Look back : India’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers from 1998 to 2014

World Cup Qualifiers, FIFA, India, World Cup, Soccer, Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, I.M Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri, 2014, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010With India’s 2018 World Cup qualification hopes in shambles after the 3-0 loss to Oman on Tuesday, we decided to check and compile India’s performances in world cup qualifiers over the years starting from 1998. There are some interesting results and our best qualifying campaign was for the 2002 world cup. Sukhwinder Singh coached team that had stalwarts like Baichung Bhutia, I.M Vijayan and Jo Paul Ancheri managed some great results in that campaign. Here are the results from the World Cup qualifiers matches that we played from 1998 to 2014.

1998 World Cup :

34 Asian nations took part in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers. India was in Group 10 along with Qatar, Sri Lanka and Philippines.  We managed a win against Philippines, a draw with Sri Lanka and a 6-0 mauling at the hands of Qatar. Nothing to be proud of. Qatar progressed in to the next round as group winners.  Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea represented Asia in the 1998 World Cup that took place in France.

Table :

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Qatar 3 0 0 0 14 0 14 9
2 Sri Lanka 3 1 1 1 4 4 0 4
3 India 3 1 1 1 3 7 -4 4
4 Philippines 3 0 0 3 0 10 -10 0

Matches :

21-Sep-96
India 2-0 Philippines
Khalifa International Stadium Doha, Qatar
24-Sep-96
 Sri Lanka  1-1 India
Khalifa International Stadium Doha, Qatar
27-Sep-96
Qatar 6-0 India
Khalifa International Stadium Doha, Qatar

2002 World Cup

40 Asian nations took part in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. India was in Group 08  along with UAE, Yemen and Brunei. This has to be our best qualification campaign in recent past. We managed to defeat UAE at home, held Yemen for a draw and thumped Brunei for a whopping five goals to nil. Coached by Sukhwinder Singh, Indian team finished third in the group. Some positives from the campaign were the home win against Arab giant UAE and the 11 goals we managed score in the campaign. South Korea, Japan (Hosts), Saudi Arabia and China PR represented Asian in the 2002 World Cup.

Table :

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1  United Arab Emirates 6 4 0 2 21 5 16 12
2  Yemen 6 3 2 1 14 8 6 11
3 India 6 3 2 1 11 5 6 11
4  Brunei 6 0 0 6 0 28 -28 0

Matches :

8-Apr-01
India 1-0 UAE
 Alberto  71′
Bangalore Stadium, Bangalore

Attendance: 12,000

   15-Apr-01
 India  1-1  Yemen
 Bhutia  53′  Al Ghurbani  43′
Bangalore Stadium, Bangalore

Attendance: 21,000

26-Apr-01
UAE 1-0 India
Khater  63′

Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium,

Al Ain City

Attendance: 12,000

4-May-01
Yemen 3-3 India
Al-Salimi  13′ (p),  20′,  62′ Ancheri  16′,  38′

Vijayan  51′

Althawra Sports City Stadium, San‘a’

Attendance: 25,000

11-May-01
Brunei 0-1 India
Ancheri 75′
Sultan Hassal Bolkiah Stadium, Bandar Seri Begawan
Attendance: 4,000
20-May-01
India 5-0 Brunei
Alberto  12′
Vijayan  23′
Bhutia 35′ (p)
Ancheri  59′
Hakim 80′
Bangalore Stadium, Bangalore
Attendance: 7,000

2006 World Cup

In 2016 AFC introduced a preliminary round in the qualifications. 14 last ranked teams would fight it out in a preliminary round. However, India was not among the 14 last ranked nations and qualified directly to play in Round 2. India was in Group 3 along with Japan, Oman and Singapore. This campaign was nothing short of a disaster for India. This campaign ended Stephen Constantine’s first stint with India. We conceded 16 goals and could only score 2 in the  whole campaign. Stephen Constantine was sacked and Sukhwinder took on the reigns in 2005.

Table :

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Japan 6 6 0 0 16 1 15 18
2 Oman 6 3 1 2 14 3 11 10
3 India 6 1 1 4 2 18 -16 4
4  Singapore 6 1 0 5 3 13 -10 3

Matches :

18-Feb-04
India 1-0 Singapore
 Alberto  71′
Fatorda Stadium, Margao

Attendance: 28,000

31-Mar-2004
 India  1-1  Oman
Renedy  18′ Amad Ali 12′

Ahmed Mubarak  26′, 49′

Al Hinai 60′, 88′

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi

Attendance: 48,000

9-Jun-04
Japan 7-0 India
Kubo 12′
Fukunishi 25′
Nakamura 29′
Suzuki 54′
Nakazawa 65′, 76′
Ogasawara 68′

Saitama Stadium, Saitama

Attendance:  63,000

8-Sep-04
India 0-4 Japan
Suzuki Goal 45′

Ono 60′
Fukunishi 71′
Miyamoto 87′

Yuva Bharati Krirangan, Bidhannagar

Attendance: 90,000

13-Oct-04
Singapore 2-0 India
 Sahdan Goal 73′
Mohd Goal 76
Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
Attendance: 3,609
17-Nov-04
Oman 0-0 India
Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat
Attendance: 2,000

2010 World Cup

In 2010 AFC introduced seeding for teams in the qualifiers. Seeding for the first two rounds was based each team’s performance during the qualification stage for the previous World Cup. Nations ranked 1-5 after seeding directly qualified for the third round of qualifiers, where as nations ranked 6–43 entered the first round, with teams ranked from 6–24 drawn against teams ranked from 25–43. Bob Houghton coached India was drawn against Lebanon in the first round match that was played in an home and away format. We suffered a 4-1 defeat in the away match at Lebanon but managed to hold them for a draw in Goa. Asutralia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea represented Asia in 2010 World Cup.

Matches :

08-oct-2007
Lebanon 4-1 India
Antar 33′
Ghaddar 62′, 76′
El Ali 63′
Chetri 30′
Saida International Stadium, Saida

Attendance: 500

30-Oct-2007
 India  1-1  Lebanon
Chhetri 29′
Dias 90+2′
Ghaddar 72′ (pen.), 85′
Fatorda Stadium, Goa

Attendance: 10,000

2014 World Cup

For the 2014 World Cup, AFC’s competitions committee decided to follow the same format of 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Teams ranked 1–5 directly qualified to the group stages of qualifiers. Those ranked 6-27 received a bye to the 2nd round of qualification and teams ranked 28-43 played the 1st round of qualification. We received a bye to play in the 2nd round of qualifiers and were pitted against UAE. Armando Colaco had taken over the reigns from Bob Houghton by the time we took on UAE in an away match on 23-July-2011, in we got defeated 3-0.

23-july-2011
UAE 3-0 India
Al Kamali 21′ (pen.)
Al Shehhi 29′ (pen.)
Al Hammadi Goal 81′
Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium, Al Ain
Attendance: 3,179
28-july-2011
 India  2-2  UAE
Jeje 74′
Gouramangi 90+2′
Al Shehhi 40′
Al-Wehaibi 72′
Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi
Attendance: 13,000

Our hopes to qualify for 2018 World Cup are over. Recently we lost 3-0 to Oman and that was our fifth consecutive defeat in this qualifying campaign. For the uninitiated, such bad results are not new for our football team. 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign has also been disrupted because of ISL coinciding with the qualifiers. Let us hope that our team manage to win some upcoming home matches. Mean while, hoping that you enjoyed this compilation of the results from the past.

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.

Kerala Blasters – ISL Season II Preview

Kerala Blasters, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India, kochi, Kerala

 

 

Kerala Blasters, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

Kerala Blasters had an amazing first season, they exceeded all expectations by reaching the finals of first season. Blighted with ownership issues KBFC remained low key during the ISL auction but picked up some good players in the player draft. They have roped in an experienced Coach in Peter Taylor who will replace David James who was the marquee player/ manger last season. Trevor Morgan, former East Bengal coach remains as the assistant coach.

 

 

Blasters have recruited former Westham Goal Keeper Stephen Bywater, who will replace David James as the foreign keeper this season. Experienced custodian Sandip Nandy and Mohun Bagan goal Keeper Shilton Paul are the other goal keepers in the squad. Bywater will be the first choice keeper, otherwise we will see Sandip Nandy replacing him in the lineup.

 

 

Blasters have recruited former New Castle defender Peter Ramage who is expected to play a crucial role this season. Former Spanish International and World Cup winner Carlos Marchena (Marquee Player), Sandesh Jhinghan and Marcus Williams are the other stand out players in defense.

 

 

In the middle of the park, Blasters have a variety of options. Portuguese player Joao Coimbra and former Barca trained Josu is expected to start in the middle. CK Vineeth with his blistering pace could earn spot on the left. The other options in midfield are Cavin Lobo, Shankar, Mehtab Hussian Ishfaq Ahmed, Pulga and Peter Carvalho.

 

 

The real struggle for Blasters last season was scoring goals. They managed to score only 11 goals last season and out of that 5 were scored by Iain Hume who has then moved on to reigning champions ATK. Management seems to have put in a lot of thought to avoid the goal drought by signing some good talent upfront. The forward line-up of Chris Dagnall, former Arsenal man Sanchez Watt, Antonio German, Mohammed Rafi and Manandeep Singh, is quite a formidable one.

 

 

Blasters conceded only 11 goals last season, the lowest among all the teams. They will be looking to improve upon this record this season. With a great home support, Blasters could again be the surprise package of this season.

Indian Super League Season II – Northeast United FC Team Preview

North East United, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

 

North East United takes on Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League season II inaugural match. Here is a preview of the team from Aditya Shandilya.

North East United, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, IndiaNortheast United FC had a dismal outing in the inaugural season of ISL last year despite starting out well as they finished at the bottom of the table. Though it was hardly a reflection of the talent at their disposal. Their management now had put disappointment behind and rebuild the squad with some good acquisitions. The heart of the highlanders remains the northeastern players as all domestic players are from that region of country.

Starting from the goal post, in Lalthuammawia Ralte of I League runners up Bengaluru FC they notched up a jewel. Ralte appeared in each and every game of BFC this season and managed a lot of clean sheets. Gennaro Bracigliano has been handed a goalkeeping coach cum player role this season. His quality was obvious in ISL 1 with Chennaiyin FC and it provides north eastern club with added options along with their young Kerala born GK T P Rehenesh. They have the advantage of having two good Indian goalkeeper in Ralte and Rehenesh.
In defence they have retained Miguel Garcia and snatched Kerala Blasters FC most reliable defender in ISL 1 Cedric Hengbert. Garcia is the player of the season for Sporting club de Goa this time around and is credible center back. Hengbert and Garcia may come up as a strong defensive wall in, if  they click. Along with them will be Aibor Khongjee who was recently is called for national duty against Iran after his stellar show for Shillong Lajong in I-league. If Farias go for four center back then Robin Gurung , Raju Yumnum and Zohmingliana Ralte have to compete for the spot in opening 11. While Ralte is centre back who is good in the air on the other hand Robin and Yumnum are left back with Yumnum played 16 games for Pune FC last season.
In midfield they have their marquee signing Simao Sabrosa to rely upon and if he still match fit then he can team up with Bruno Arias who switched from Delhi Dynamos. But the pick of the auction for highlanders, Seityasen Singh will be the key  man in midfield if the team have to succeed. His performance in I league for Royal Wahingdoh make him the second best midfielder after Eugeneson Lyngdoh and team’s assistant manager Santosh kashyap will know what Seityasen exactly brings to the team. Sanju Pradhan, Boithang Haokip and Marlingki Suting provide options in the flank alongside Bengaluru FC’s Siam Hangal and Alen Deory. Midfield looks very versatile and experienced as well.
Coming to the forward line, the surprise grab by Northeast United is Nicolas Velez. The Argentine is in tremendous form for Warrior FC of S league by netting 21 goals in 26 appearances. If he can replicate the same showing in ISL then he will turn out to be the buy of the season. In Holicharan Narzary we have a very talented partner who is now pretty successful in the national scene as well. Boubacar Sanogo, their latest signing is also a goal machine, he may not be at his best but provides much needed experience in forward line while Ghana’s Francis Dadzie is also a young prolific striker in good form. This makes North East’s forward line a formidable one.
So now it is up to NEUFC to come out all guns blazing in Indian Super League.

Ratings :

 

Goalkeeper : 

8

 

 

They have picked good foreign and a best Indian goalkeeper and so there is less to worry on this front.

 

Defence : 6

They are short on options as far as foreign players are concerned. Injury to any of them will be a huge concern.

Midfield : 7

 

They will rely lot on their marquee player Simao Sabrosa and Seityasen Singh. These players have to perform for highlanders to succeed. Seityasen is key between their transition between defense and attack and as he has been in good form recently.

Forward : 7

 

They have the players who can score goals but lack of Indian players up front may cause problem in cramped tournament like this. Injury to Holicharan Narzary  is injured and this could disrupt their plans. His timely recovery is important for Cesar Farias’s team.

Coach:
As far as Cesar Farias is concerned, the ex Venezuela coach have a reputation of bringing less fancied squad to the top as coach of Venezuela junior and senior teams. His assistant Santosh Kashyap also made his name during his stint at Royal Wahingdoh during last I league season. Both

believes in strong midfield so they may go for 4-4-2 or 3-4-3 formation.

Formation & starting line-up : 4-4-2 or 3-4-3

 

Ralte, Garcia, Aibor, Raju, Hengbert, Simao, Bruno, Seityasen, Sanju Pradhan, Holicharan, Nicolas

 

Player to watch:

 

Nicolas velez. He is well acclaimed striker as of now and many Asian clubs will be keeping a keen eye on him. Easily makes him the most important player for Northeast United. Last time around highlanders struggled due to their lack of goals, mainly due to the failure of James Keene and Durga Boro. Hopefully Velez will step-up and make up for the paucity of goals for North East United.

Unpredicatbale as it can get – Indian Super League Season II Preview!

ISL Season II Preview

 

ISL is as unpredictable as it can get, says Saji Pillai. Read on.

Indian Super League became the fortune changer of the Indian football from the first season itself. This became the fifth popular league in the world and first in Asia according to number of viewers watched that in stadium. It turned out to be most complicated league in the world as there is no hot favorite, any team can be champions. The results of the matches have been quite unpredictable.

Summary and chances of teams are detailed :

 

Atletico De Kolkata: Team shows professionalism and with their marquee player Helder Postiga they will advance well in the league. But retaining the championship is going to be difficult for them. Primarily because of two reasons. All other teams have strengthened up this season, and have also brought in much younger players. Hume will fuel their attacks and fill the void of Fikru.

 

Kerala Blasters: Last season KBFC appeared with a weak team and surprised every other fancied teams with their ground support. This time they have a well balanced team filled with young blood. Most of their overseas players are from England and some of them have EPL expreience. In Carlos Marchena they have a veteran marquee player. Fuelled by their great ground support KB will turn out to be a nightmare to play against for all teams this season too.

 

Chennayin FC: According to me, Chennayin FC was the best team previous year. They lost the service of Djemba Bjemba but have added couple of more quality foreigners that will boost their performance and they will be a great threat this season too.

 

Delhi Dynamos: Strongest team on paper with some big names. Malouda and Riise will still pose threat against any team. Apart from them, the team doesn’t look to be a great one. This paucity of quality could be a constraint for their ambitions.

 

FC Pune City: The best team this season according to me. But veteran players will be prone to injuries and this could hamper their chances.

 

Mumbai city FC: Do not fancy much chance for them, but they can upset anybody on their day. Anelka and Sunil Chhetri combination will be a treat to watch.

 

North east united FC: North East United have made some great signings this season. The team comprising former Portuguese international Simão Sabrosa, Senagalese striker Diomansy Kamara and a host of Indian players from NEUFC will look to improve upon their performance from last season.

 

FC Goa: Zico managed FC Goa has a host of Brazilian players in their ranks including former Brazil international Lucio. For me, this team looks the weakest. But Zico is a highly experienced coach and has cherry picked his team for this season and it might just click for them.

 

Parting Shot : ISL season will be unpredictable. Every team has strengthened and no in special. Anyone can become the champion.

 

Tactial Preview of Mumbai City FC – ISL Season II

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India
 

Anelka’s inexperience as a manager would be Mumbai City FC’s biggest weakness this season says Maulik Mehta. Here is an excellent tactical preview of Mumbai City FC from him. Read on.

Mumbai City Football Club the team with a lot to prove this season!! Restricted by injuries to key players in the inaugural season their campaign didn’t had a happy ending.The club’s hopes were dashed last season as they finished second from the bottom of the table in the eight-team competition. However, having assembled a squad of powerful, attacking players for the second season, the club looks a rejuvenated side aiming to finish their unfinished business.

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, IndiaPersonally with the embarrassment of riches MCFC possess in attack they should employ a 4-1-3-2 formation or a 4-4-2 diamond primarily at home or against goal shy teams who come to sit back and defend. Norde & Moritz should cut inside allowing the fullbacks to net in crosses from wide and form a potent attacking threat. However, the presence of only one defensive midfielder in the form of Juan Aguilera will make them susceptible on the break. Also, non-tracking back by wingers could be an issue that could be looked upon by the opponents. Any alterations could include the involvement of L.Ralte on the wings or as an attacking midfielder that could allow Sunil Chhetri to form a terrifying partnership with the French superstar. Ashutosh Mehta & L.Mawia could be used in the right and left full back spots especially when the games come thick & fast. However any injury to Subrata Paul would disrupt their whole campaign since their backups Albino & Debjith are young & lack big match experience. It would be fascinating & interesting to see who replaces and how they cope when Subrata Paul isn’t around.

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

A more holistic approach could be used during away matches where you need to make sure you don’t concede early and keep the match tight and counter attack the rivals. They can use a 4-4-1-1 formation without the ball and a 4-2-3-1 formation during ball possession which could keep them compact as well as maintain stability during attack as well as in defense. They could use piqiounne & subhash singh mainly in the second half to hold the ball up and run at the defenses which could eventually lead them to a goal or two.Also Gabriel Fernandes mainly a right wing player known for its attacking prowess as well as tracking back could come on to preserve the goal lead.

Personally speaking I can’t see Mumbai city employing a back 3 with the lack of wing backs slots. The Indian pair of Gabriel & Rowilson along with much talented Brandon Fernandes could be used predominantly from the bench.

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

Anelka and Piqiounne could be used in alternate matches however I don’t see both of them starting in a single match. Also, Subhash Singh with the wealth of stamina and pace could be used from the start, however I do question his ball holding skills. Honestly Subhash Singh could be destructive on the right flank or as a 2nd striker. The likes of Mortiz, Norde, Chettri & Cmovs would remain the players to watch out for MCFC this season.

This season MCFC may not be the favorites but they do have a great team lined up. However it remains to be seen how Nicolas Anelka manages and sets his team up. Most ISL Teams have Managers with wealth of experience & it remains to be seen how Anelka copes with the demanding nature of the league. This could turn out to be their biggest weaknesses. Also, they do have a tendency to concede 3goals though their requisite power packed midfield has the capability to score 4 and win it for the team.

Personally, I do think they will finish just outside the top 4 not because they don’t have a great side mainly because other sides are much stronger than MCFC.

Follow the author of this preview – Maulik Mehta on twitter here.

North, East, South, West: Indian Super League Season II preview

ISL Season II Preview

 

Second Season of ISL is going to be even more exciting says Mariadon Pathaw. He previews the 2nd season for Football News India.

The season one of the Indian Super League was a major success and surpassed the expectations. Who would have ever imagined such a huge turnout for the matches? Thanks to relentless marketing through traditional channels and Social media, crowd thronged each and every venue across the nation to back their teams. Another important factor was the celebrity owners from cricket and bollywood. They too played a part in wooing the crowd to the stadium. Excellent packaging from Star Sports helped the telecast being a hit on Television as well with millions tuning to watch the matches.

The buzz created by the league in the first season has helped it in grabbing the attention of sponsors for the second season. In terms of sponsorship, various brands have renewed their deals with the teams while some, after witnessing the huge success of season one, have entered the fray. Some of the brands associated with Indian Super League teams include HTC, McDowell’s, Garnier (NEUFC,; Fair and handsome, HRX (Pune city fc), Muthoot Pappachan Group, Prime Meridian (Kerala Blasters), Ozone group (Chennaiyin FC), and  Ace Group (Mumbai City Fc)

In terms of revenues from sponsorship ISL made around Rs.55 crore last season and is expected to double for this year. Second season of ISL has attracted various new sponsors and official partners. Reports have appeared that Flipkart, HP Enterprise and Imperial Blue have signed on as official partners, DHL as the logistics partner and Volini as the official pain relief partner. Maruti Suzuki and Amul has renewed sponsorship with ISL. Apart from these, Pepsi is the official pouring partner, Puma the ball partner and Muthoot group the refereeing partner.

The preseason kicked off outside the country with only Kerala Blasters opting to train in India. The preparation for the season was carried out in countries such as South Africa, Dubai, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Turkey because of the lack of proper facilities in India. Football needs to evolve in the country.

Let us take a look of the player recruitment and most importantly, the marquee signings.

North East United, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

NEUFC lacked attacking masters in the first season and finished rock bottom. So, in order to enhance their goal scoring results, NEUFC has recruited Simao Sabrosa, a Portuguese international, as their marquee player. With the experience of Simao, I believe he will be the mastermind in mentoring the young lads of North east. Diomancy Kamara, a former Portsmouth, Fulham and West Brom Albion player will lead the line for the North East outfit.

Among the Indian Players, Aiborlang Khongjee is expected to cement his place at the defense along with Kondwani Mtonga. Rehenesh TP who had an outstanding season last time will have to compete for a spot between the posts with Bengaluru Fc’s L. Ralte and Gennaro Bracigliano. New recruits Sanju Pradhan and the talented Seityasen Singh will play an important role at the heart of midfield. Other players include Cedric Hengbart, Silas, Bruno Arias, Miguel Garcia, Nicolas Velez, Gennaro Bracigliano, Francis Dadzie, Boubacar Sanogo, Robin Gurung, Alen Deory, Boithang Haokip, Holicharan Narzary,Zohmingliana Ralte, Marlangki Suting, Raju Yumnam, Reagan Singh and Siam Hanghal.

Atletico De Kolkata, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

The reigning Champions have Helder Postiga as their marquee player. This 33 year old Portuguese International will be lined up as a lone striker in the Playing XI and he knows exactly what is being asked of him. Singing the hardworking Ian Hume will be definite boost for the team. Syed Nabi had a forgettable season one and is all set for a new beginning. Denzil Franco, Josemi and Arnab Mondal were crucial for the champions last season and will be expected  to repeat the same feat this season.

Josemi will lead the side after renewing his deal with the club. The other  players in the ATK squad are Rino Anto, Kunzang Bhutia, Arata Izumi, Lalchchawnkima, Amrinder Singh, Valdo, Sameeh Doutie, Javi Lara, Juan Calatayud, Tiri, Jaime Martinez, Nallappan Mohanraj, Baljit Sahni, Nadong Bhutia, Seikh Raja, Sushil Singh, Clifford Miranda, Ofentse Nato, and Augustin Fernandes.

Chennayin FC, Indian Super League, Season 2, II, ISL, Hero

The first Indian player to score in the ISL, Balwant Singh, is a deadly threat up front and with the presence of the Indian International Forward, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Chennaiyin looks all set to showcase their Indian talent. Not to forget, Fikru Lamessa also joined Chennaiyin Fc! So imagine the situation where Balwant, Fikru, Jeje and the top scorer Elano all playing together in a 4-3-3 position, managed by the Italian legend Materazzi. Chennaiyin is all set to tear the defence of any team. Bernard Mendy with his unforgettable goal in the first season is a fan favourite.

Godwin Franco has been amazing during his stint with Royal Wahingdoh Fc and will be an important figure in the midfield. Karanjit Singh is expected to start between the posts while Manipuri Thoi Singh will be a force to reckon with in the midfield. The team comprises of Abhishek Das, Dhanachandra Singh, Harmanjot Khabra, Jayesh Rane, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Apoula Bete, Alessandro Potenza, Manuele Blasi, Cristian Hidalgo, Eder Fernandes, Mailson Alves, Raphael Augusto, Bruno Pelissari, John Mendoza, Dhanpal Ganesh, Zakeer Mundampara, Lalhmangaihsanga, Justin Stephen and Nidhin Lal.

Kerala Blasters, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

Kerala Blasters had an amazing first season with former England goal keeper David James as manager. In season 2, however KBFC will not have the services of David James. They have appointed English manager Peter Taylor to guide them. Former East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan will assist Peter Taylor. Michael Chopra is no longer part of the side and  the team has a host of promising Indians in the line up like CK Vineeth, Mehtab Hossain, Shankar Sampangi, Cavin Lobo and Mohammed Rafi.

Carlos Marchena is the marquee player and is definitely the man to watch. In his career he has played for top Spanish clubs like Sevilla, Benfica, Valencia, Villareal and last played for La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna until the end of 2013-2014 season. Cavin Lobo who scored two important goals against FC Goa last season for the champions ATK will be an added advantage to this runners up side. Main man at the heart of defence will be Sandesh Jhingan who had a brilliant outing against Iran in the World Cup qualifiers. He has the potential to become the best defender in the country if he stays away from injury and become more consistent. Sandesh will retain his place in a back line that will also have Gurwinder Singh and englishman and former Newcastle United player Peter Ramage. KBFC conceded a paltry nine goals last season and they will look to continue the same trend this season as well. Other members in the team include Peter Carvalho, Sandip Nandy, Shilton Paul, Stephen Bywater, Rahul Beke, Ishfaq Ahmed, Josu, Ramandeep Singh, Saumik Dey, Chris Dagnall, Marcus Williams, Sanchez Watt, Antonio German, Bruno Perone, Victor Forcada, Joao Coimbra and Manandeep Singh

FC Goa, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

FC Goa’s coach Zico has brought in a lot of Brazilian talent to Goa for this season. They have some exciting Indian players too in the squad. Lucio, a World Cup winner with Brazil will be their marquee player. Zico, who also announced his candidacy for FIFA’s Head position, also have the likes of Jofre, Reinaldo and Gregory Arnolin in the team. Darryl Duffy,who has been brought in from the Goan I-league team Salgaocar has the experience of Indian football and knows what it takes to fire the team to victory. He along with Reinaldo, a former PSG player,could make a big impact this season.

Exciting Indian youngster Romeo Fernandes will look to replicate his exploits in the first season which earned a rather calamitous foreign move. Other Indian talents at Zico’s disposal are  Joaquim Abranches, C Sabeeth, Debabrata Roy, Raju Gaikwad, Luis Barreto, Keenan Almeida, Nicolau Colaco, Denson Devadas, Laxmikant Kattimani, Narayan Das, Bikramjit Singh,Mandar Desai, Pronay Haldar, T Haokip and Victorino Fernandes.

FC Pune City, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

Pune City FC has roped in two exciting players who were outstanding for their clubs in the 2014-2015 I-League season- Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Jackichand Singh.

Eugeneson Lyngdoh, the Shillong lad, who created history during the recent ISL auction is one of the best player in India at the moment, after having won the midfielder of the season award in the I-League. Ene is calm and cool and has already been praised by the Head Coach David Platt, a former Manchester City asst manager.  Eugenson’s form will be very crucial for FC Pune City’s title ambitions. Besides Eugeneson in the midfield will be  I-League’s player of the season Jackichand Singh who scored some amazing goals for Royal Wahingdoh FC.

Fc Pune city have a strong team with some  big names in Yendrick Ruiz, Adrian Mutu, Tuncay Sanli and former Indian national team mainstays Lenny Rodrigues and Gouramangi Singh. Pune looks very strong as an attacking force. The team is composed of  Arindam Bhattacharya, Dharamaraj Ravanan, Pritam Kotal, Israil Gurung, Manish Maithani, Fanai Lalrempuia, Govin Singh, Lalit Thapa, Sushanth Mathew, Bikash Jairu, Gurjinder Kumar, Wesley Verhoek, Kalu Uche, Tuncay Sanli, Didier Zakora, Diego, James Bailey, Nickey Shorey, Steve and Roger Johnson.

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

Mumbai City Fc has got a goal scoring machine in Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman, with his experience in various football leagues around the world, will be very crucial for the team this time around too. His mentoring of younger players in the team will also play a crucial role in Mumbai FC’s campaign this season. Along with Anelka, Sunil Chhetri will be leading the line for the Mumbai outfit. This is going to be mouth watering prospect, if you add Sony Norde into that mix. Sunil Chhetri bagged the highest price in the player auction when he was sold for 1,20,00,000 and he is also the first Indian to have scored 50 goals for the country. Where as Sony Norde set ablaze I-league with his skills for Mohun Bagan last season.

Sunil Chhetri has already said that it is privilege to play and train with Anelka and is equally appreciative of Sony Norde’s talent. Subrata Pal, who is known as the Indian Super Man will have to improve upon his 1st season performance under the bar to guide Mumbai FC’s title challenge. Other Indian players in the squad include Rowilson Rodriguez, Ashutosh Mehta, Subhash Singh, Keegan Pereira,Pratesh Shirodkar,Brandon Fernandes, Gabriel Fernandes, Lalchhuan Mawia, Debjit Majumder, Sampath Kuttymani, Albino Gomes. Foreigners include Frantz Bertin, Cristian Bustos, Frédéric Piquionne, Selim Benachour, Juan Aguilera, Sony Norde, Aitor, Andre Moritz, Pavel Čmovš, Nicolas Anelka and Darren O’Dea

Delhi Dynamos, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

According to me Delhi Dynamos will be the most exciting team to watch with a host of talented players in their squad.Roberto Carlos is the man handed with the responsibility of firing the team to glory.Experienced wingers Malouda and Riise will play a massive role in the fortunes of Delhi Dynamos this season. National team striker Robin Singh will be hoping to get over his recent goal drought and fire for the team.

The team is shapes up well with experienced defenders like Anwar Ali and Anas in their lineup.  Delhi has other talented indian players like  Francis Fernandes, Seiminlen Doungel, Sehnaj Singh, Naoba Singh,Robert Lalthlamuana, Gunashekar Vignesh, Zodingliana Ralte, Souvik Chakraborty,Prabir Das and Shylo Malsawmtluanga in their squad. Subhasish Roy, Toni Doblas and and Ravi Kumar will fight for spot between the posts. Delhi Dynamos are strongly the favourites to win the title. It will be lovely to watch stars like Robero Carlos, Malouda and Riise combine to produce magi.  I can’t wait to watch Roberto Carlo’s free kick! Other foreign players in the team are Serginho Greene, Chicão, Vinicius Ferreira De Souza, Hans Mulder, Adil Nabi, Gustavo and Richard Gadze

To wrap things up, a whopping sum of Rs. 7.22 crore was spent on ten players in the ISL auction for Indian players, with Sunil Chettri becoming the highest priced player for Rs. 1,20,00,000 and Eugeneson Lyngdoh coming second with Rs.1,05,000.Every team in the league has added new foreigners to the line. The second season is going to be an even more thrilling one.
ISL season 2 we are all waiting for you. Come on India! Let’s football.

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Punjab Super League commences on 12th September, 2015

Punjab Football Association has planned to commence 29th JCT Punjab Super League 2015 – 2016 from 12th September, 2015 and conclude on 28th October, 2015.  The following top ten teams from Punjab are taking part in this event:

  • Dalbir Football Academy, Patiala
  • Punjab Police Football Team, Jalandhar
  • Border Security Force (BSF) – Jalandhar,
  • United Punjab FC – Mahilpur(Hoshiarpur)
  • JCT Football Academy – Chohal (Hoshiarpur)
  • Rail Coach Factory Football Team, Kapurthala
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) – Jalandhar,
  • Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) – Hoshiarpur,
  • JCT Football Club, Chohal (Hoshiarpur)
  • Sporting Punjab Football Club, Rurka Kalan (Jalandhar)

Total nine rounds of five matches each have been arranged as this year Punjab Super Football League will be held on single leg league basis thereby each team having three home, three away and three neutral games.  Thus according to change in format and not to confine this league in only three four districts, this year too PFA has planned to hold League’s neutral matches in multi-cities of Punjab so as it may reach at rural level in entire state of Punjab, some areas where grassroots football projects are also going on, have been chosen to host super league matches for youth of Punjab.

 

The opening ceremony has been assigned to District Football Association, Sangrur which is to be held at Zakir Hussain Stadium, Malerkotla on 12th September, 2015 at 4.00 PM followed by opening match between JCT Football Club (re-launched Professional Club of North India) and Rail Coach Factory Football Team, where a set of three neutral matches have been planned.  Whereas, a set of four neutral matches followed by closing ceremony on 28th October, 2015 has been assigned to Doaba Sporting Club, Khera – Mahilpur (District Hoshiarpur).

 

Although, JCT is playing its pivotal role in supporting PFA development activities, however, Legend International (INDPRO SPORTS) has also joined hand with Punjab Football Association and JCT to boost up football development in Punjab State.  PFA approves ‘ULTRA’ as official ball for playing Super League Games.  The kick off time for all matches is fixed as 4.00 PM.

Fixtures :

Punjab, Football, State, Super, League, Soccer, JCT, Mahilpur Fixture Round IV - VI Punjab, Football, State, Super, League, Soccer, JCT, Mahilpur

Punjab State Super Football League To Expand

Punjab, Football, State, Super, League, Soccer, JCT, MahilpurWith a view to expand Punjab State Super Football League, the executive committee of Punjab Football Association has decided to hold a qualifying round of eight teams at Guru Hargobind Stadium (G.N.College) Phagwara and Govt. School Football Ground, Phagwara for the period from 10th August to 22nd August, 2015.

Teams competing in the Qualifying Round are as under :

Pool – A

  • Jagat Singh Palahi Football Academy – Phagwara
  • Ludhiana Football Club – Ludhiana
  • United Punjab Football Club –Pathankot
  • Principal Harbhajan Sporting Club – Mahilpur

Pool – B

  • International Football Club – Phagwara
  • SGGS Football Society – Jalandhar
  • Sporting Punjab FC – Rurka Kalan
  • Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Football Academy – Banga

Top two teams of the respective pools will play final match on knock out basis to determine the champion team of this round which will be given berth in 29th JCT Punjab State Super Football League, 2015 -2016.

Fixtures

Punjab, Football, State, Super, League, Soccer, JCT, Mahilpur

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