Tag Archives: 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/

 

Former Barcelona assistant manager Albert Roca roped in as coach by Bengaluru FC

Barcelona, Albert Roca, Bengaluru FC , I-league, football, India, Catalonia Former Barcelona Assistant Signs Two-Year Deal With Indian Champions; AFC Cup Quarterfinal Will Be Roca’s First Game In Charge

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC are delighted to announce the appointment of Albert Roca as the club’s new coach. The 53-year-old Spaniard has signed a two-year deal that keeps him with the Blues till the end of the 2017-18 season.

Roca brings with him a wealth of coaching experience at the highest level having served as an assistant to Frank Rijkaard for five seasons at Barcelona (2003-2008) during which the Catalans won the Champions League once, the La Liga twice and the Spanish Super Cup twice before following the Dutchman in the same role to Turkish club Galatasaray (2009-2010) and finally the Saudi Arabian national team (2011-2013). Roca’s last job was as manager of the El Salvador national team where he was in charge for a year.

As a player, Roca’s most notable stints were with Real Zaragoza and CE Sabadell FC in the La Liga apart from shifts with a number of clubs in the second division.

“We are very excited to announce Albert Roca as the new coach of Bengaluru FC. He is, what I would call, a major signing at the club.  Albert has been with some of the best clubs in Europe as well as spent time in developing countries because of which he will have a great sense of the challenges India would bring,” said Parth Jindal, CEO, Bengaluru FC.

“We have had a very successful three years and Albert is only going to compound the efforts we have been making. He has also done some commendable work with young players in his career and that is absolutely in line with the philosophy of BFC where we are trying to develop players into stellar talent for the future,” he added.

Roca, a resident of Grannolers in Catalonia near Barcelona, said he was excited at the prospect of joining the Blues and was confident about playing the kind of football that the club and the supporters would be proud of.

“I’m very satisfied to have signed with Bengaluru FC. They are the champions of India, have fantastic supporters and most importantly, have a great support system and a management that is always hands on and wants to stay at the top. I want to assure our supporters that we will always give it our best. I want the supporters to be happy about the way we play,” said Roca.

Roca’s first game in charge will be the AFC Cup quarterfinal against Singapore side Tampines Rovers in September; a game he reckons will be a tough challenge. “The AFC Cup quarterfinal is definitely going to be a big challenge but we will do our best to get a good result and make the semis,” he said.

The Blues coach is expected to land in Bengaluru in the fourth week of July.

 

LG partners IFA for LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016

 IFA, LG Electronics, India, Football, U-19, Soccer, FA Shield, TournamentKolkata, 2nd February 2016 – IFA announced its partnership with LG Electronics for the LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament today.

 

The IFA Shield is the most prestigious football competition organized by the Indian Football Association since 1893. It is the fourth oldest club cup competition in the world after the English and Scottish FA cup’s and the Durand cup. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the viewership of football in India and the IFA Shield, which was made into a U-19 Tournament two years ago, is confident of gaining huge popularity.

 

To spread the popularity of LG IFA Shield U-19 Football Tournament beyond the borders of Bengal, some of the group matches of the tournament will be played in Kerala and Goa. As part of IFA’s commitment of development of youth football, IFA is committed to make the LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 into the most popular U-19 tournament in India.

 

Mr Baichung Bhutia unveiled the shield, which, even though the tournament has been modified into a U-19 tournament, has not changed since its inception. The country’s biggest U-19 sporting spectacle will see ten teams competing with each other over four weeks beginning  16th Feb.

 

With 23 matches being played across Bengal, Goa, and Kerala, this tournament celebrates the vibrant spirit of football showcasing some of the best U-19 talent available in the country today. The historical shield will also be taken on a Trophy Tour across various malls and social clubs in Kolkata in bid to bring the game closer to football fans and create more excitement around the tournament.

 

The participant includes Kingfisher East Bengal Club, Mohun Bagan AC, Md. Sporting Club, United Sports Club and U-19 team of All India Football Federation.

 

Besides these 5 teams, discussions are on with a team from Kerala, a team from Goa, Crystal Palace FC and one other overseas team.

 

LG India has also planned various online and on-ground promotional activities to engage with consumers and football aficionados and create a buzz around the tournament. The promotions will happen at all the major brand stores and MBOs. With buy-and-win offers, if you are lucky you could even win a chance to meet the celebrity.

 

Commenting on the occasion, Mr Niladri Datta, Head Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics India said, “LG has always believed in the spirit of sports and it is a great honour for LG to be associated with the Indian Football Association. We are happy to encourage young sporting talent by providing a platform for them to showcase their skills and spirit. Kolkata is the city of football lovers, where the game is followed ardently and we are thrilled to be here amidst all the positivity. LG salutes the spirit of the game that resonates strength, competition and dynamism. This association with IFA also serves as a platform for LG to connect with consumers who are football fans and passionate about the game.”

 

Speaking at the Press Conference, Mr UK Ganguli, Hony. Secretary of IFA (WB) said, “We are delighted to have LG Electronics as our partner for LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 and are extremely grateful for their support for Bengal football in general, and LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 in particular. The development of youth football is essential for improving the performance of Bengal football as well as Indian football and the LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 will provide an opportunity for the most talented U-19 players of the country to showcase their performance. LG, apart from supporting the tournament as the Title Sponsor, has planned various promotional activities to create interest for the tournament and we hope that the football loving people of Bengal will extend their support for the tournament by watching the matches in large numbers and cheering for their favourite teams in person.’’

 

Mr Baichung Bhutia, who attended the Press Conference as Special Invitee, said, “Kolkata and football are synonymous with each other and it is a great honour to be here for the LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016. It gives me immense pleasure in promoting a game that is close to my heart and embedded into the socio-cultural fabric of the city.”

 

Ms Mimi Chakraborty, the popular film actress and youth icon said, “I have grown up watching football in Kolkata and I am very happy to be a part of this legendary tournament. I hope to see Kolkatans come together to celebrate the spirit of the game and have an experience of a lifetime.”

Kovalam FC on a fine run in the U-15 Youth League

Ebin Rose, Kovalam FC, India, Football, Indianfootball, Grassroots, Kerala, Football, Academy, Thirvananthapuram, SoccerKovalam FC, the sole participant from Kerala in the ongoing U-15 Youth League is on a fine run. With one more match to go, Kovalam is currently the toppers of Group F : Rest of India II.

After going down to Fateh Hyderabad 2-1 in a closely contested opening match, Kovalam FC came back strongly to defeat Boca Juniors Football academy from Bangalore 7-1 in their second match. From then on there has been no looking back for Kovalam FC. In the subsequent matches, Kovalam defeated Mahogany FC 4-1(Chennai) and overcame Ozone FC (Bengaluru) 2-1.

Ebin Rose, Kovalam FC, India, Football, Indianfootball, Grassroots, Kerala, Football, Academy,Thiruvananthapuram, SoccerKovalam FC will play their final match on 30th vs Bengaluru FC. Kovalam will have to at least manage a draw from their last match, if they have to maintain their chances to qualify for the final round of the U-15 league. Two teams from each group would qualify to the next stage where they would be divided into two groups. Subsequently Top two teams will get the nod to semi-finals and eventual final will decide the maiden winner of U-15 Youth League.

Kovalam FC’s story is a typical rags to riches one. After a modest beginning in 2009 with 20 footballers, Kovalam FC has one of the finest grassroots set up in Kerala with over 100 players training with the team now.

Do check out this interview we did with Ebin Rose (former Kerala & I-league player), who is the chief coach and dons the all-in-all role at Kovalam FC:

Interview : Kovalam FC’s Ebin Rose on Grassroots Development and More

Agents of Tomorrow

football, soccer, india, sonu lamba, ranti martins, sunil chhetri, agent, top, Dudu Omagbemi, Shankar, Rino Anto, Vineeth, Eugeneson, Israil Gurung

Mariadon Pathaw writes about football agents working in India.

The manager runs the game, players deliver the score, and the fans – they are the team’s 12th man, overwhelming the team with all their backing. During a transfer window, we hear about players, the management, and the board who takes a call on the transfers, and the manager who decides on the options available and so on, but seldom do we hear about the “agents” who are trying to get these transfers possible. They are a shadow presence in the whole scheme of things, and they represent the player at all times.

A football agent is someone who lightens the burden of players in matters relating to club transfers, salary and contract negotiations. A player appoints an agent and the agent takes care of everything related to his footballing side thus enabling the player to deliver maximum on the ground and stay focused on his trade of playing the game.

We are well aware of the famous agents of the west. Jorge Mendes, who represents Cristiano Ronaldo, Falcao, and Jose Mourinho. Pere Guardiola who was responsible for the $130 million transfer of Suarez to Barcelona FC and so on. But little do we know about the player agents in India, who work with our footballers.

Sunil Chhetri and Eugeneson Lyngdoh – these are the names synonymous to football in India. But who is responsible for their transfers? The man behind is Sonu Lamba, a top football player agent who deals with the country’s best football talent. In a conversation with Sonu Lamba, he shared how his great love and passion for Indian football brought him to his current career, moving away from his engineering and Merchant Navy stint. In 2013, when his daughter was born, he decided not to return to the sea and decided to pursue his passion and do his bit to develop football in India, and there began his stint as a football player agent. Sonu represents Sunil Chhetri, Rino Anto, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, CK Vineeth, Balwant Singh, Udanta Singh, Anwar Ali, Shankar Sampingiraj, Ashutosh Mehta, Keegan Pereira and Sehnaj Singh.

When asked about the biggest challenge in his job, he said, “it is gaining the player’s trust.” Player agents not only secure the best deal for a player, but also double up as a guiding force for the player, helping him in his professional life. He added, “Getting a deal is not the main job for an agent. His job is to make sure that the deal is in the best interest of the player. The agent is like the go-to man for the player for any problems he may have; I am here to solve it.”

Adewale Seriki, who hails from Nigeria and is currently in Goa, is no stranger to Indian football. This former JCT player is the man behind the contracts of various African players plying their trade in India. He represents a host of players including Friday GbenemeEbi SukorePenn OrjiObiora AnorueEkenne Ekenwa, and the attacking duo of Dudu Omagbemi and Ranti Martins. Apart from foreign players, Adewale also works with many local players who have the potential and the determination to work hard on field. Israil Gurung, currently playing for the FC Pune City is one among them. Coach Abdulaziz Bola, who won Durand Cup with Mohammedan Sporting in 2013, is also a client of Adewale. His enthusiasm to spend time on observing and studying local players has made him one of the few foreign agents in India, who deals with local as well as foreign talent.

Football in India is yet to make a mark. For the development of Indian football, it is imperative that agents play a role in ensuring that the players have the right remuneration, and are able to secure their rights during contracts. The work is yet to begin, and for Indian football, these are baby steps towards making a mark in the global football scene. Agents are here to help build that tomorrow, and the future definitely looks bright!

 

Editorial support from Sreedhanya

AFC Annual Awards 2015 Nominees

AFC, Asia, Football, Awards, Soccer, India, New Delhi

 

Here is the list of all nominees for the AFC Annual Awards 2015 that is taking place in New Delhi, India.

AFC Member Association of the Year

Inspiring
Football Federation Australia
IR Iran Football Federation
Japan Football Association

Developing
Hong Kong Football Association
Tajikistan Football Federation
Vietnam Football Federation

Aspiring
Bangladesh Football Federation
Bhutan Football Federation
National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam

AFC Dream Asia Award

Chinese Football Association
Japan Football Association
Vietnam Football Federation

AFC National Team of the Year

Men
Australia National Team
Korea Republic National Team
Uzbekistan U-20 National Team

Women
Japan Women’s National Team
Japan U-19 Women’s National Team
DPR Korea U-16 Women’s National Team

AFC Coach of the Year

Men
Ange Postecoglou (AUS)
Norio Sasaki (JPN)
Mahdi Ali Hassan (UAE)

Women
Gao Hong (CHN)
Asako Takakura (JPN)
Nuengrutai Srathongvian (THA)

AFC Player of the Year

Men
Zheng Zhi (CHN)
Ahmed Khalil (UAE)
Omar Abdulrahman (UAE)

Women
Elise Kellond-Knight (AUS)
Aya Miyama (JPN)
Rumi Utsugi (JPN)

AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football

Inspiring
IR Iran
Japan
Uzbekistan

Developing
Jordan
Palestine
Vietnam

Aspiring
Brunei Darussalam
Kyrgyz Republic
Sri Lanka

AFC Fair Play Association of the Year

Chinese Football Association
Japan Football Association
Korea Football Association

AFC Club of the Year

Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN)
Johor Darul Ta’zim (MAS)
Al Ahli (UAE)

AFC Futsal Player of the Year

Hasan Zadeh Navlighe Ali Asghar (IRN)
Vahid Shamsaee (IRN)
Mohammad Naser Safari (IRN)

AFC Futsal Team of the Year

Tasisat Daryaei (IRN)
Qadsia (KUW)
Thai Son Nam FC (VIE)

AFC Youth Player of the Year

Men
Dostonbek Khamdamov (UZB)
Eldor Shomurodov (UZB)
Zabikhillo Urinboev (UZB)

Women
Rikako Kobayashi (JPN)
Ri Hae Yon (PRK)
Ri Hyang Sim (PRK)

AFC Foreign Player of the Year

Everton Augusto De Barros Ribeiro (BRA)
Ricardo Goulart Pereira (BRA)
Juan Carlos Rodriguez Belencoso (ESP)

AFC Asian International Player of the Year

Massimo Luongo (AUS)
Ki Sung Yueng (KOR)
Son Heung Min (KOR)

Federation Cup to return in 2016?

Football, Indianfootball, Federation Cup, Kerala, Soccer

The I-league executive committee meeting happened today evening and news is trickling out that Federation Cup will be revived in 2016. A PTI report quotes sources inside AIFF in a report confirming this development.

“It has informally decided that AIFF is likely re-start the Federation Cup from May, 2016 after the conclusion of the I-league. It has been decided that Federation Cup will be a month-long affair rather than being a 10-day thing which has been the norm. It will be held in home and away knock-out basis,” says an unidentified AIFF official in the PTI report.

The logic behind this quick reversal of ideas is attributed to the fact that I-league will only be a nine-team affair after Royal Wahindoh’s pull out.

“Look, if it is a 9-team I-League, then each team will play only 16 I-League matches. That is an insufficient number. Now to play the qualifying rounds of the AFC Champions League, a club needs to play a minimum of 18 matches in a year,” the source said.

“So Federation Cup will be an 8-team affair. So at least 8 teams will get a chance to play 18 matches. The 9th team of I-League in any case will be relegated. The decision to have a one-month Federation Cup was taken on AIFF Academy Director Scott Odonell’s recommendation. It was seconded by senior vice-president Subrata Dutta,” said the official to PTI.

 

Read the PTI report here.

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

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

1998 World Cup :

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

Table :

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

Matches :

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

2002 World Cup

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

Table :

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

Matches :

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

Attendance: 12,000

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

Attendance: 21,000

26-Apr-01
UAE 1-0 India
Khater  63′

Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium,

Al Ain City

Attendance: 12,000

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

Vijayan  51′

Althawra Sports City Stadium, San‘a’

Attendance: 25,000

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

2006 World Cup

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

Table :

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

Matches :

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

Attendance: 28,000

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

Ahmed Mubarak  26′, 49′

Al Hinai 60′, 88′

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi

Attendance: 48,000

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

Saitama Stadium, Saitama

Attendance:  63,000

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

Ono 60′
Fukunishi 71′
Miyamoto 87′

Yuva Bharati Krirangan, Bidhannagar

Attendance: 90,000

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

2010 World Cup

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

Matches :

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

Attendance: 500

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

Attendance: 10,000

2014 World Cup

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

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

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

Kerala Blasters – ISL Season II Preview

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

Indian Super League Season II – Northeast United FC Team Preview

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

 

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

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

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

Ratings :

 

Goalkeeper : 

8

 

 

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

 

Defence : 6

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

Midfield : 7

 

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

Forward : 7

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Player to watch:

 

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

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