Tag Archives: India

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

Why the revamped AFC Cup format is a raw deal for India

AFC Cup, 2017, India, South Asia, West Zone, ASEAN Zone, Bengaluru FC, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, New Format

 

Guru Prasad, a football enthusiast from Bengaluru takes a closer look at the new format of AFC Cup.

 

You can follow him on twitter here.

When AFC came out with a new format for the AFC Cup, there were some reports in the media about how the revamped format will be beneficial for Indian clubs participating in the continental championship. However, a closer look at the revamped format reveals that instead of it being beneficial for our clubs, it could turn out to be detrimental for them and in turn it could also take a hit on the member association (MA rankings) for India. MA rankings are used by AFC to determine the number of slots a country gets in the continental championships, the AFC Cup and the AFC Champions league.

First let us take a look at the new format. Starting from 2017,  instead of the two zones, clubs are going to be divided into five zones –  West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and ASEAN. A total of 36 clubs will be competing from these zones. Each zones are allocated teams through direct slots and through play offs.  Slot allocation for the five zones are as follows:

West Asia Zone : 9 direct/3 from play-offs = 12 teams (Three groups)

ASEAN Zone : 9 direct/3 from play-offs = 12 teams (Three groups)

Central Asia Zone : 3 direct/1 from play-offs = 4 teams (One group)

East Asia Zone : 3 direct/1 from play-offs = 4 teams (One group)

South Asia Zone : 3 direct/1 from play-offs = 4 teams (One group)

As you can see all South Asian teams comes under one group. That means, Bengaluru FC (should they drop-down to AFC Cup without reaching the group stages of AFC Champions League), will be joined by Maziya from Maldives and Abhani Limited of Bangladesh. The fourth spot in the group will be taken by the winners of the play-off round in South Asia.

This is how the play off round for the south Asia looks like :AFC Cup, 2017, AFC, South Asia, Mohun Bagan, Thimpu FC, Bhutan, Football, Asia, Colombo FC, Sri Lanka,

Federation Cup winners Mohun Bagan will have to play two matches against South Asian teams to even reach the group stage of the competition (No MA points are accrued for prelims and Play-off matches). Now, compare this with the AFC Cup format of 2016, where both teams from India – Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC were placed in two different groups (Group G & H)and had a chance to go further in the competition. Whereas in 2017 they will be fighting with each other in the same group, if Bagan qualify for the group stages. And only one team, that is either Bengaluru FC or Mohun Bagan will be progressing to the further stages of the competition.

Now take a look at the West Asian Zone, they have 3 groups in the zone and the teams are dispersed in these groups. For example, Air Force Club of Iraq who were the 2016 AFC Cup champions after defeating  Bengaluru FC is placed in Group B of West Zone and Al Zawraa another club from Iraq is placed in Group A, offering the two teams a chance to progress further in the tournament. ASEAN zone is another one with an unfair advantage over others. ASEAN zone has 3 groups and teams from these countries are dispersed among these groups. AFC cup 2016 semi finalists Johor Darul Ta’zim is in Group F of the competition, whereas another Malaysian team Felda United is placed in Group G. The only thing good coming out of this format revamp is that there will be representation from more countries in AFC Cup and probably lesser miles traveled by teams to play the away matches.

The MA ranking conundrum

With the new  format in place, the MA rankings of India could take hit too. Lets us take a look.

if 2 or more teams participate from the same MA, then their points get averaged out and if one team is good but others are not good, then the points gained by MA is not good (e.g. For Malaysia, last year where JDT reached semifinal, but other team crashed out of group stage taking their points gained only to 7.167), this is a shortcoming in AFC’s points calculation mechanism. And it gives advantage to the MA from where only one team is participating and if the participating team performs well in the competition, then MA points gained will be very good. Where as for MAs with more teams, this method proves to be disadvantageous. Because, if MAs with one or more teams participating, then all the teams must perform very well to gain more points, like the case with India last year).

But this year’s format of AFC Cup has aggravated the situation for top MAs in south, central and East zone (with India and Tajikistan being the biggest losers), as one team from one MA will not advance out of group stage, hence points gained will be low for an MA with 2 teams. In addition, AFC cup points only account for 1/3rd that of ACL games. This means India is the biggest loser in this case (If BFC doesn’t go to the group stage of ACL and perform well there) there will be no chance for India to break in to the Top 6 MAs in the region before 2017 November whose rankings will be counted for slot allocations of 2019 and 2020. So, AFC is trying to preserve status quo in ACL slot allocations and West and ASEAN zone in AFC cup and prevent new MAs being represented in ACL. Although not apparent unless you read between the lines and dig deeper on the new format. As per the new format, as a country it is advantageous for us only if one club makes it to the group stage of the tournament. If two of them make it to the group stage, it would be detrimental for our MA rankings. A real catch-22 situation for us!

Also noticeable is that ASEAN and West Asian teams that qualify for further stages play 4 and 2 more games respectively than the rest, if the points accrued in these extra matches also count (zonal Semifinals and zonal finals) then all the other zones are at a serious disadvantage.

This is where it gets utterly tricky for India, if Bengaluru FC doesn’t qualify for ACL and at least doesn’t get till Quarterfinals (pray to god for some miracle!!), then the next window of opportunity for substantial increase in MA rankings and better slot allocation comes only in 2020 whose ranking will probably be counted for 2021 allocations and there is a plan to count only club performance for that, at the moment we can’t say for sure if that it will be beneficial to India as there are countries where National team is below par, but clubs do extremely well.

Status Quoist AFC?

Its looks like AFC isn’t an exception in trying to maintain status quo, there are many world sporting bodies like UEFA (who are trying to change UCL structure to give unusual preference to top MAs), ICC (The Big three control the revenue and administration preventing smaller cricketing nations a greater share of revenue and associate nations with remote chance of playing test matches)etc, and Indian football in tatters due to ongoing restructuring and shutting shops of old clubs also doesn’t help. And AFC being status quoist that it is, Clubs can’t expect too much help from them in the current crisis.

On the whole, the revamped format of the AFC Cup along with the current method of MA ranking calculation, it is quite obvious that India has got a raw deal with the recent format revamp of the AFC Cup. Despite all the challenges our clubs have been facing on the domestic front, performances on the continental level in the AFC Cup has been quite decent from our clubs. This revamp of the competition format is going to cripple our progress in terms of MA rankings and our quest for a direct slot in the AFC champions League. Although Some may say It is too soon to dream about direct slot in ACL, we never know until we are tested rigorously and only then do we have a chance to Improve ourselves.

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!

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. 

Indian Super League Season 3 Preview : Chennaiyin FC

Here we go with the 2nd preview on Chennayin FC.

Chennaiyin FC coached by Marco Materazzi is the current champions of Indian Super league. Starting from the 1st season, Chennayin FC has a great record in the ISL. In the 1st season, they finished top in the league table and qualified for the playoffs. Materazzi will be hoping to replicate the same feat even this season. However, things will be quite different for Chennayin this season as they will miss out on two crucial players they had for the last two seasons. Marquee player Elano who scored 12 goals for the team in the last two seasons and was pulling strings in the midfield with his deft touches and freekicks will be sorely missed by the team. Same with Stiven Mendoza, the Colombian liver wire who has scored 17 goals for the franchise in the last two seasons has joined Newyork City FC in the MLS. It will have to be seen how the team copes up with these departures.

Another notable thing Chennayin has done prior to this season is that they signed on 5 AIFF academy graduates  – Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Baoringdao Bodo and Bedashwor Singh. We will have to see if any of these players will find a regular place in the line-up since they are quite young to be blooded in a league where there is so much at stake. However, this is a great gesture from the franchise and the boys  are bound to learn a lot training under Marco and the other senior players in the team.

Now, let’s go ahead and analyze the different departments of the team.

GK: Duwayne Kerr, Karanjith Singh, Pawan Kumar

Duwayne Kerr is a Jamaican goalkeeper, who has played in Norway and Iceland. He is a very dominating big figure in the box. If Marco decides o play an Indian GK, Karanjith with his immense experience will be the choice. Pawan Kumar who has played for Bengaluru FC earlier and was part of Mumbai FC will be definitely an able back up!

Defenders : Abhishek Das (RB),  Bernard Mendy(RB), Dhanachandra Singh (LB), Eder (CD), Elie Sabia (CB), Riise, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Nallapan Mohanraj (RB).

We will mostly see Mendy being partnered with Riise in the middle of the defense, other central defending options are the new signings Eli Sabia, and Eder, who had a stint with Salgaocar in the I-league. Wadoo had a great season for Chennaiyin last time around and he will most probably the pick for RB.  Dhanachandra Singh who was a mainstay for the team in the last season will be the pick for LB.

Mid : Zakker Mundampara, Baljit Sahni, Dhanpal Ganesh, Manuel Blassi, Hans Mulder, Raphael Augusto, Siam Hangal and Thoi Singh

Hans Mulder, the Dutch footballer who gave a good account of himself in the last two editions of ISL for Delhi Dynamos is the new foreign recruit in the mid-field line up. Manuel Blassi and Raphael Augusto were a constant presence in Chennaiyin’s lineup last year, and this year I expect one of them to sit out and Hans Mulder taking that place. The Indian line up with Zakkeer, Dhanpal, Siam Hangal and Thoi Singh looks quite formidable too. However, i feel the midfield line-up esepcially the Indian contigent lacks in creativity and this could pose a serious threat for CFC.

Forwards : Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Davide Succi, Jayesh Rane, Jeje, Dudu, Maurizio Peluso, Uttam Rai.

Now, this is going to be a real problem area for Chennaiyin. As we mentioned earlier, MENDOZA WILL BE MISSED. Instead of him Materazzi has decided to bring in two Italian attackers.  Davide Succi and Maurizio Peloso. Succi is a 34 year old forward who has played for teams like Chievo, Palermo and Bologna, with pretty good conversion rate as well. Maurizio Peluso seems to be an attacker who plays mainly on the wings and has played in the lower divisions of the Italian league. Dudu is the other forward and he doesn’t need any introduction. He has been playing in India for a long time now and is pretty prolific as well. It will have to be seen if these new recruits can fill Mendoza’s shoes. Coming to the Indian contingent, Jeje is the standout name here. He had a very good season with Chennayin FC last year and would be hoping to replicate the same kind of form this season as well. Daniel is a highly rated forward who plays for BFC but he is going to miss some action due to BFC’s AFC Cup commitments. Jayesh Rane who plays for Mumbai FC had a good season with Chennaiyin last time around will be hoping to pitch in with some goals this season. Uttam Rai is a highly rated forward who plays for Dempo Sports Club. When he burst onto the scene, he was quite a sensation and but he did not live up to that hype after that.

On the whole, this team looks pretty decent but as we said, it will have to be really seen if they can replicate the same form they managed in the first two seasons. And I feel, Chennaiyin will miss out on the playoffs this season! Yes, you heard it right! :)

Listen to this preview on Youtube :

Indian Super League Season 3 Preview : Atlético de Kolkata

Indian Super League season 3 is about to start and here we preview the Atlético de Kolkata team for the season! Have a listen and let us know your thoughts!

Aston Villa to open academy in India

Aston Villa, Football, Soccer, India, Government, artificial turf, academy, grass roots, indian super league, Vijay Goel, Prakesh JavedekarAston Villa’s new owner Tony Xia was in India, meeting government officials to discuss the possibility of setting up an academy and engage with Indian Super League clubs.

Yesterday, the club announced their plans to set up an academy and seek opportunities to tie-up with Indian Super league clubs. The club website said after meeting with Minister of Sports Vijay Goel and the Minister of Education Prakesh Javedekar, Aston Villa will be appointed as an advisor on football. The sport is a part of the national curriculum for Indian state schools.

Villa’s new academy will come up in New Delhi on a property provided by the Municipal Council. The new academy will have state-of-the-art facilities, including an artificial turf.

The report also mentions about a possible tie-up with an Indian Super League side.

Aston Villa Chairman Tony Xia was quoted as saying :

“Aston Villa Football Club, one of the most successful football clubs in the history of English football, plans to expand globally and India is one of the countries where Aston Villa not only wants to have an Indian Super League club but also open football academies all over India!”

#KickForABrick – Chhetri and Ranbir takes the kick!

Lenovo, Sunil Chhetri, Ranbor kapoor, Donosti, Yuwa, Jharkhand, NGO, football, womens football, india, spain, kickforabickAfter the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the internet is in a frenzy over the #KickForABrick challenge.

While the rest of the world has been busy talking about Iceland’s meteoric rise at the Euro’s 16, Messi’s retirement after Argentina’s loss at the Copa America and other teams such as Germany, Spain, England, Poland etc a section of the Indian audience has been glued on to the #KickForABrick challenge.

 

The video that started it off appeared on Twitter a couple of days ago, and shows Ranbir Kapoor and Mumbai City FC striker & Captain of the Indian Football team Sunil Chhetri passing the ball to one another. They then proceed to challenge their fans to take up the #KickForABrick challenge.

 

 

And here’s the effect it had on fans.

 

From simple kicks

 

 

 

To mind-blowing tricks

 

  To Sketches of footballs made on paper   https://twitter.com/anuragsinha1992/status/749644524012568577   And even human footballs  

 

People have come together to support the YUWA girls in their quest to build a new school.

 

The reason for doing so became clear after we took a closer look at the video. Ranbir and Sunil were heard saying “Every time you kick a ball, the YUWA girls get to add a brick to their new school.

 

A quick google search later, we chanced upon a site where we found out that the girls from the NGO YUWA have travelled all the way to Spain to play at the Donosti Cup-the largest youth football tournament in the world in order to raise funds for their school.
Looks like their story tugged at the internet’s heart strings & sent these people into a #KickForABrick frenzy.

 

And it’s simple to participate. Record your video, send it to +91 7718991766 or upload it on to Facebook & Twitter and challenge your friends using #KickForABrick. For more information, you can log on to http://www.girlswithgoals.in/kick-for-brick

 

And if football, is not your thing, you can simply donate money to fund the YUWA girls’ school on http://girlswithgoals.ketto.org/

 

1 2 3 24