Tag Archives: League

I-league 2017 – Fixtures and broadcast details

ileague, indianfootball, soccer, league, Aizawl FC, Bengaluru FC, Churchill Brothers, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Chennai City FC, Minerva Punjab FC, DSK Shivajians, Lajong FCI-league 2017 will kickoff on January 7. Here is the fixture list for the first nine rounds and the broadcast details. Ten teams from nine cities will participate in the league this season.

Match
No
Date Time Home   Away Round TV
1 7-Jan- 17 7.00 PM BFC LAJ 1 Ten 2
2 7-Jan-17 4.30 PM KEB AFC 1 Ten 2
3 8-Jan-17 MUM DSK 1
4 8-Jan-17 7.00 PM MB CB 1 Ten 2
5 8-Jan-17 4.30 PM CCFC MPFC 1 Ten 2
6 13-Jan- 17 1.30 PM AFC MPFC 2 Ten 2
7 13-Jan- 17 7.00 PM MB LAJ 2 Ten 2
8 14-Jan- 17 DSK KEB 2
9 14-Jan- 17 7.00 PM BFC CCFC 2 Ten 2
10 15-Jan- 17 4.30 PM CB MUM 2
11 17-Jan- 17 1.30 PM AFC LAJ 3 Ten 2
12 17-Jan- 17 4.30 PM MB MPFC 3 Ten 2
13 17-Jan- 17 7.00 PM DSK CCFC 3 Ten 2
14 18-Jan- 17 7.00 PM BFC MUM 3 Ten 2
15 18-Jan- 17 4.30 PM CB KEB 3 Ten 2
16 21-Jan- 17 LAJ MPFC 4
17 21-Jan- 17 7.00 PM CCFC MB 4 Ten 2
18 21-Jan- 17 4.30 PM DSK CB 4 Ten 2
19 22-Jan- 17 MUM AFC 4
20 22-Jan- 17 KEB BFC 4
21 24-Jan- 17 DSK MB 5
22 27-Jan- 17 CB BFC 5
23 28-Jan- 17 CCFC AFC 5
24 28-Jan- 17 LAJ MUM 5
25 29-Jan- 17 MPFC KEB 5
AFC CUP 31-Jan- 17 COL MB PS
ACL 31-Jan- 17 AL WEHDAT BFC PS
26 1-Feb-17 AFC DSK 6
27 31-Jan-17 LAJ CCFC 6
28 MB BFC 6
29 1-Feb-17 KEB MUM 6
30 1-Feb-17 MPFC CB 6
31 4-Feb-17 MB AFC 7
32 5-Feb-17 DSK BFC 7
33 5-Feb- 17 KEB CCFC 7
34 5-Feb- 17 LAJ CB 7
35 4-Feb- 17 MPFC MUM 7
AFC CUP 7-Feb- 17 MOHUN BAGAN COL
36 10-Feb- 17 AFC CB 8
37 11-Feb- 17 CCFC MUM 8
38 11-Feb- 17 LAJ DSK 8
39 11-Feb- 17 BFC MPFC 8
40 12-Feb- 17 KEB MB 8
41 14-Feb- 17 CCFC CB 9
42 15-Feb- 17 AFC BFC 9
43 15-Feb- 17 MUM MB 9
44 15-Feb- 17 KEB LAJ 9
45 15-Feb- 17 MPFC DSK 9

Legend : BFC : Bengaluru FC, MPFC : Minerva Punjab FC, DSK : DSK Shivajians, KEB : Kingfisher East Bengal, MUM : Mumbai FC, LAJ : Shillong Lajong, AFC : Aizawl FC, CCFC : Chennai City FC, CB : Churchill Brothers, MB : Mohun Bagan

The Merger Rant

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA, AFC

Who wouldn’t get frustrated and who wouldn’t want to rant about the mess that is Indian football. A visibly frustrated Nevin Thomas decided to have a go at it.  You can follow him on Twitter here.

The mess that is Indian football

‘A merged league is good for Indian football’, said a very important All India Football Federation official recently. The Indian football players echoed it (because it’s really not in our culture to voice concerns even if there were any). Foreign stars, with very little idea of how football works in India, were saying the same things too. After all, it was just common sense.

BECAUSE:

  1. Longer league means stability for players. They don’t have to keep jumping clubs every three months.
  2. Proper rest. They aren’t playing 3 games (2 of which went all the way to penalties) in 7 days.

READ: Steve Coppell’s take on ISL finals

  1. Going in sync with international leagues will allow smooth transfers of players (IN and OUT).
  2. We wouldn’t have to call it 2016-17 I-League when it’s actually held only in 2017 (OCD nightmares, you see).

The list, I’m sure, goes on and on. And as for the cons, I can’t think of anything apart from a few marquees (oldies) turning down ISL due to the longer duration of the league. Ok, so a few T-shirts won’t be sold. Who cares?

What is actually bewildering is how the AIFF has thought about all these ONLY after kick-starting a league. See, there was this football league, which in 2007 was rebranded as ‘I-League’, running in the country. Why didn’t AIFF try improving the league instead of starting a new one? Ok, it wasn’t doing so well, with teams pulling out faster than Sunil Chhetri could score goals. But, to be fair to them, they had valid reasons. How do you survive (financially) in a league that gets ZERO promotion? Blimey, I can’t for the life of me remember the last time when I saw ISL-like efforts being put in for what is still India’s gateway to the Asian club championships.

Which is why it was quite exciting (regardless of the ‘seize the means of production’ T-shirts I wear) to see money-minded IMG-Reliance (International Management Group-Reliance Industries Limited) buying out AIFF’s commercial rights in 2010.

But things didn’t exactly as some of us had hoped. The new-comer continued the trend of not giving a duck about I-League and then launched a completely different league — a shorter, IPL-style (thankfully, with no cheerleader nonsense) Indian Super League.

I know it has been three seasons now, but I am yet to figure out why there was a need to split Indian football into two, when there was already an existing league that complied to all the AFC rules.  If you had the money and the PR machinery to start a new league with a BANG, why wasn’t it utilised to boost the existing model?

So I decided to ask around through a poll on Twitter and here are some of the reasons I got:

1) Better packaging: A lot of people said the ISL made football in India way more ‘watchable’. In other words, it was better packaged for the Indian audience. 7 pm kick-off was ideal for office-goers as compared to the 4pm matches of I-League. Star Sports was doing a better job than Ten Sports in broadcast – better commentary, better camera angles, better pundits… basically better everything.

2) I-League’s failure: Years of lacklustre performances and mismanagement had given I-League such a bad name that it made more sense to start something fresh. If I was a sponsor, I would want to invest in something new (especially with the financial backing of IMG-Reliance) than a stale I-Leauge.

3) Moving away from family set-up: Indian football clubs have been traditionally run by wealthy families. With no self-sustaining mechanism in place for these clubs, AIFF thought it was better to encourage more corporate-sponsored teams. In short, ISL was an attempt to kill the likes of Salgaocar FC and encourage more Bengaluru FCs.

Barring point number two, all the other reasons I was told on my poll in Twitter, did not involve the need to start a new league though. Add eight new corporate sponsored (with solid financial backing) clubs to I-League and the pressure would have pushed family-run clubs to either pull out OR up their game, right? And, how difficult would it have been to have late kick-offs to make I-League more TV friendly?

We surely have enough stadiums.

READ Joy Battacharjya’s piece on stadium utilisation

And I’m sure TV guys would have been more than OK with broadcasting the game at 7 pm instead of 4 pm.

ESPN senior assistant editor Debayan Sen’s tweet sums the Indian football scenes the best up. IMG-Reliance wanted something completely in its control and AIFF happily gave a thumbs-up signal. Which would have been OK, had all stakeholders been consulted.  But were they?

 

Ever since the takeover, though, the agenda of AIFF seems to be somehow move away from the existing football big-guns. More corporate backed teams, less family-run clubs. The idea, as told to me by AIFF VP Subrata Dutta in an interview, is to ensure all clubs have a sustainable model for revenue generation. The baffling fact is how AIFF decided that family-run clubs cannot find a model but corporate-run teams can. Apart from BFC, no corporate-run club has scaled the zenith of Indian football. It is fair to say, ISL was a big nail in the coffin for all the I-League clubs which were already in scarcity of funds. The sponsors had something better to invest in and the likes of Royal Wahingdoh (exciting team from Shillong), and the Goan clubs, including Dempo SC (one of the most successful team in history of Indian football league), cut their ties with the I-League. Another theory is that a new league was always in the plans for IMG-R but Bengaluru FC’s phenomenal success caused the sudden plunge. BFC showed there is a clear way of succeeding in Indian football, a model other clubs soon tried to emulate, and the rising popularity of the I-League created concerns for the team at IMG-R plotting a new league.

Now, three seasons into the so-called football revolution, AIFF wants a League merger — for the better of football, it claims. But, like the idea of ISL, was this merger idea fast-forwarded due to BFC’s success in the Asian arena? It would look funny to the outside world that the league with the likes for Forlan and Malouda playing is not the one representing India in Asia. And I’m sure, BFC’s success has got the think-tanks at IMG-R and ISL teams licking their lips at the idea of more lucrative sponsorship deals.

But there are some problems with the merger plans. AIFF has agreed a deal with these ISL clubs that guarantees them no relegation for around eight seasons. So the top league, after the merger, will have teams playing without any relegation. The second tier league, which will be today’s I-League, what AFC recognises as India’s football league, will have no scope of promotion into the new top league, though, relegation still remains.

Basically, all the clubs who have traditionally existed, including big guns such as Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, now face the threat of not playing in the top league. While they can still compete in the second tier league, it remains highly unlikely that they will, considering the difficulty it will face in attracting potential sponsors with no titles to win or AFC competitions to take part.

Is it even fair to these teams who have done so much for Indian football? “We haven’t made any decision on which teams get to play top league and which don’t,” said an AIFF big shot when I asked.  “After Under-17 world cup, the new league will start,” said another AIFF biggie, recently in a press conference. So when will we ever get a confirmation on who will play where? Less than a year to go before the big shake-up and teams do not even know where they will be playing. So how can they sign a good quality player for a long term deal?

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA

The Goan clubs have already left due to the proposed new roadmap for Indian football. Last year the likes of Royal Wahindoh and Pune FC cited the very same reasons for their exit, though AIFF stuck to its stance that these clubs failed to reach the financial criteria required to play in the top division.

Yet, barring BFC, the corporates have struggled to make the cut too. If Bharat FC had done enough to fulfill the criteria, then why did they pull out after a brief period?

Story made short — IMG-R walked into Indian football and did whatever it wanted to.

Nobody knows how many teams from the I-League will make it to the top-division. Nobody knows what the criteria will be. Will Kolkata have Bagan, East Bengal and ATK when many states won’t even have one team?

There hasn’t been a shortage of excuses though. One phrase given by most AIFF officials in their twisted justification is — ‘many clubs don’t fulfill the AFC requirements’. Apparently many Indian clubs do not have (financially and infrastructure-wise, I assume) to have an AFC club license. So why were they given the rights in the first place? And are we to assume every club that started atleast in the I-League era will fulfill these criteria?

In a way, AIFF is suggesting that only clubs fulfilling the set of rules will have a chance of making it to the top league after the proposed merger.

So I downloaded the 70-page-long AFC club licensing criteria for 2016 and went through it to find out what these possible reasons could be (the OCD kicked in)

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA, AFCTo be honest, while the I-League clubs seem to be safe on the infrastructure demands, the financial part is slightly murky, with AFC wanting historic and future information. Clubs such has Salgaocar, which has relied on family wealth, might struggle to produce the required financial documents. Or so I think (I would love to be wrong).

Scroll reported that Salgaocar had failed to participate in the licensing process.

But one is to assume most clubs will be able to produce the required documents, considering how the likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan play in the AFC tournaments most seasons.

And mind you, while AIFF will not openly admit it, it’s the ISL clubs who will struggle a lot more to match the AFC criteria. For example the foreign player rule:

I-league, ISL, Indian Super League, HeroISL, Merger, One league, Goa, Clubs, Exit, Leave, League, FIFA, AFC

It doesnt mean the ISL clubs can’t take part. But they will have a lot of foreign players who won’t be allowed to play, which is an unnecessary burden on team wages. Will the foreign stars in the team be OK with missing out on Asia’s top league? Also, barring Goa, which other team has player with 3 foreign players or lesser, and succeeded in ISL?

The great Indian football league merger, at least according to me, should be delayed till ISL teams have more Indians playing. And once that is achieved, it can merge into I-League as one big, fat league (with around 16 teams) and we can thereafter replicate the 9-month league format that most countries have. Rather than rush to a merger, push ISL teams to  field more Indians, allow I-league to grow simultaneously, at least organically, if you do not want to promote it (AIFF has admitted that I-League TV viewership and stadium turn-out has increased every year), and in two years time, come up with a structure that benefits all stakeholders of Indian football. (Unified league in India likely after U-17 World Cup – Kushal Das)

But, my brain tells me AIFF and IMG-R won’t wait that long. Actually, AIFF Gen. Sec said it too.

If Oxford dictionary’s definition of ‘stockholm syndrome’ as “Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor” is something to go by, then it perfectly describes the relationship between AIFF and IMG-Reliance. The Indian football federation seems to have completely lost the plot, and now, in its bid to survive, has developed an unjustifiable affection for IMG-R.

One can only be an Andy Dufresne (that’s your cue to watch Shawshank Redemption if you haven’t yet) and HOPE the merger will not mark the end of a legacy in Indian football.

This blog post is just a rant and it has nothing to do with my employers. In fact, I have a feeling they won’t like me so much after this. But, blah! As usual, I’m likely to make mistakes. I urge you to correct me wherever you think I’ve gone wrong..

Downloads:

You can download the AFC club licensing criteria here (page 33 infrastructure, page 55 financial): http://www.the-afc.com/uploads/afc/files/AFC_CLR_Booklet_2016.pdf

AFC Champions League competition regulations: http://www.the-afc.com/uploads/afc/files/acl_2015_competition_regulations_final.pdf

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!

Ayeyawady’s Match-fixing Saga : The Breaking News that I Couldn’t Break!

Perks and dilemma of being an Indian football influencer.

Ayeyawady, Football, Myanmar, League, AFC Cup, Match Fixing, BettingThe latest news from Myanmar is that Ayeyawady United  is under the scanner from authorities over match fixing. A report that has appeared in Myanmar Times have revealed that a club official, along with some players fixed a few of their matches in Myanmar league, and also an AFC cup match. We are not yet sure of which AFC cup match of Ayeyawady was fixed, it will only be revealed after investigations are completed by the Myanmar league and the club itself. In AFC Cup, Ayeyawady was in a group comprising of Bengaluru FC, Johor from Malaysia and Lao Toyota FC from Laos.

It is being reported that an anonymous complaint has been filed with the Myanmar league authorities, involving officials and players of club. Ayeyawady had contrasting fortunes in the AFC Cup group stage as they got thorough drubbings at the hands of Johor (8-1) and Bengaluru FC (5-3) in their away matches. The home leg matches were also defeats, but the margin was less as they went down 0-1 to Bengaluru FC and 1-2 to Johor. They also managed two wins against the Laos side Lao Toyota FC.

On April 13th, when Bengaluru FC played Ayeyawady at home, and defeated them 5-3, I was quite elated. But suddenly, my sense of elation turned into a sense of concern, as an unknown twitter handle claimed that the match was probably fixed. It was a  commendable performance from BFC and all of a sudden when I got to hear this, it made me a bit upset. I started digging deeper to get more information on this.

Ayeyawady, Football, Myanmar, League, AFC Cup, Match Fixing, Betting

In no time, I followed the handle that broke this news and discussed why he thought that the match was fixed. This person, who introduced himself as a professional gambler from UK, explained why he thought the BFC vs Ayeyawady match was probably fixed and this is why he thought so.

Basically the odds in play were not moving naturally all game. Everything was almost over in the match and Bengaluru was getting hit constantly. Even with 2 minutes to go, the odds were so so short. The odds should be going the other way when the game is nearly over etc. Nearly every round of AFC cup games, a team will be fixing.

He went on to claim that it is pretty common for teams from Myanmar and Laos to indulge in match fixing.

Usually a Myanmar side or Laos side. Even happening in world cup qualifying games in Asia too. FIFA/AFC seem to take a blind eye towards it. I’m a professional gambler so it’s very easy for me to read the odds in Asian betting markets to see a game that looks dodgy.

…And was quick to point out that so far he has not seen an Indian team involving in fixing and gave a clean chit to our football.

For Bengaluru the prices were so much lower than what they should be. The defending for the goals back it up too. But yeah anyway the good news is that i’ve not seen an indian team fix this year so i’m pretty certain your football is clean.

We still don’t know if the match involving Bengaluru FC was fixed or not. But it was very surprising for me to see a report pop up this week – JDT’s AFC Cup opponent Ayeyawady face match-fixing investigation. Betting is not a silly issue, that I could go public without some credible evidence. So I kept it to myself, and later shared my concerns with some close friends who actively track Indian Football. They did not express any surprise either after hearing the news.

Betting is a dicey issue and it probably happens a lot in Asian football. Many reports claim that there are many betting cartels active in Asia. The recent inclusion of Justice Mudgal in FIFA’s governance committee is definitely a step by FIFA to utilize his expertise in understanding these networks that operate in Asia, especially South Asia. Justice Mudgal was appointed by the Indian Supreme Court as part of a three-member committee that led the inquiry in the IPL betting and spot fixing case.

Afterthought: There are no considerable rewards for running an Indian Football news Twitter handle, except having some followers among fans, players, officials and journalists, who are connected with and are passionate about the sport. But the real joy is when you get trinkets of information such as this alert on match fixing, which later gets substantiated. Call it a dilemma or a joy – these are definitely perks of being an Indian Football Influencer.

DSK Shivajians to play in I-league

DSK Shivajians, Football, Pune, Soccer, League, I-league, Top Tier

 

If reports are anything to go by, AIFF received a boost after Pune based team DSK Shivajians submitted their bid for playing in the top division of India, the I-league. With Bharat FC and Pune FC pulling out of the top flight, it was expected that I-league would be a nine team affair in the upcoming season.

DSK based in Pune, is running an academy in partnership Liverpool is easily expected to clear all the licensing criteria essential for I-league clubs to fulfill.

 

DSK submits bid, set to become I-League’s 10th club

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.

Tactial Preview of Mumbai City FC – ISL Season II

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India
 

Anelka’s inexperience as a manager would be Mumbai City FC’s biggest weakness this season says Maulik Mehta. Here is an excellent tactical preview of Mumbai City FC from him. Read on.

Mumbai City Football Club the team with a lot to prove this season!! Restricted by injuries to key players in the inaugural season their campaign didn’t had a happy ending.The club’s hopes were dashed last season as they finished second from the bottom of the table in the eight-team competition. However, having assembled a squad of powerful, attacking players for the second season, the club looks a rejuvenated side aiming to finish their unfinished business.

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, IndiaPersonally with the embarrassment of riches MCFC possess in attack they should employ a 4-1-3-2 formation or a 4-4-2 diamond primarily at home or against goal shy teams who come to sit back and defend. Norde & Moritz should cut inside allowing the fullbacks to net in crosses from wide and form a potent attacking threat. However, the presence of only one defensive midfielder in the form of Juan Aguilera will make them susceptible on the break. Also, non-tracking back by wingers could be an issue that could be looked upon by the opponents. Any alterations could include the involvement of L.Ralte on the wings or as an attacking midfielder that could allow Sunil Chhetri to form a terrifying partnership with the French superstar. Ashutosh Mehta & L.Mawia could be used in the right and left full back spots especially when the games come thick & fast. However any injury to Subrata Paul would disrupt their whole campaign since their backups Albino & Debjith are young & lack big match experience. It would be fascinating & interesting to see who replaces and how they cope when Subrata Paul isn’t around.

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

A more holistic approach could be used during away matches where you need to make sure you don’t concede early and keep the match tight and counter attack the rivals. They can use a 4-4-1-1 formation without the ball and a 4-2-3-1 formation during ball possession which could keep them compact as well as maintain stability during attack as well as in defense. They could use piqiounne & subhash singh mainly in the second half to hold the ball up and run at the defenses which could eventually lead them to a goal or two.Also Gabriel Fernandes mainly a right wing player known for its attacking prowess as well as tracking back could come on to preserve the goal lead.

Personally speaking I can’t see Mumbai city employing a back 3 with the lack of wing backs slots. The Indian pair of Gabriel & Rowilson along with much talented Brandon Fernandes could be used predominantly from the bench.

Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL, Indian Super league, Season, 2, II, Football, Soccer, League, India

Anelka and Piqiounne could be used in alternate matches however I don’t see both of them starting in a single match. Also, Subhash Singh with the wealth of stamina and pace could be used from the start, however I do question his ball holding skills. Honestly Subhash Singh could be destructive on the right flank or as a 2nd striker. The likes of Mortiz, Norde, Chettri & Cmovs would remain the players to watch out for MCFC this season.

This season MCFC may not be the favorites but they do have a great team lined up. However it remains to be seen how Nicolas Anelka manages and sets his team up. Most ISL Teams have Managers with wealth of experience & it remains to be seen how Anelka copes with the demanding nature of the league. This could turn out to be their biggest weaknesses. Also, they do have a tendency to concede 3goals though their requisite power packed midfield has the capability to score 4 and win it for the team.

Personally, I do think they will finish just outside the top 4 not because they don’t have a great side mainly because other sides are much stronger than MCFC.

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Punjab Super League commences on 12th September, 2015

Punjab Football Association has planned to commence 29th JCT Punjab Super League 2015 – 2016 from 12th September, 2015 and conclude on 28th October, 2015.  The following top ten teams from Punjab are taking part in this event:

  • Dalbir Football Academy, Patiala
  • Punjab Police Football Team, Jalandhar
  • Border Security Force (BSF) – Jalandhar,
  • United Punjab FC – Mahilpur(Hoshiarpur)
  • JCT Football Academy – Chohal (Hoshiarpur)
  • Rail Coach Factory Football Team, Kapurthala
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) – Jalandhar,
  • Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) – Hoshiarpur,
  • JCT Football Club, Chohal (Hoshiarpur)
  • Sporting Punjab Football Club, Rurka Kalan (Jalandhar)

Total nine rounds of five matches each have been arranged as this year Punjab Super Football League will be held on single leg league basis thereby each team having three home, three away and three neutral games.  Thus according to change in format and not to confine this league in only three four districts, this year too PFA has planned to hold League’s neutral matches in multi-cities of Punjab so as it may reach at rural level in entire state of Punjab, some areas where grassroots football projects are also going on, have been chosen to host super league matches for youth of Punjab.

 

The opening ceremony has been assigned to District Football Association, Sangrur which is to be held at Zakir Hussain Stadium, Malerkotla on 12th September, 2015 at 4.00 PM followed by opening match between JCT Football Club (re-launched Professional Club of North India) and Rail Coach Factory Football Team, where a set of three neutral matches have been planned.  Whereas, a set of four neutral matches followed by closing ceremony on 28th October, 2015 has been assigned to Doaba Sporting Club, Khera – Mahilpur (District Hoshiarpur).

 

Although, JCT is playing its pivotal role in supporting PFA development activities, however, Legend International (INDPRO SPORTS) has also joined hand with Punjab Football Association and JCT to boost up football development in Punjab State.  PFA approves ‘ULTRA’ as official ball for playing Super League Games.  The kick off time for all matches is fixed as 4.00 PM.

Fixtures :

Punjab, Football, State, Super, League, Soccer, JCT, Mahilpur Fixture Round IV - VI Punjab, Football, State, Super, League, Soccer, JCT, Mahilpur

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