Tag Archives: 2016

AFC Cup 2016 Final – Know thy opponent : Through the words of an Iraqi Football expert

Air Force Club, JSW, Bengaluru FC, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, AFC Cup, 2016, Doha, Qatar, Sunil Chhetri, Hammadi, Star Sports, Football, Indian Football, Soccer, IraqThe big day is here. It is a momentous occasion for Indian Football as Bengaluru FC takes on Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya or the Air Force Club of Iraq as they are known in the AFC Cup 2016 final. Since there was a dearth of information on today’s opponent, I decided to get in touch with an Iraqi football expert to know more about Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. I asked a few questions to football writer Hassanin Mubarak and here are his replies. Read on!

What’s is Air Force Club’s style of play?

Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya are an attacking side playing two forward up-front, with Hamadi Ahmed and the returning Amjad Radhi, one of the most prolific strikers in the Iraqi league in current times who is attempting to regain his old form. The little and large combination of Hamadi and Amjad were once the best two front-pairing in Iraq until Amjad left for Arbil in 2010. The striker wearing the No.40 for Al-Jawiya was top scorer in this tournament in 2012 with 9 goals. Amjad has spent the last couple of seasons in Saudi Arabia and Egypt without much success and while he was Al-Jawiya’s main forward during his last spell at the club, Hamadi has now taken on that mantle with Amjad being the second striker. Basim Qasim also has Emad Muhsin if needed. Al-Jawiya’s goals will depend a lot on the ability of the wide-men to create in the final third, the hopes of victory will rest heavily on the shoulders of Humam Tariq and 15-goal hit man Hamadi Ahmed.

Their Strong points and weakness according to you?

Al-Jawiya relies a great deal on the presence of Hamadi Ahmed, their main goalscorer and attacking threat. The new coach Basim Qasim appointed in the summer has not changed either the style or team formation since taking charge, however, they have proved to be resilient under the former Police Lieutenant and are unbeaten in the first six games under him. Basim Qasim will, however, have to reshuffle the ranks with the absence of center back Samal Saeed and winger Bashar Resan, two key players who will be suspended for the final. Bashar will be a significant loss, with the team balance on the wings with Humam Tariq on the opposite flank interrupted, with both players having the talent to switch flanks throughout matches. While Basim Qasim has a ready-made replacement for Samal Saeed, in Saad Natiq, however the coach does not have that luxury with a replacement for Bashar. One solution would be to start Hulgard Mulla Mohammed, the brother of the retired wing wizard Hawar. He is a different proposition for defenders compared to the pacy and tricky Bashar Resan. Hulgard does not possess the speed he once had but the versatile two-footed attacking midfielder can play on the wings or in central midfield. But the absence of Bashar will be a substantial miss for Al-Jawiya.

Are they going to play the same way in the final or are you expecting a cagey game from them? Who are all the players to watch out?

I expect Al-Jawiya will play their usual game in Doha and go out and score goals. It could be a cagey and cautious final if the game remains goalless. The key players will be Humam Tariq out on the wings and Hamadi Ahmed, they could be the winning formula for Al-Jawiya.

Are you expecting to see a lot of fans in Doha supporting the Air Force club?

There won’t be many Iraqi fans traveling and a majority of the supporting contingent will be expatriates living in the tiny Gulf state.

What’s the talk among the Iraqi football fans about Bengaluru FC?

Little is known about Bengaluru FC among both the Iraqi fans and the Al-Jawiya players but with both teams in a final, the opposition will be respected. 23 years ago Al-Zawraa, one of the most successful clubs in Iraqi football history were humiliated 6-2 by the East Bengal Club so Iraqis will be wary of this very fact.

Follow Hassanin Mubarak on Twitter here.

You can read his extensive preview of Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya here.

Muzaffarnagar to Doha – Nishu Kumar’s Incredible Journey

Nishu Kumar, Bengaluru FC, Football, India, AFC Cup, 2016, Soccer, Uttar Pradesh, Defender, left back, Doha, Muzaffarnagar, Indian Football Let’s start off with a question – How many top flight footballers hailing from Uttar Pradesh do you know? Just like me, you can take the help of Google to find the answer. Apart from the sheer joy of supporting a youngster in fulfilling his dreams of becoming a great footballer, Nishu Kumar’s  place of  origin played a great role in me doing a short feature on him.

The Hindi heartland is the region from where we don’t see enough talent popping up in our football scene and Nishu Kumar maybe the sign of great things to come and of untapped potential from the state.

Nishu, Bengaluru FC’s left back started his footballing journey from a small ground across his home in Muzzafarnagar. He played with his friends on the dusty ground. By eighth standard he had made up his mind on staying in a hostel to pursue his studies and had set a target to be achieved – to join Lucknow Sports College. So, when Lucknow Sports College came calling for football trials, Nishu didn’t have to think twice and got selected after the trials. This is when he spotted a newspaper ad about trials at the Chandigarh Football Academy. He had already made up his mind on living in a hostel to continue his studies, so although he did not know much about Chandigarh or the football academy, Nishu set out on a journey that changed his life.

In 2009, Nishu joined CFA, and under the guidance of ex-Indian internationals Harjinder Singh and Tejinder Singh, Nishu honed his skills to perfection. “I started off as a striker in football in my childhood, just like any other youngster. It is in CFA, that I started playing as a defender”, Nishu says with a grin. He was played as a central defender and excelled his position as he appeared in various tournaments for CFA and played the National school games and various age group tournaments for Chandigarh.

After almost four years in CFA, he appeared for Chandigarh in the Sub-junior National Championship for Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy. Even though Chandigarh lost the final to Assam, Nishu’s consistent display for the team was noted by AIFF scouts who were present during the tournament.

In 2013, Nishu left CFA to join the AIFF Regional Academy in Mumbai, and was subsequently drafted in to the AIFF Elite Academy in Goa. Former Indian International Sabir Pasha was the coach in the academy at that time and he slightly adjusted Nishu’s position on the field. Sabir Pasha recommended that he shift to left back and from then on he has been playing in that position with great success.

According to Nishu, “Playing as wing back as opposed to a central defender is much more interesting as it not only involves all facets of defending, but also provides an opportunity to test my attacking skills. Even though it involves a lot of running up and down the pitch, this is a position that I enjoy playing in.”

I have met Nishu a couple of times before I sat down with him for this interview. During our earlier meetings, he literally shied off from talking. Hence, I was curious to know, how come a shy person like Nishu changes to a combative footballer when he takes to the field.  He quipped, “Yes I am a bit shy off the field, but football is an high intensity sport and we have to be utmost serious while playing the game professionally, hence I am always charged up before match to give my maximum best.” After prodding a bit more, he says “Yes, probably when I am on the pitch playing football, I turn to be a different personality,” he says innocently.

Playing football and hoping to cut a professional career in the sport while hailing from a place like Uttar Pradesh where the sport is not very popular would have been quite a dream to accomplish. When asked if he ever imagined playing with stalwarts of Indian football like Sunil Chhetri, Nishu says, “While I was at CFA, I never imagined I would be playing at this level. But after I moved to Mumbai at the AIFF regional academy, I was more confident on where the game could take me.” While at the Elite academy, the AIFF U-19 team played couple of friendlies with Bengaluru FC, as part of their preparation for the Asian Champions Trophy tournament. He recalls how the whole team was so charged up to play against BFC as the team was already making waves in Indian Football and they were the team to beat according to the youngsters in the India U19 team. “We were so elated after the first friendly that I could not even sleep that night as we played against top players like Sunil Chhetri, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Rino Anto, John Johnson and others at BFC. But I never expected to get selected here. Later when I got to know that I got selected by BFC, I was so extremely excited.”

Nishu Kumar, Bengaluru FC, Football, India, AFC Cup, 2016, Soccer, Uttar Pradesh, Defender, left back, Doha, Muzaffarnagar, Indian Football Nishu, who is a Chelsea fan idolises John Terry. He has settled in quite well at Bengaluru FC after being signed on by the club in 2015. He has since appeared for some matches in the AFC Cup and I-league for the club. He says the seniors at the club always help him on and off the ground and playing along players like John Johnson is in itself an inspiration to improve and do well on the pitch.

Nishu Kumar, Bengaluru FC, Football, India, AFC Cup, 2016, Soccer, Uttar Pradesh, Defender, left back, Doha, Muzaffarnagar, Indian Football Nishu was signed on by the club when Ashley Westwood was the coach and now they have a  new coach in Albert Roca. When asked about the difference between two coaches, Nishu said, “there is not much of a difference, but yes, both of them have a different approach to the game. Roca insists on playing with the ball and having more possession, but Ashley was about high intensity and used to totally charges us up while preparing for a match.”

It is obvious that Nishu has a long way to go in his career, so when asked about this he said, “This is only a prelude, I know I can do even better and I am trying hard to improve and get better.” He is hoping to make the maximum out of the chances that have come his way this season, and is keen to impress the coach and the fans alike. Just as any other Indian footballer, he dreams of playing for the senior Indian national team someday! Nishu attributes his success to the coaches who have helped him develop and is quick to credit all who have helped him over the years to reach where he is now.

When I was about to wind up the interview, I thought of asking him one last question. “Did anyone from UP football association ever talk to you?” NO, was the answer. This reply was predictable and is a glimpse into what exactly is ailing our football system. But despite these challenges, there are talents like Nishu Kumar who, if provided with the right guidance and platform can excel in the top level. I wished him the best for the finals of the AFC Cup in Doha and we bid good bye!

Santosh Trophy 2016 : Final Round – Groups & Fixtures

Santosh Trophy, 2016, Nagpur, final round, February, West Bengal, Railways, Services, Assam, Mizoram, Goa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Jammu & KashmirSantosh Trophy 2016 : Final Round will be held Nagpur. Two teams qualified from the zonal qualifiers are grouped into two groups.

Venue:

Matches will be played at South East Central Ralway ground in Motibagh and Nagpur University ground

Group A: Services, Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir, Railways, Maharashtra
Group B: Punjab, Tamilnadu, West Bengal, Assam Goa

 

Matches Group A :

Date Schedule Results
Feb. 29 Mizroam vs Railways 1-1
Feb. 29 J & K vs Maharashtra 1-3
Mar. 02
Services vs J & K 1-0
Mar. 02 Maharashtra vs Railways 3-0
Mar. 04
Mizoram vs Maharashtra 0-1
Mar. 04 Railways vs Services 0-2
Mar. 06 Maharashtra vs Services 0-1
Mar. 06
J & K vs Mizroam  1-4
Mar. 08 Railways vs J & K  1-2
Mar. 08 Services Mizroam  1-

Points Table Group A :

Team MP W D L GF GA GD Points
Maharashtra 4 3 0 1 7 2 5 9
Services 4 3 0 0 5 2 3 9
Mizoram 4 2 1 1 7 4 3 7
J & K 4 1 0 3 4 9 -5 3
Railways 4 1 0 3 4 9 -5 1

Matches Group B :

Date Schedule Results
Mar. 01 Tamil Nadu vs Assam 3-0
Mar. 01 West Bengal vs Goa 1-3
Mar. 03 Punjab vs West Bengal 0-1
Mar. 03 Goa vs Assam 1-0
Mar. 05 Tamil Nadu vs Goa 0-0
Mar. 05
Assam vs Punjab 0-2
Mar. 07 Goa vs Punjab 1-0
Mar. 07 West Bengal vs Tamil Nadu  0-1
Mar. 09 Assam vs West Bengal 1-5
Mar. 09 Punjab vs Tamil Nadu 0-5

Points Table Group B :

Team MP W D L GF GA GD Points
Tamil Nadu 4 3 1 0 7 0 7 10
Goa 4 3 1 0 5 1 4 10
Bengal 4 2 0 2 7 5 2 6
Punjab 4 1 0 3 2 7 -5 3
Assam 4 0 0 4 1 9 -8 0

Semi final :

Date Schedule Results
Mar. 11 Tamil Nadu vs Maharashtra  0-1
Mar. 11 Services vs Goa 1-0 (ET)

Final :

Date Schedule Results
Mar. 13 Maharashtra vs Services 2-1

Santosh Trophy 2016 : West Zone Qualifiers – Groups & Fixtures

Santosh Trophy, 2016, West Zone Qualifiers, Nagpur, final round, February, Goa, Daman & Diu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, MaharashtraWest Zone qualifiers for Santosh Trophy 2016 are held Goa. Following are the team participating in the West zone qualifiers.

Goa and Maharashtra qualified for the final rounds in Nagpur.

Teams : Goa, Daman & Diu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat
Date Schedule Results
Feb. 9 Goa vs Gujarat 6-0
Feb. 10 Daman & Diu vs Madhya Pradesh 0-3
Feb. 11 Gujarat vs Maharashtra 2-6
Feb. 12 Daman & Diu vs Goa 1-11
Feb.13
Madhya Pradesh vs Maharashtra 0-8
Feb.14 Gujarat vs Daman & Diu 8-0
Feb.15 Goa vs Madhya Pradesh 1-0
Feb.16
Maharashtra vs Daman & Diu 9-0
Feb.17 Madhya Pradesh vs Gujarat 1-2
Feb.18 Maharashtra vs Goa 4-1

Santosh Trophy 2016 : East Zone Qualifiers – Groups & Fixtures

Santosh Trophy, 2016, East Zone Qualifiers, Nagpur, final round, February, West Bengal, Railways, Sikkim, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, BiharEast Zone qualifiers for Santosh Trophy 2016 will be held Kolkata. Teams in the East zone are divided into two groups.

West Bengal and Railways qualified for the final round in Nagpur.

Group A : West Bengal, Orissa, Sikkim
Group B : Jharkhand, Railways, Chattisgarh, Bihar
Date Schedule Results
Feb. 08 West Bengal vs Sikkim 2-1
Feb. 9 Railways vs Chattisgarh 1-0
Feb. 9 Bihar vs Jharkhand 0-3
Feb. 10 Sikkim vs Orissa 1-2
Feb.11
Bihar vs Railways 0-3
Feb.11 Chattisgarh vs Jharkhand 1-2
Feb.12 Orissa vs West Bengal 0-3
Feb.13
Chattisgarh vs Bihar 1-2
Feb.13 Jharkhand vs Railways 0-0

 

Santosh Trophy 2016 : North-East Zone Qualifiers – Groups & Fixtures

Santosh Trophy, 2016, North-East Zone Qualifiers, Nagpur, final round, February, North East Zone, QualifiersNorth-East Zone qualifiers for Santosh Trophy 2016 will be held in Lammual Stadium in Aizawl starting from February 17. Teams in the south zone are divided into two groups.

Group A : Mizoram, Manipur & Arunachal Pradesh
Group B  : Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura
Date Schedule Results
Feb. 17 Mizoram vs Arunachal Pradesh Cancelled
Feb. 18 Assam vs Nagaland 2-0
Feb. 18 Meghalaya vs Tripura 4-0
Feb. 19 Arunachal Pradesh vs Manipur Cancelled
Feb. 20
Tripura vs Assam 0-2
Feb. 20 Nagaland vs Meghalaya 0-4
Feb. 21 Manipur vs Mizoram 0-1
Feb. 23 Nagaland vs Tripura
Feb. 23
Assam vs Meghalaya

Kerala announce team for Santosh Trophy 2016

Kerala, Tamil nadu, Santosh Trophy, 2016, South Zone Qualifiers, Nagpur, final round, February, South Zone, QualifiersKerala has announced the 20 member squad for the Santosh Trophy South Zone qualifying rounds which is to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium from February 9 to 14. Shibin Lal of State Bank of Travancore will lead the team.

Kerala, Tamil nadu, Santosh Trophy, 2016, South Zone Qualifiers, Nagpur, final round, February, South Zone, QualifiersSquad :

Goalkeepers : Hajmal S, Mithun, Shahin Lal

Defenders : Surjith V.V, Lijo S, Sarath B.T, Rahul V Raj, Sreerag, Sherin Sam

Midfielders: Jijo Joseph, Shibin Lal, Muhammed Rafi, Praveen Kumar, Ashkar V.S

Forwards : Jipson, Firoz K, Sumesh, Seesan,  V.P Suhair, Shaijumon

Chief Coach: Narayana Menon

coaches: Haary Benny and Firoz Sherif

Physician: Shijin TT

Tamil Nadu announce Squad for Santosh Trophy 2016

Tamil nadu, Santosh Trophy, 2016, South Zone Qualifiers, Nagpur, final round, February, South Zone, Qualifiers Tamil Nadu has announced the 20 member squad for the South Zone qualifiers of Santosh Trophy 2016.

Squad :

Goalkeepers: Sunesh; Arun Pradeep; Sachidanandam

Defenders: Joffin; Wayne; Vineesh Moury; Santhosh; Mohanraj; Prem; Kalialaudeen

Midfielders: S. Karthick; Edwin; Shajan; Britto; Soosai; Pradeep; Sirajudeen

Forwards: Reagan; Praveendran; Ameerudeen;

Reserve players: Md. Ajmal (Goalkeeper); Sarathraj (Forward); Jude (Midfielder); Sriram (Midfielder);

Coach: Robin Charles Raja

Asst. coach: Aldroy Atkinson

Goalkeeping coach: Muruhuvendan.

Bengaluru FC replace injured Walker with Michael Collins

Michael Collins, Bengaluru FC, I-league, 2016, Huddersfield Town,Blues Sign Former Huddersfield, Oxford Midfielder Till End Of 2015-16 Season

Bengaluru:  Bengaluru FC, on Thursday, announced that the club would be replacing injured midfielder Joshua Walker with fellow Englishman and midfielder Michael Collins. Walker, who missed the first two games of the season with a knee issue, faces a long enough layoff to keep him out for the rest of the season, prompting Ashley Westwood to ring in the change.

“It’s under unfortunate circumstances that we have to replace Josh with another player but this is a short, congested season which means we had to move quickly. We’ve done our due diligence on Michael and I’ve spoken with former coaches, players and current scouts on the basis of which I’ve made my choice. Michael has more than 300 games in English football under his belt, is a good character and will be a good example of a professional to everyone around,” said Westwood.

Twenty-nine-year-old Collins started his career with Huddersfield Town with whom he spent six seasons, playing 173 times and scoring 19 goals. His second substantial spell was with current League One team Scunthorpe United where he played 79 games before moves to AFC Wimbledon (loan), Oxford City and York City (loan).

Interestingly, Walker and Collins have been teammates at Scunthorpe and the duo have been exchanging notes. “I’m very excited to start this chapter of my career. I got a call from the gaffer who gave me a lowdown about the League and more after which I had a word with my family and decided that this is the right time in my career to try something new. I’ve even been speaking with Josh who keeps filling me in,” said Collins who hails from Halifax.

Collins is slated to arrive in the country over the coming week, ruling him out of the Blues first home game against Shillong Lajong on Sunday. “There’s no time to stele in and I’m going to have to blend in right away. But I don’t think that should be a worry because I’ve been keeping myself fit. I can’t wait to come over and play my part in helping the club win the League,” said Collins who has 6 caps for the Republic of Ireland at the under-21 level.

While Walker has been replaced and de-registered from the I-League, he continues to be a Bengaluru FC player. “It’s unfortunate what happened with Josh Walker but it’s a call that had to be taken. However, he still remains a Bengaluru FC player and we wish him a speedy recovery. He was brilliant for us last season and had a big hand in the successful season the club produced. We will be working with him closely to see him recover to full fitness at the earliest,” said Mustafa Ghouse, COO of Bengaluru FC.

 

Santosh Trophy 2016 : South Zone Qualifiers – Groups & Fixtures

Santosh Trophy, 2016, South Zone Qualifiers, Nagpur, final round, February, South Zone, QualifiersSouth Zone qualifiers for Santosh Trophy 2016 will be held in JN Stadium in Chennai starting from February 9. Teams in the south zone are divided into two groups.

Tamil Nadu and Services qualify for the final round to be held in Nagpur.

Group A : Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana & Andaman & Nicobar
Group B  : Services, Karnataka, Puducherry & Andhra Pradesh
Date Schedule Results
Feb. 9 Tamil Nadu vs Telangana 3-0
Feb. 9 Kerala vs Andaman & Nicobar Walkover for Ker
Feb. 10 Puducherry vs Services 0-12
Feb. 10 Karnataka vs Andhra Pradesh  1-0
Feb.11
Telangana vs Kerala  0-2
Feb.11 Tamil Nadu vs Andaman & Nicobar Walkover for TN
Feb.12 Puducherry vs Karnataka  0-4
Feb.12 Andhra pradesh vs Services 0-1
Feb.13
Andaman & Nicobar vs Telangana Walkover for TA
Feb.13 Kerala vs Tamil Nadu 1-1
Feb.14 Puducherry vs Andhra Pradesh 0-4
Feb.14 Services
vs Karnataka 3-2

 

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