indian Super League partners with English Premier League

ISL, Indian Super League, EPL, England, Premier League, Clubs, Richard Scudamore, Britain, Nita Ambani, Reliance, IMG, India, LeagueAccording to a report in PTI today, the upcoming Indian Super League has has entered into a strategic partnership with the English Premier League, the world’s most popular and successful football league, to bring its best practices to India under an exchange programme. 

Through the alliance, Indian Super League will help Premier League and its clubs in staging football matches and assist in other business development initiatives in India.

Here are a few excerpts from the PTI report :

Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, said, “Having earlier this year signed a mutual co-operation agreement with the Asian Football Confederation, we are very pleased to also enter into this partnership with ISL. This will see both organisations work together and share knowledge in several key areas including player development, refereeing, marketing and promotion. 

“We know from our broadcast partner Star India, and our work with AIFF on our long-established grassroots football project Premier Skills that we run in several locations across India, that the popularity of football, and Premier League, is growing. There is a further opportunity to develop the sport as a result of that increased interest and we hope to continue to make a real contribution to all levels of Indian football.” 

IMG-Reliance chairperson Nita Ambani said, “Partnering with Premier League brings credence to ISL and to our vision of popularizing the sport in India. I am confident the tie-up will immensely help in nurturing and establishing ISL with good governance and best practices. The alliance also presents a great opportunity of partnership and cross promotions between the ISL League Partners and Premier League Clubs.” 

Jeff Slack, senior vice-president, IMG, Global Football Development, said, “The ability to leverage the Premier League’s experience in creating a successful league model for both players and fans will be a tremendous value to the Indian Super League as it continues to grow the sport in India.” 

Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India said, “The partnership puts belief in our Star’s sports philosophy ‘Believe’. From a game that hobbled about on the fringes of Indian sports, there’s promise that this partnership will lift and reinvigorate football. Through this tie-up, Star India will cross promote coverage of ISL and Premier League to the growing base of Indian football followers.” 

AIFF president Praful Patel said, “The AIFF is extremely pleased to be a part of the strategic partnership between the EPL and ISL. This is an outstanding opportunity for ISL to build from the very best in the business when it comes to running a highly successful league.”

INDIA – Are You Really Interested In Qualifying For a Senior World Cup? Just Look At The Results and You Will Understand Where to Focus!

Guest column by by Yogesh Maurya (Football coach).  

Thanks firstly to my good friend Tom Byer for pointing me in the direction of this whole new way of thinking a few years ago, some of which I am going to present now.

2017, FIFA, U-17, World Cup, India, Football, SoccerIndia is hosting the U17 World Cup in 2017.  And as the host nation, they qualify automatically.  I love the U17 tournament because it is often a big coming out party for future professionals who have not yet signed pro contracts or made their debuts. Countless top players have played in it.  But it is my contention that until India qualifies for U17 World Cup through the AFC U16 competition, we will keep wasting our breath about the senior tournament.

Look, for all those people who think the elite player pool solution is going to bring consistent results that match what we now see Japan delivering, South Korea and even North Korea…the results tell a very different story.  What do I mean?  I did a little research on World Cup qualification.  Simple research.  No algorithms.  No big data mining.  It worked on my envelope and my cocktail napkin, and I deduced a conclusion that is terribly obvious yet I am unsure whether a lot of people get it yet.  My eyes might have missed a few things here and there, but the results are so clearly in one direction, they can only be rounding errors!

So this is what I did:

I looked at all the countries that have qualified for the Senior Men’s FIFA World Cup since 2002 (4 World Cups) and then looked to see if those countries had ever qualified for the FIFA U17 World Cup (excluding qualifying for hosting).  Please note that the U17 WC was 16 teams until 2007, when it was increased to 24 teams.  For the U17 WC, which is held every 2 years I went all the way back to the 2001 tournament.

Amongst the Brazil 2014 countries that have qualified, only five, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Russia, and Greece had not qualified for U17…that is 5 out of 32!  Well, all these countries are also from the two most competitive footballing continents on the planet so really not a big deal.  Every country from the AFC had qualified for U17! But when I saw these countries that had not qualified for U17, I thought, let us look at the U20 World Cup as well.  In the U20 World Cup, many players have already made their professional debut.  All of a sudden the list got even smaller.  Only Bosnia & Herzegovina left.  And we know how competitive football is in that region.  So 1 country out of 32!

Next I looked at Germany 2010:  Only Serbia and Slovenia had not qualified for an U17 or U20.

South Africa 2006:  Only the former Serbia & Montenegro had not qualified for a U17 or U20.

Japan and South Korea 2002:  Only Slovenia and Senegal.  Again, very competitive continents in Europe and Africa in terms of producing top world talent.

We are talking about 4 countries over 4 World Cups spanning the last 12 years!  Note that no AFC country is in the list, and I excluded qualification for hosting!  Many of the countries have qualified for the U17 and U20 consistently as well.  And for those of you who think Burkina Faso’s runner-up finish in the African Cup of Nations and their playoff run in the World Cup qualifiers is surprising, just see their U17 and U20 qualification record.

So what does it mean?  India is highly unlikely to qualify for the World Cup without first qualifying for the U17 or U20, even if they expand the field.  So India should focus on qualifying (not by hosting it) for the U17 by advancing through the AFC U16 Championship.   And by the way, none of the top Asian countries are just resting on their laurels.  They keep pushing the boundary so there is work to do.

Where?  At the youngest ages.  But how?  It is not about starting an academy or putting some investment into grassroots.  Barcelona spends something near 10 million euros a year on La Masia, depending on whose figures are to be used.  They are the example everyone looks at.  They still saw fit to buy Neymar for 100 million.

Are we paying attention to the African nations that are producing players competing in The Champion’s League?  Many of them do not have the wealth and resources India does.  Therefore it is not about infrastructure either.  I digress slightly here.  The greatest American baseball relief pitcher of all-time, Mariano Rivera used old milk cartons for a glove, and fishing nets and worn out baseballs for a ball.  He mastered one pitch and rode that to being the best ever.  And I am not suggesting this is socioeconomic either.  It is not about the socioeconomic background of the player.

There is a whole different paradigm going on here.  Do you understand it?  Do you even see it?

PS/ and a hint though really I have explained it many times:  The Japanese women’s team has already won the World Cup.  The U17 Women’s team just won the U17 title, waxing everyone if I might say…21 goals for, 1 goal against. Beat Spain twice.  If you cannot see it in my posts, you might see it through watching them.

Yogesh Maurya :

Football Yogi- Article 1-edited (1)

Yogesh Maurya played Collegiate soccer for Columbia University in New York and was a United States High School All American, representing New Jersey in the US Olympic development program. In the last 4 years alone, he has spent over 3000 hours on and off the pitch coaching and studying tactics and youth player development.

 

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.

Indian Boys Impress at the Nike All-Asia Camp in Doha

Every year Nike conducts an All Asia Camp where young talents from Asian countries are trained and scouted by coaches from top clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter-Milan.

Nike, Asia, India, Football, Aspire Academy, Qatar, Doha, Indianfootball,Gursimrat Singh, Rakesh Oram , Milan Basumatary , Bidyananda Singh, Dheeraj Singh

Rakesh Oram, Dheeraj Singh, Milan Basumatary, Bidyananda Singh, Gursimrat Singh

This time around the camp was conducted at the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar. India sent five prodigies to attend the camp. Gursimrat Singh (centre back), Rakesh Oram (winger), Milan Basumatary (striker), Bidyananda Singh (midfielder) and Dheeraj Singh (goalkeeper) attended the three day camp conducted by top coaches from Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter-Milan.On the final day of the camp, players who impressed the coaches are selected to play in an All Stars game. Gursimrat Singh and Bidyananda Singh from India were selected to play in this All-Stars match. Bidyananda Singh scored the opening goal in the match.

Bidyananda Singh, an AIFF Navi-Mumbai academy starlet further impressed the coaches and was selected as the MVP of the camp by Barcelona coaches. Bidyananda Singh who plays in a defensive midfielder role, impressed the Barcelona coaches at the camp and is reportedly to be on their radar.

Nike, Asia, India, Football, Aspire Academy, Qatar, Doha, Indianfootball, Bidyananda Singh

Bidyananda Singh with his blonde hair was dubbed the Indian Honda while at the Aspire Academy because of his uncanny resemblance with Japanese Intentional Keisuke Honda. “They also called me that because they couldn’t pronounce my name,” said the 16-year-old to TNIE. Such opportunities for players from India will help foreign clubs and scouts to keep a tab on the talent that is available in India.

Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy, said to The Peninsula, “We are very pleased to host young Asian footballers. The importance of the training is not only the fact that coaches from European Leagues get to identify future stars of football, but also their visit gives them a closer look at amazing sporting facilities at the academy, giving them a feel of the love in the Gulf, especially Qatar.”

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