Tag Archives: #Indianfootball

Kerala Plans to Conduct the AFC Grassroots Day in a Grand Way

AFC, Grass Roots, Football, kerala, India, Indianfootball, Soccer, Thiruvananthapuram, Trivandurm, Kovalam, Kovalam FC, Idukki, Kollam, Unity Soccer, Maradu FA, Ernakulam, Malappuram, Nilambur United, Nilambur, Wayanad United, Wayanad, Ernakulam, KochiAsian Football Confederation (AFC)  is celebrating the 2nd ‘AFC Grassroots Day’ on the 15 May, 2014 . The purpose and objective of the celebration is to ensure awareness of the necessity of Grassroots activities with a vision for tomorrow with effective foundation of football.

Reports suggest that around 480 kids aged between 6 and 12 will participate in football festivals conducted across 7 centers in Kerala. In Thiruvanthapuram, the festival will be conducted in Kovalam and it is expected that Kovalam FC will be playing a major role in the festival there. Kollam District Football Academy, Alappuzha Santos FA, Unity Soccer in Idukki, Maradu FA in Ernakulam, Nilambur United FC in Malappuram, Wayanad United F.A  are the other centers that will be hosting the festival in Kerala.

Update : Two more venues will be hosting the AFC Grassroots day today in Kerala. In kozhikode, the Calicut Coaches Club along with KDFA will be conducting a football festival. It also reported that a similar fest will take place in Pathanamthitta too.

New Club on the block – Jaithra Kerala of SEPT!

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Club Logo

We had earlier reported that Sports Education and Promotion Trust [SEPT], the Kerala based football academy will be unveiling their professional club on May 4th in Kozhikode. In a gala function that took place yesterday in Mananchira Maidhan, SEPT unveiled their professional club named Jaithra Kerala and the club logo.

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Club Launch

Jaithra Kerala will function under SEPT Sports and Entertainment Pvt Ltd. The club is aiming for an I-league slot in the next four years. The current trend in Kerala football is forming clubs with active particpation of communities. SEPT is also duly following the model. SEPT is rolling out membership and has manged to rake in a good number of supporters for their effort. It is being reported that anyone can secure a membership by paying INR 1800.

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SEPT has drafted in players from their U-17 academy for the club. With over 50 active football coaching centers across the Kerala, SEPT is planning to use these centers as the catchment area to select footballers to the club. It is also said that talented players outside the centers would also be drafted into the club through a selection process.

SEPT, Jaithra Kerala, Football, Academy, Kerala, Soccer, Indianfootball, Sports, Kozhikode, Mananchira, Arun Nanu, India, MalabarIn the 10th year of existence, the formation of a professional club is a massive step forward for SEPT. By this SEPT also becomes the first football academy in Kerala to graduate to a full professional set up. Their vast experience is training and coaching youngsters across the state would hold  in good stead for their progress. SEPT players are the main stay of all the age group teams from Kerala and around five SEPT players have represented Indian age group teams. SEPT is also planning to commence operations of two residential academies in Kerala.

Here is the Facebook Page of Jaithra Kerala, Go ahead and Like them!

Four Indian Boys Heading To FC METZ

Football Club de Metz, Delhi, NCR, Eric benny, India, Football, France, Ligue 2, Indianfootball, Soccer, Training, Academy, FC MetzWith youth development of football in India as its main focus, Eric Benny Sports Management earlier this year announced the launch of “My Chance” – a unique football tournament that would identify indigenous grassroot talent and sponsor their training at the French club, FC Metz which is known for producing world class players such as Robert Pires, Emmanuel Adebayor, Miralem Pjanic amongst others.

This one of a kind talent hunt saw over 75 teams from the NCR sweat it out in the age category of Under 13 and Under 15 years. One of the aims of this unique initiative by the former Indian Team Manager, Eric Benny is to not just promote Indian football but also, add to the already existing team of 6 aspiring young Indian footballers who Eric Benny has placed at the French club over the last 2 years. A firm believer of the small sided version of the beautiful game, Eric Benny ensured that talent was spotted with the smaller age playing 4 v 4 and the elder ones playing 7 v 7 with the technical staff from FC Metz on each pitch at the Ambedkar Stadium here in New Delhi. After 3 days of intense short duration games, Eric Benny along with his FC Metz team announced the 4 individual winners of the tournament.

The four boys that were selected to train at FC Metz for a short stint after the 3 days of this Football Club de Metz, Delhi, NCR, Eric benny, India, Football, France, Ligue 2, Indianfootball, Soccer, Training, Academy, FC Metzunique tournament were: Anand, Rajkumar who were from My Angels Academy, Ramon Bathla from St. Pauls School and Amrendra Tyagi from Sherwood College.

Eric Benny, Chief Executive – Eric Benny Sports Management shared his thoughts on My Chance. “My thoughts and intentions when I announced the initiative earlier this year were clear. I wanted to give those boys a chance who had what it takes to compete alongside other aspiring young boys who come from footballing nations from around the world. It’s easier said than done when someone in India talks about wanting to play in Europe, especially in a club like FC Metz who have one of the best youth development systems in Europe. I would like to thank FC Metz staff and the French Embassy for being a part of this and I appreciate their support in helping me achieve my dream which is to take Indian football to the next stage. These boys who we have selected will go stay at the academy in FC Metz for a period of 3 to 4 weeks where they will not only get the exposure to live and train in an international academy but also realise the importance of how a professional player needs to take care of small aspects such as eating and sleeping right. This is a small step towards bringing the big change towards Indian football”

Denis Schaeffer, Director of Formation- FC Metz Academy who has established a strong relationship with Eric Benny and been to the capital more than once was not shy of making his intentions and observations. He said “When I go back to France this time, I am sure to tell everyone that this trip was more than just a nice weekend in India. It was about finding the right boys who have that hunger to play in Europe. We know that Indian sports is dominated by cricket, and we do not intend to do any harm to that but we believe and we know that the next big thing is football in India and we are glad to be associated with someone such as Eric to help us achieve that.

I have mentioned this a few times before that I am more than happy to come over more than just once or twice a year to find and spot the right talent in India who we at Metz believe can play in a footballing nation such as France”

Alongside Denis Schaeffer was Pierre Gillet, President of the Academy at FC Metz who was in India for the first time and excited to be here. Adding a bit of humour to the air around, he said “This is a very funny moment because my English is not very good”. With the collaboration and My Chance, Pierre shared the same thoughts as Denis. He added “We at Metz believe that this collaboration would only add value to Indian football”

Max Claudet, Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy, who was also a part of the panel, said “I have always been more than happy to help Eric and his work. We at the Embassy are looking for more ways and ideas to strengthen the Indo-French relationship especially for younger children and when Eric and I spoke a couple of years ago about how he intends to help young Indian boys and girls, we knew that this would be perfect because we believe in the youth. I have not shared this with Eric as of now, but we at the Embassy would be more than happy to help boys or girls who would head to Metz in respect with aspects such as their living abroad or with documentation. We would like to always be a part of this project”.

Eric Benny also took this time to announce the partnership with Mr K.B Chhetri, the Managing Director of Letz Play. Mr K.B Chhetri, father of the Indian national team Captain, Sunil Chhetri said “I am happy to be a part of this unique partnership with Eric Benny Sports Management. What I am also happy to announce is that my son, Sunil Chhetri is more than happy to represent Eric Benny Sports Management and Letz Play making him the brand ambassador for all our future projects and initiatives across the country. Eric Benny believes in developing the youth of this country in football and so do we. I believe that this partnership can only take things forward for Indian football”.

INDIA – Are You Really Interested In Qualifying For a Senior World Cup? Just Look At The Results and You Will Understand Where to Focus!

Guest column by by Yogesh Maurya (Football coach).  

Thanks firstly to my good friend Tom Byer for pointing me in the direction of this whole new way of thinking a few years ago, some of which I am going to present now.

2017, FIFA, U-17, World Cup, India, Football, SoccerIndia is hosting the U17 World Cup in 2017.  And as the host nation, they qualify automatically.  I love the U17 tournament because it is often a big coming out party for future professionals who have not yet signed pro contracts or made their debuts. Countless top players have played in it.  But it is my contention that until India qualifies for U17 World Cup through the AFC U16 competition, we will keep wasting our breath about the senior tournament.

Look, for all those people who think the elite player pool solution is going to bring consistent results that match what we now see Japan delivering, South Korea and even North Korea…the results tell a very different story.  What do I mean?  I did a little research on World Cup qualification.  Simple research.  No algorithms.  No big data mining.  It worked on my envelope and my cocktail napkin, and I deduced a conclusion that is terribly obvious yet I am unsure whether a lot of people get it yet.  My eyes might have missed a few things here and there, but the results are so clearly in one direction, they can only be rounding errors!

So this is what I did:

I looked at all the countries that have qualified for the Senior Men’s FIFA World Cup since 2002 (4 World Cups) and then looked to see if those countries had ever qualified for the FIFA U17 World Cup (excluding qualifying for hosting).  Please note that the U17 WC was 16 teams until 2007, when it was increased to 24 teams.  For the U17 WC, which is held every 2 years I went all the way back to the 2001 tournament.

Amongst the Brazil 2014 countries that have qualified, only five, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Russia, and Greece had not qualified for U17…that is 5 out of 32!  Well, all these countries are also from the two most competitive footballing continents on the planet so really not a big deal.  Every country from the AFC had qualified for U17! But when I saw these countries that had not qualified for U17, I thought, let us look at the U20 World Cup as well.  In the U20 World Cup, many players have already made their professional debut.  All of a sudden the list got even smaller.  Only Bosnia & Herzegovina left.  And we know how competitive football is in that region.  So 1 country out of 32!

Next I looked at Germany 2010:  Only Serbia and Slovenia had not qualified for an U17 or U20.

South Africa 2006:  Only the former Serbia & Montenegro had not qualified for a U17 or U20.

Japan and South Korea 2002:  Only Slovenia and Senegal.  Again, very competitive continents in Europe and Africa in terms of producing top world talent.

We are talking about 4 countries over 4 World Cups spanning the last 12 years!  Note that no AFC country is in the list, and I excluded qualification for hosting!  Many of the countries have qualified for the U17 and U20 consistently as well.  And for those of you who think Burkina Faso’s runner-up finish in the African Cup of Nations and their playoff run in the World Cup qualifiers is surprising, just see their U17 and U20 qualification record.

So what does it mean?  India is highly unlikely to qualify for the World Cup without first qualifying for the U17 or U20, even if they expand the field.  So India should focus on qualifying (not by hosting it) for the U17 by advancing through the AFC U16 Championship.   And by the way, none of the top Asian countries are just resting on their laurels.  They keep pushing the boundary so there is work to do.

Where?  At the youngest ages.  But how?  It is not about starting an academy or putting some investment into grassroots.  Barcelona spends something near 10 million euros a year on La Masia, depending on whose figures are to be used.  They are the example everyone looks at.  They still saw fit to buy Neymar for 100 million.

Are we paying attention to the African nations that are producing players competing in The Champion’s League?  Many of them do not have the wealth and resources India does.  Therefore it is not about infrastructure either.  I digress slightly here.  The greatest American baseball relief pitcher of all-time, Mariano Rivera used old milk cartons for a glove, and fishing nets and worn out baseballs for a ball.  He mastered one pitch and rode that to being the best ever.  And I am not suggesting this is socioeconomic either.  It is not about the socioeconomic background of the player.

There is a whole different paradigm going on here.  Do you understand it?  Do you even see it?

PS/ and a hint though really I have explained it many times:  The Japanese women’s team has already won the World Cup.  The U17 Women’s team just won the U17 title, waxing everyone if I might say…21 goals for, 1 goal against. Beat Spain twice.  If you cannot see it in my posts, you might see it through watching them.

Yogesh Maurya :

Football Yogi- Article 1-edited (1)

Yogesh Maurya played Collegiate soccer for Columbia University in New York and was a United States High School All American, representing New Jersey in the US Olympic development program. In the last 4 years alone, he has spent over 3000 hours on and off the pitch coaching and studying tactics and youth player development.


Winners of Football Players’ Association of India [FPAI] Awards

FPAI, IndianFootball, Soccer, India, Football, I-league, Soccer, Darryl Duffy, Alwyn George, Balwant Singh, Jose Ramires Barretto, Boithang Haokip, Dempo, Salgaocar, Churchill Brothers, Brazil, Scotland, Shillong Lajong, Churchill BrothersMcDowell’s No.1 Indian Football Awards by the Football Players’ Association of India [FPAI] was given out yesterday in a function at Kolkata. West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan and former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly were the chief guests for the occasion.

The winners of the awards are as follows :

Lifetime Achievement: P.K. Banerjee

Young Player of the Year: Alwyn George (Dempo)

Foreign Player of the Year: Darryl Duffy (Salgaocar)

Football ka No.1 Spirit: Jose Ramirez Barreto

Fans’ Player of the Year: Boithang Haokip (Shillong Lajong FC)

Coach of the Year: Ashley Westwood (Bengaluru FC, Absent)

Indian Footballer of the Year: Balwant Singh (Churchill)

Indian Super League Club Workshop Ongoing

Former french international Olivier Nicolas André Dacourt has posted a picture on twitter where he is addressing Indian Super League Club Workshop. We are inferring that this is a workshop for the teams on managers and player recruitment.


I-League Bangalored!

Even though the term Bangalored has a negative connotation to it, when you see what unfolded in the 2013-2014 I-league season, it is pretty much obvious that Bengaluru FC Bangalored the I-league title. Since its inception in 2007, I-league has been synonymous to the victory of Goan clubs. In 2013-14 season, Bengaluru FC smoothly captured the reigns and brought the title home!

Bengaluru FC, I-league, Indianfootball, Bangalore, Football, SoccerWhen Bengaluru FC backed by JSW was announced in July 2013, two tasks were in front of them. Of course building competitive team would have been the first priority, but the second wouldn’t have been that easy. Bangalore is a football loving city, when local clubs like ITI and HAL play, a good number of crowd is present in the stadium cheering these teams. The  challenge in front of the newly formed Bengaluru FC would have been to appease the traditional football crowd and attract a new gamut of crowd who are mainly followers of European football. With 23 matches into the league and the title in pocket, it is obvious that Bengaluru FC managed this fete with aplomb. With promotions, smart tie-ups and social media presence, the club managed an average attendance of 7500 in every home match.

The team, captained by national captain Sunil Chhetri also lived up to the expectations. When the club was formed in July, there were not many players to choose from as other clubs had already snapped up players. However, shrewd recruitment and excellent coaching from Ashley Westwood saw many players who were earlier bench-warming with other clubs rise to the occasion.  Players like Beikhokhei Beingaichho, Darren Caldeira and Thoi Singh are prime examples. While all other I-league clubs hired and fired overseas players all through the season, Bengaluru FC’s foreign contingent has been top performers for the team.

With high attendance on even week-days, Bengaluru FC with their vociferous supporters madeBengaluru FC, Crowd, Indianfootball, Soccer, I-league, Football, JSW, Jindal, Steelmen the home turf an impregnable fortress.  Of the twelve home matches, they lost a match, drew four and won all others. Though there were frailties in away matches, the team managed to rope in victories while traveling too. With winning the I-league title, AFC Champions League matches will be on cards for Bangalore.

Bengaluru FC has been a fresh whiff of air in the otherwise morose footballing scene in India. It is almost like after the team was formed they never put a foot wrong. Let us hope Bengaluru FC’s success is emulated by other I-league clubs by reinventing themselves.

Bengaluru FC’s Long road to I-league 2013-14 title

Bengaluru FC, Indianfootball, I-league, Football, Soccer, league, Bangalore, Matches, JSW, Jindal, Steel, Sunil Chhetri, Ashley Westwood, Pradhyum Reddy

Kerala based SEPT to unveil Professional Football Club on May 4th

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We had earlier reported that Kerala based Sports Education and Promotion Trust [SEPT] will be launching a professional football club. It is official that SEPT will be unveiling  their professional football club on May 4th in Kozhikode.

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Bengaluru FC are the I-League Champions

In an evenly contested match in Goa, Bengaluru FC outplayed Goan giants Dempo SC to become the champions of I-league. Considering this is the very first season for Bengaluru FC in I-league makes it even more special. I-League, since its inception in 2007 has never seen a champion other than Goan teams. Bengaluru FC has broken the monopoly of Goan teams in the league.

Many thanks to awesome matches and atmosphere at the Bangalore Football stadium. More over, hearty Congratulations to the crew at Bengaluru FC!

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Network 18’s All India Football Championship – LIFE

network 18, Football, Life, All India Football Championship, Abhishek Yadav, Venkatesh, India, Football, Soccer, indianFootballLeague India Football Experience (LIFE) is an initiative by Network 18 for college students. Here is a video which charts out the plans from Network 18.  It also includes snippets from former India Striker Abhishek Yadav and Former Indian Captain Shangmugham venkatesh.

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