Tag Archives: Football

East Bengal pinning hopes on Khalid Jamil

East Bengal, Football, Khalid Jamil, I-league, Soccer, Kolkata, Indianfootball

After a great season with the Mizoram side Aizawl FC, Khalid Jamil will descend the north-eastern hills to take over the Kolkata side East Bengal. Khalid performed magic with Aizawl FC by guiding them to the summit of the I-league, whereas East Bengal had a season to forget as their challenge under Aussie coach Trevor Morgan petered out in the final phase of the league.

Khalid Jamil will be eager to prove himself by managing a Kolkata club and ascertain that his incredible run with Aizawl FC was not just a flash in the pan. According to reports, Khalid has signed a deal worth 1.25 crores for two years, which will make him the highest earning Indian coach ever.

There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the upcoming football season, but East Bengal has been very quick in snapping up players and the head coach. A positive sign, as the club, seems to be taking the CFL campaign that will start in August quite seriously. A good performance in the CFL could be a good platform to build upon for the other bigger challenges that are awaiting the team in the next season.

East Bengal roping in the I-league winning coach shows a positive intent from the club, and this also offers some relief for their fans and the supporters of other I-league clubs as well. With news of clubs pulling out and shutting down flying thick and fast, this move by East Bengal might just force some other clubs to rethink their options and might want to test the waters for some more years.

After a lot of drama, East Bengal missed out on their chance to play in the Indian Super League due to differences on certain terms they had to agree to join the league. And with AIFF scheming to hold both the leagues (ISL & I-league) in parallel, there are concerns that I-league clubs will not be able to retain the best players as they will struggle to compete with financially sound ISL franchises. However, Khalid Jamil remained entirely oblivious to these changes as he quipped “Football will remain the same, be it ISL or I-League,” during the unveiling.

East Bengal has not had the best of its time in the top tier of Indian football ever since National Football League was re-branded to I-league in 2007. With a set of an explosive fan base and an equally crazy management to deal with, it would be interesting to see how Khalid Jamil’s foray into Kolkata Football would unfold.

Perhaps, Khalid is the answer for that ever evading I-league trophy!

Excerpts from FB live with Chennaiyin FC player Mohan Raj

Mohan Raj, Football, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, Indian Super League, Facebook Live, Fans, The Super MachansChennaiyinFC’s fan club- The Supermachans conducted facebook live chat with their player Mohan Raj. Here is an excerpt from interaction with the Tamil Nadu born player.

 1) Ronaldo or Messi?

Both are equally good but I’m a big fan of Ronaldo because he has performed well in 3 different countries-England, Spain and Portugal. He performs well wherever he goes

2) Who is your best friend in CFC?

I’m very close to all the foreign players, especially Eder because we spend a lot of time together in the gym. He’s a very sincere person. Mulder is also a very good friend of mine. In the Indian players, it’s Abishek Das.

3)Who is your role model?

My mother, because she has struggled a lot, and she is a hard worker

4)Who is the funniest person in CFC?

It’s Mendy Bernard. He is very friendly. He has played in bigger leagues and is now playing with us and having fun, I’m very happy for it

5) Will you prove yourself in next season?

(Gethu kaatuveengala) No one can say that but I’m getting prepared for it

6)Tell us about dhoni

I’m not saying this because he is my owner, but because he is one my two favorite sportsmen from whom I wished I could get an autograph, the other one being Ronaldo. The main reason I like him is because he came from a very poor background and proved himself to the world. I’m very happy to have met him and get his autograph on my jersey and frame it, that’s one of my dream come true.

7) What is your mindset in your difficult times? Life is all about ups and downs, it depends on the situation, we should be ready to face it, we need to be stable always, mind is what matters, when you are in a difficult situation, just think positive

8) We are waiting to see you in cfc this season!

Hopefully

9)Buffon or Neuer, who is no 1?

For me its Buffon, Neuer is like his son!! We cannot compare son and father, Buffon is no 1

10) What is your view on merging ISL and I league, is it good for Indian football?

Very good question, nothing is going to happen depending on what I say, but my opinion is that if it’s merged there are chances for many players

11) Difference between Chennai club and Kolkata?

There are so many differences, there everyone will be under pressure every single day to play, to perform in every single match. They are very passionate. Our state has just got a team, we have to create the passion in Chennai, you all should come and support Chennai, it’s our city, so we have to take it forward.

12) Your favourite and most comfortable position?

I have tried many positions from childhood, in 3-5-2, left side defending and attacking, I have got many chances in ATK under Habbas coach, I will play in any position in the left side, be it defending or attacking!!

13) Which is your favorite football club?

I’m little different, I like a club in each country, but Chelsea & Real Madrid are my first love

14) Who is your strength?

My strength is God, I believe in God’s grace, I read Bible regularly. In difficult times, those words motivate me a lot

15) Can we see many TN players in next ISL?

Hopefully! Few players are doing good, we can definitely see many players this season

16) Your football inspiration and the obstacles you had faced before becoming a player?

I chose this career aaccidentally . I lost my father when I was a kid and I had two elder sisters. I understood the situation and joined in sports school and stayed in hostel for free education, now it has brought me here. I had faced so many struggles and problems, God was with me and he has brought me here.

17) What do you think about Jerry Lalrinzuala and his future?

He is a young left back who plays for CFC. He plays really good. Watching Jerry reminds me of myself when I was 17 , 18 years old! He is a very good friend and a very nice guy. No can predict future, let’s wait and see.

18) Are you ready to face ISL 4?

I’m working hard for it, I hope I will have a good season

19) Can we expect retired players this season from Europe?

This question is not for me, it depends on whoever comes.

20)what is your advice to the young players rising across India?

Football’s future is very good compared to 10 years ago. We have so many facilities now which we didn’t have 10 years ago, so young generation put your heart ,mind and soul , and train hard and you will have a very good future. Keep motivating yourself, take the sport as a profession, every single day try to work hard to reach higher levels . Do not think about playing only in Indian clubs, I want many footballer to go abroad and play.

21) Your View on how to develop Indian football?

It’s my personal view- we have to concentrate on grassroots, now we have a recognized leagues, so we can train young players and make them play in recognized leagues, for that not only players we also need educated coaches, because training grown up players is different. Coaching them at a younger age is very important.

22) Are you happy to be a Tamizhan?

I’m super happy and super proud to be a Tamizhan

23) Are you happy on seeing Star sports in Tamil?

Yeah, of course, because there will be a huge reach in villages. It’s hard to understand Hindi & English, I know the struggle to learn these languages.Tamil is our language and is easy to understand.

24) What advice would you give football talents in Tamil Nadu?

I want more academies  to open in Tamil Nadu, and they should have educated coaches to train small kids. They have to give all facilities to them at an younger age, develop and motivate them and set a target to make them play for the country.

25) Can Tamil Nadu be a force? Does it have good coaches?

There are a few good coaches in Tamil Nadu. Soundar anna, Robin Anna, Ranjith Anna, Sabir Anna are all good coaches but unfortunately we have very less professional clubs to take them. I wish them good luck and wish they go and shine at a bigger level.

26) Who is your favourite team mate?

Everyone

27) What is your life’s motto?

Get up and do something for football until you die.

28) Few words on Robin Charles Coach

He is the man who recognised me during my struggling days. I still remember Soundar Rajan and Robin Charles were the ones who selected me to play in the Santhosh Trophy in 2006 which happened in Delhi. I have a huge respect for Robin and his family that will remain forever.

29) Your SAI experience?

SAI was life changing, thanks to Unni Coach and Subramaniam Coach. They were amongst the best coaches I had in my early ages. And then had met Manoharan Coach in Madurai. I have a huge respect for Unni Coach who used to wake up at 3:30 am and travel from Tambaram to coach us, although we went late at 6:15 am. He was very dedicated and must be happy now to see many SAI players playing in India. Also, I’d like to mention Kamali bhai and Lakshmanan from Madurai who helped me a lot in my early ages.

30) Any dream vacation spot?

Izbia, Spain

31) What are your objectives for the upcoming season?

To keep myself fit and free from injury. I’m working hard and want to play as much as possible in the coming season

32) How important do you think it is for players to interact with fans like this?

Without fans there will not be any football club. Fans come first under any circumstance, so I’m happy to interact with you guys. In fact, this is my first ever live session, personally and professionally.

33) Your views on TN training facilities and stadiums? Are they improving?

200% improved. ChennaiyinFC’s training ground is the best training ground at the moment. I have trained at the same ground as a SAI student and ChennaiyinFC has really improved the ground a lot. The facilities at both the training ground and stadium have been improved to a great extent by ChennaiyinFC.

34) Your comments on Dhanpal Ganesh?

I’m very very very very happy for him right now. He recovered from a very serious injury, played in I league and scored goals, and is now with the National team. I wish he continues this way and shines more. Namma ooru, namma payyan, he should definitely do well.

35) Few points to Supermachans to improve the experience for players

Come and support the team irrespective of whether they play good or bad. You have to stand by them during their tough times. Show the love you have for the city to the city’s club. It doesn’t matter who plays for the club and who doesn’t. The name is Chennaiyin and that’s where your support should lie.

36) Who’s the most humble person in ChennaiyinFC?

Everyone in the team is very humble. There’s no one who shows attitude and everyone’s very nice, but the most humble and cutest person is Raphael Augusto.

37) Before 3 years, did you expect two clubs from our city, one in ISL and the other in I league?

We always had talents, but we never had teams, so from the time I heard about ChennaiyinFC, I’ve been their number 1 fan.

38) Who has been your motivator about from your family members?

James, a friend from Chennai. He gives me right advices. I also read the Bible, the words from the Bible keep me motivated.

39) Has your family cheered you from the stadium?

No, because my mother is very sensitive. She cried after seeing Postiga being taken in a stretcher during the inauguration match in Chennai. I’m also her only son, and she’d be hurt if she ever sees me injured on the pitch. So I never bring her to the stadium when I play.

40) Which player mostly takes command of the team? Mendy Bernard

41) Your opinion on fans of CFC?

Our city, our fans, the best Thank you all for interacting with me. There’s Chennai coastal cleanup happening on June 18th which is a Sunday. Please go and participate to make our city clean. We have to do our little part to make our city better. I really appreciate Supermachans for taking up this initiative. You’re doing a great job apart from football. Thank you all!

You can watch the interaction with Mohan Raj here

Tata Trusts U Dream Football announces its partnership with Borussia Dortmund

Tata Trusts, U Dream Football, Partnership, Borussia DortmundMumbai, 11th May 2017: Tata Trusts U Dream Football today announced its ‘Technical’ partnership with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. The partnership with Borussia Dortmund, one of Germany’s most successful clubs, serial winners in both Germany and Europe will, enhance the quality of the Tata Trusts U Dream Football training programme.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the partnership will give the young footballers enrolled in the programme an opportunity to be trained by the Bundesliga side’s Youth Coaches, as also draw from the club’s world class training facilities.

Known widely for their youth development system, Borussia Dortmund has on its roster, top German stars like the current club captain Marcel Schmelzer, his deputy Marco Reus; world-cup winner Mario Gotze; and Christian Pulisic, one of the club’s young stars.

The teams under Tata Trusts U Dream Football program will train with Borussia Dortmund’s youth teams. The aim is to plan competitive games against each other, which will play a key role in the development of the children.

While the young aspirants are training to become top class footballers, they will also get their first taste of professional European football by watching Borussia Dortmund play live from the ‘Yellow Wall’, the largest free-standing grandstand in Europe with a capacity of 25,000. Known for its exhilarating atmosphere, watching a live Bundesliga game from the ‘Yellow Wall’ will certainly be an inspiring experience for the young footballers.

In 2016, Tata Trusts and U Dream Football partnered to use football as a tool for social development in India. The efforts took root in the North East, the region that contributes nearly 50% footballers to both the men and women’s national teams. 35 of North East India’s best young players were selected and began their training programme in January 2017. Now known as the Tata Trusts U Dream Football, the training programme is based in Bitburg, Germany, where the selected talents spend 10 months of the year training under a team of ranked coaches. Each week, the U15 and U17 sides play competitive games against top-ranked youth sides in the region as well as those in Belgium and Luxembourg. This year, both teams combined have played 20 games, winning 15 and losing only 3 games.

“Tata Trusts has a legacy of supporting various sports events and activities since its existence in 1892.” said R Venkatramanan, Managing Trustee Tata Trusts, “Sports has the potential of developing traits such as leadership, learning, sharing, and caring and of course the will to win.Sport is indeed a wonderful unified force to drive social programmes and change. Tata Trusts is privileged to collaborate with U Dream Football and Borsussia Dortmund in this developmental endeavor. Initiative such as these make us proud and encourage us to contribute every day.” 

Speaking at the event Ronnie Screwvala, Founder of U Sports said, “Today we reiterate our strong association with Borsussia Dortmund at the grassroot level but also about an overall commitment made by Tata Trusts and U Dream Football for basic football development in the country. We found an incredible partner in Tata Trusts which always thinks scale. U Dream appreciates their quick and unrelenting support to our aim of grooming children in football. Our two focus areas are to position sport as a great career option and make India one of the top 20 football-playing countries in the world.”

Christian Diercks, Lead-Youth Programmes, Dortmund BVB, said, “While the children are motivated to take up football, they are also extensively trained in the German schooling system, which gives them a chance to enhance their education and fulfill a realistic dream. There are also plans of bringing in Indian coaches to Dortmund, which is an intense football capital of the world and give them a chance to meet specialists in their field and exchange ideas on football training. I am happy to have this wonderful opportunity of supporting this endeavor in bringing about a long-term development of young kids.”

In addition to football training, the programme also offers academics and languages, laying focus on the holistic development of each child. Enrolled in Germany’s premier international school, they will pursue their academics under an international school board.

With 48 players currently enrolled in the programme, partnering with Borussia Dortmund will aid development of all those under the programme, as the club will provide constant support and directional guidance. Bundesliga clubs typically incubate between 200-300 players in their development programmes and thus it offers these players an opportunity to join Bundesliga sides as well. The goal of the programme is to ensure that

all enrolled players play professional football, by placing them in clubs across Europe, North America and Asia, including India. As the players’ development progresses, Tata Trusts U Dream Football will provide footballers with opportunities for a trial with leading clubs across Europe.

 

 

Second Division League 2016/17 set to kickoff today

Second Division League 2016/17, Football, India, 2nd, division, Fateh Hyderabad, Lonestar, Kashmir, Real Kashmir, Neroca, Pride Sports, Kenkre, Ozone, Sudeva FC, Mohammedan Sporting, Southern Samity, The Second Division League 2016/17 season is set to kickoff today. Twelve teams divided in to three groups will vie for the title. The league kicks off amidst the uncertainty regarding the impending restructuring of Indian football.  So much so that, at this point even the parent body will not be able to assure the winning team a guaranteed place in the top-tier of Indian football, with I-league’s future hanging in a balance.

Probably the only positive aspect about the 2016-17 2nd division league is that the there are two more teams participating in this edition. Teams like Real Kashmir FC (Jammu & Kashmir), Sudeva Moonlight FC (Delhi), Ozone FC Bengaluru (Bengaluru) and Pride Sports (Madhya Pradesh) are debuting in the league this season.

Following are the groups for the 2nd division league 2016-17 :

Group A: Sudeva Moonlight FC, Real Kashmir FC, Lonestar Kashmir FC, Delhi United FC
Group B: Hindustan FC, Southern Samity, Neroca FC, Mohammedan Sporting
Group C: Ozone FC Bengaluru, Pride Sports, Fateh Hyderabad FC, Kenkre Sports

Two clubs from each group will proceed to the National Finals where each Team will play against other on a home-away basis.

Fixtures :

Group A

Date Team A Team B Result
13-02-17 LoneStar Kashmir Football Club vs REAL KASHMIR
0:00:00
8/2/2017 DELHI UNITED vs SUDEVA MOONLIGHT F C
0:00:00
28-01-17 DELHI UNITED vs REAL KASHMIR
0:00:00
30-01-17 SUDEVA MOONLIGHT F C vs LoneStar Kashmir Football Club
0:00:00
2/2/2017 DELHI UNITED vs LoneStar Kashmir Football Club
0:00:00
4/2/2017 SUDEVA MOONLIGHT F C vs REAL KASHMIR
0:00:00
8/2/2017 REAL KASHMIR vs LoneStar Kashmir Football Club
0:00:00
12/2/2017 SUDEVA MOONLIGHT F C vs DELHI UNITED
0:00:00
18-02-17 REAL KASHMIR vs SUDEVA MOONLIGHT F C
0:00:00
19-02-17 LoneStar Kashmir Football Club vs DELHI UNITED
0:00:00
22-02-17 LoneStar Kashmir Football Club vs SUDEVA MOONLIGHT F C
0:00:00
22-02-17 REAL KASHMIR vs DELHI UNITED
0:00:00

Group B

Date Team A Score Team B Match Summary
21-01-17 Mohammedan Sporting Club  vs Southern Samity
16:00:00
22-01-17 HINDUSTAN F C  vs NEROCA FC
19:00:00
27-01-17 Mohammedan Sporting Club  vs NEROCA FC
0:00:00
28-01-17 Southern Samity  vs HINDUSTAN F C
0:00:00
4/2/2017 NEROCA FC  vs Southern Samity
0:00:00
5/2/2017 HINDUSTAN F C  vs Mohammedan Sporting Club
0:00:00
11/2/2017 Southern Samity  vs Mohammedan Sporting Club
0:00:00
12/2/2017 NEROCA FC  vs HINDUSTAN F C
0:00:00
17-02-17 Mohammedan Sporting Club  vs HINDUSTAN F C
0:00:00
18-02-17 Southern Samity  vs NEROCA FC
0:00:00
25-02-17 HINDUSTAN F C  vs Southern Samity
0:00:00
25-02-17 NEROCA FC  vs Mohammedan Sporting Club
0:00:00

Group C

Date Team A Score Team B Match Summary
20-01-17 Fateh Hyderabad AFC  vs PRIDE SPORTS
15:45:00
21-01-17 Ozone FC Bengaluru  vs Kenkre FC
15:00:00
27-01-17 Ozone FC Bengaluru  vs PRIDE SPORTS
0:00:00
27-01-17 Kenkre FC  vs Fateh Hyderabad AFC
0:00:00
4/2/2017 PRIDE SPORTS  vs Kenkre FC
0:00:00
5/2/2017 Fateh Hyderabad AFC  vs Ozone FC Bengaluru
0:00:00
9/2/2017 Fateh Hyderabad AFC  vs Kenkre FC
0:00:00
10/2/2017 PRIDE SPORTS  vs Ozone FC Bengaluru
0:00:00
16-02-17 Ozone FC Bengaluru  vs Fateh Hyderabad AFC
0:00:00
16-02-17 Kenkre FC  vs PRIDE SPORTS
0:00:00
24-02-17 Kenkre FC  vs Ozone FC Bengaluru
0:00:00
24-02-17 PRIDE SPORTS  vs Fateh Hyderabad AFC
0:00:00

Santosh Trophy 2017 : South Zone Qualifiers – Groups & Fixtures

Santosh Trophy, 2017, South Zone Qualifiers, South Zone, Qualifiers, Kozhikode

 

 

 

 

South Zone qualifiers for Santosh Trophy 2016 will be held in EMS Stadium in Kozhikode starting from January 5. Teams in the south zone are divided into two groups.

Champions of the respective groups will qualify for the final round.

Group A : Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra, Puducherry
Group B  : Services, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Lakshadweep
Date Schedule Results
Jan 5 Kerala vs Puducherry 3-0
Jan 5 Karnataka vs Andhra Pradesh 1-2
Jan 6 Services vs Telangana 7-0
Jan 6 Tamil Nadu vs Lakshadweep 2-0
Jan 7 Puducherry vs Karnataka 0-3
Jan 7 Kerala vs Andhra Pradesh 0-3
Jan 8 Telangana vs Tamil Nadu 0-4
Jan 8 Lakshadweep vs Services 0-4
Jan 9 Puducherry vs Andhra Pradesh  0-0
Jan 9 Kerala vs Karnataka
Jan 10 Telangana vs Lakshadweep
Jan 10 Services vs Tamil Nadu

Matches : 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das is living in a fool’s paradise – Sporting Clube de Goa

AIFF, Sporting Clube De Goa, Football, Indian Football, Goa, I-league, SCG, Flaming Oranje

Sporting Clube De Goa

The pull-out of Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa should have been a wake-up call for the AIFF to at least now set its messy house in order but instead the federation, and its ignorant general secretary, have resorted to unnecessarily pointing the accusing finger at us. In an interview to a news agency and other media channels, Das said “FC Bardez have a bigger fan following than these clubs. I have seen them in the Goa Pro League.”

Kushal Das is really cut-off from the reality. To say that a four-month old club has more fan following than us is ridiculous and a huge insult to the contribution of clubs like Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa, who have contributed immensely to the development of Indian football.

We wonder how many matches Kushal Das watched in Goa and how many I-League matches he has attended since becoming secretary?

For the ignorant Kushal Das’s knowledge, until some years ago, both clubs attracted massive crowd wherever it played. The Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, saw big attendances but since Praful Patel took over as president and Kushal Das was appointed secretary, the numbers have dwindled. Indian football’s slump is also reflected in the poor rankings and much of this is due to mismanagement by the AIFF.

The AIFF cannot blame the Goan clubs to hide its own inefficiency.

Indian football is at its lowest ebb and an ill-informed secretary doesn’t help its cause.

Kushal Das must remember that he is a paid employee of the AIFF. We have not made a living out of football but instead helped others make a living through football. It is clear that Kushal Das, who is occupying a wrong chair, has no clue about football in India and his comments reflect the deplorable state of AIFF at the moment.

Kushal Das is an embarrassment for Indian football. He must apologise for his comments which are shocking and uncalled for.

Mr. Victor G Fernandes
CEO.
SPORTING CLUBE DE GOA

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!

Bengaluru FC, The history Makers

Bengaluru FC, CK Vineeth, Football, Bengaluru, Bangalore, Bengaluru FC, Indian Football, AFC Cup, Johor Darul Taksim, Malaysia

Pic Credit : JSW Media

Fans were cheering and dressed in blue as the teams walked into the stadium. Albert Roca’s men dressed in blue (home jersey) and the Malaysian side were in their red shirts.A goalless draw would take the home team to the finals. The Malaysian side have never lost to the Indian side in their 4 meetings against them , BFC managed to walk home with a draw in their last meeting.
Peeeep!!! The match started with Bengaluru driving forward , the home advantage has given the blue’s much needed confidence. Blues dominated  the field as Rino Anto troubled the JDT defense with his quality crosses . Both teams played good football , it was a delight to watch both the sides attacking each others goal .Against the run of play the visitors pierced Bengaluru’s net in the 11th minute through their captain,  Safiq Rahim as he scored from the close range.

The goal certainly  made the home team restless as they looked dangerous at the opponent half . They had chances to score the equaliser , but the home team was more interested in wasting the chances rather than scoring from it. On the other hand Roca’s men in  looked dangerous on the break ,but their efforts lacked quality to test the keeper. Bengaluru was desperate to make the score level before the break and their moment came in the 40th minute as the captain Sunil Chhetri headed home the equaliser from Eugenson Lyngdoh’s corner. There were some odd efforts on either ends but the efforts were not enough to break the deadlock. As referee pointed to the half time scores were equal.

The second half began with the same intensity but this time the away team were dominating the field with their possession and their team play , as they were closing down too quickly on BFC players.JDT  made the first substitution of the match and were  bossing the midfield areas .Meanwhile home team looked  dangerous on break and they got in front in the 66th minute . The captain stepped up again , Chhetri scored a 30 yard stunner from outside the box with his right foot . Few minutes later Bengaluru side extended their lead through Juan Antonio as he headed home the 3rd goal from a typical Eugenson Lyngdoh’s freekick. JDT put their bodies forward to make a come back but the home teams defense stood as rock. All the attacks by the away team was knocked off by the Bangaluru defense.Referee signaled the end of the match after a tough 90 minutes and the stadium erupted.

A Historic achievement , Bengaluru FC has made it to the finals of AFC cup, Proud moment for Indian football .The Iraqi Air force Club awaits them in the finals.Surely the newbie of Indian football made us proud.

Match Report by Jithin Baby. Follow his blog here : https://jithinbabymulackampilly.wordpress.com

Fateh Hyderabad AFC ropes in Grassroots Football Guru Tom Byer as Co- Owner; Launches ‘One Child, One Ball” Fateh Hyderabad Grassroots Program

Fateh Hyderabad AFC, Tom Byer, Hyderabad, Grassroots, Football, India, Soccer, Yogesh MauryaFateh Hyderabad A.F.C new co-owner Tom Byer announced “One Child, One Ball Fateh Hyderabad Grassroots” program
HYDERABAD, INDIA, OCTOBER 6, 2016: Fateh Hyderabad AFC announced today a unique grassroots football development initiative, “The One Child, One Ball Program” in collaboration with world renowned grassroots football coach, entrepreneur and author Tom Byer in Hyderabad. Together they will be imparting this program with hundreds of kindergartens and primary schools across the city. Tom Byer alongwith Yogesh Maurya and Fateh Hyderabad will introduce bottom-up approach of developing skilled players, with the aim of Hyderabad to become the model of change for India and hopefully the rest of Asia.
 
Announcing the partnership with Tom Byer, Director T3, Yogesh Maurya said “We are here for the long term development of football.  Tom has crossed the globe sharing his experiences and philosophy of introducing kindergarten boys and girls to ball manipulation.  Technique is the foundation of any football player.  His success in Japan and now China is well documented.  He is being courted by the giants of our game across the world, and I feel blessed and fortunate to have him here.  He is my partner, but first and foremost, my mentor and great friend and shares the passion Aditya and I have to see boys and girls enjoy a love for the ball.” 
 
Among the first to sign up for “The One Child One Ball Program” were Iris Florets Group of Schools. Maurya added, “Iris Florets is very committed to football and sports overall at the pre-school age.  They have mandated play areas at all of their pre-schools to ensure physical development (gross and fine motor skill development) and overall health of the children.  Our philosophies match perfectly.”
 
Internationally well known for his football training programs at grassroots level Tom Byer expressed immense excitement on his collaboration with Fateh Hyderabad AFC. “ Fateh Hyderabad is taking a unqiue approach and I believe is setting a new standard for how football clubs in Asia should approach grassroots development.  The One Child One Ball Program is aimed at educating both parents and children between the ages of 2-6 on the importance of basic ball manipulation skills with a football. We have a comprehensive program of India specific seminars, workshops and events for both the parents and children to develop and love this game passionately. 
 
“I strongly believe India has immense scope to build national level and professional level of football stars in the future. We have seen some tremendous individual performances by Hyderabad’s world class badminton and tennis stars.  It’s a great start and highly inspiring. It all starts with educating parents of young children. ”
 
Tom Byer, 55, is known as the godfather of Japanese Youth Football, where his camps, soccer schools, a segment on a Tokyo television children’s program and a monthly feature in a leading manga have taught basic techniques to future stars like Aya Miyama, a member of Japan’s World Cup champion women’s team, and Manchester United’s midfielder Shinji Kagawa.
 
Tom Byer has now been working in China for five years, and is currently the Head Technical Advisor to the Chinese Ministry of Education, and oversees the Beijing Bureau of Education’s pilot kindergarten football program, and is Adidas Grassroots Football Ambassador in China, and AIA Insurance’s Grassroots Football Ambassador for 18 Asian countries.  He is the only foreigner on the Advisory Board of the Chinese Minsitry of Education as the country seeks to become a dominant global power in the sport.  More recently, Byer, an official Technical Advisor with the Asian Football Confederation, is working with UEFA and the German Bundesliga. 
 
The One Child One Ball program emphasises that the child’s most influential teacher is his/her parent.  “The technical philosophy empowers children so that they can go out and practice on their own — one player, one ball. We believe you don’t need a full-size pitch. You don’t need 10 other players. You don’t need to have a coach with you.  ” Tom said.
 
A brief visual presentation of the program showed that a young child does not need a big field and expert coaches to develop their fine motor and coordination skills at such a young age. All they need is the ball and a small space even in the living room of a house to gain these critical skills.   “Dr. John Ratey of Harvard University wrote the foreward and afterward to my book Football Starts At Home is a renowned psychiatrist whose research has well documented the links between exercise and mental and emotional well being of children.”
 
“India has some 100 million children under the age of 5. That’s 200 million parents.  As Tom always reminds me, Uruguay has a lot less people, and they’ve won the World Cup.  Educate the parents and check back in five years,” declares Maurya.
 
Arshiya Afsar, Co-founder & Executive Director of Iris Florets Schools present the launch conference said “Preschool football training is not just about introducing youngsters to the great game; but it can also have positive effects on their whole life. Whether they need a confidence boost, experience of working as a team or just the opportunity to let go and be free, physical play is the answer. Through this association with Fateh Hyderabad’s Football Grassroots program, iris wants to develop essential skills of the children that can be transferred to their everyday lives. Like – co-ordination, balance and concentration, not to mention boosting of self-confidence, teamwork and essential social skills. The obvious advantage to our children from this program will be gross and fine motor skill development, pencil grip, painless writing, even numeracy and colour identification skills. The Grassroots program fits perfectly with our vision to provide Holistic development to the children of our schools with unique and fun teaching. ”
 
Fateh Hyderabad AFC made its debut in the 2nd Division I-League in the 2015-2016 season. The 2nd Division I-League us the 2nd highest tier of National football in the country. After 1 year of valuable experience Fateh Hyderabad AFC is participating in the 2016-2017 I-League 2nd Division Season with a well prepared team mixed with youth and experience. 
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