Tag Archives: Sunil Chhetri

AFC Cup 2016 Final – Know thy opponent : Through the words of an Iraqi Football expert

Air Force Club, JSW, Bengaluru FC, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, AFC Cup, 2016, Doha, Qatar, Sunil Chhetri, Hammadi, Star Sports, Football, Indian Football, Soccer, IraqThe big day is here. It is a momentous occasion for Indian Football as Bengaluru FC takes on Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya or the Air Force Club of Iraq as they are known in the AFC Cup 2016 final. Since there was a dearth of information on today’s opponent, I decided to get in touch with an Iraqi football expert to know more about Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. I asked a few questions to football writer Hassanin Mubarak and here are his replies. Read on!

What’s is Air Force Club’s style of play?

Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya are an attacking side playing two forward up-front, with Hamadi Ahmed and the returning Amjad Radhi, one of the most prolific strikers in the Iraqi league in current times who is attempting to regain his old form. The little and large combination of Hamadi and Amjad were once the best two front-pairing in Iraq until Amjad left for Arbil in 2010. The striker wearing the No.40 for Al-Jawiya was top scorer in this tournament in 2012 with 9 goals. Amjad has spent the last couple of seasons in Saudi Arabia and Egypt without much success and while he was Al-Jawiya’s main forward during his last spell at the club, Hamadi has now taken on that mantle with Amjad being the second striker. Basim Qasim also has Emad Muhsin if needed. Al-Jawiya’s goals will depend a lot on the ability of the wide-men to create in the final third, the hopes of victory will rest heavily on the shoulders of Humam Tariq and 15-goal hit man Hamadi Ahmed.

Their Strong points and weakness according to you?

Al-Jawiya relies a great deal on the presence of Hamadi Ahmed, their main goalscorer and attacking threat. The new coach Basim Qasim appointed in the summer has not changed either the style or team formation since taking charge, however, they have proved to be resilient under the former Police Lieutenant and are unbeaten in the first six games under him. Basim Qasim will, however, have to reshuffle the ranks with the absence of center back Samal Saeed and winger Bashar Resan, two key players who will be suspended for the final. Bashar will be a significant loss, with the team balance on the wings with Humam Tariq on the opposite flank interrupted, with both players having the talent to switch flanks throughout matches. While Basim Qasim has a ready-made replacement for Samal Saeed, in Saad Natiq, however the coach does not have that luxury with a replacement for Bashar. One solution would be to start Hulgard Mulla Mohammed, the brother of the retired wing wizard Hawar. He is a different proposition for defenders compared to the pacy and tricky Bashar Resan. Hulgard does not possess the speed he once had but the versatile two-footed attacking midfielder can play on the wings or in central midfield. But the absence of Bashar will be a substantial miss for Al-Jawiya.

Are they going to play the same way in the final or are you expecting a cagey game from them? Who are all the players to watch out?

I expect Al-Jawiya will play their usual game in Doha and go out and score goals. It could be a cagey and cautious final if the game remains goalless. The key players will be Humam Tariq out on the wings and Hamadi Ahmed, they could be the winning formula for Al-Jawiya.

Are you expecting to see a lot of fans in Doha supporting the Air Force club?

There won’t be many Iraqi fans traveling and a majority of the supporting contingent will be expatriates living in the tiny Gulf state.

What’s the talk among the Iraqi football fans about Bengaluru FC?

Little is known about Bengaluru FC among both the Iraqi fans and the Al-Jawiya players but with both teams in a final, the opposition will be respected. 23 years ago Al-Zawraa, one of the most successful clubs in Iraqi football history were humiliated 6-2 by the East Bengal Club so Iraqis will be wary of this very fact.

Follow Hassanin Mubarak on Twitter here.

You can read his extensive preview of Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya here.

#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/

 

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

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.

When stars arrive, they leave a trail…

As we went down the green winding paths of a small village in Kannur, little boys in brown shorts clutched their toys and stared at us. For them, a sudden furor in their otherwise quiet neighborhood was a surprise. For us, it was an even bigger surprise, knowing the roots of one of Indian football’s best attacking wingers.

Vineeth CK, Sunil Chhetri, Wedding, Kerala, Kannur, Star, Indian Football, Captain, Soccer, Kerala, North Kerala, Biriyani, Thalassery, Having been brought up in a normal middle class family, Vineeth C K’s father was a school teacher and his mother, a housewife. He went to a boarding school, and would write back longingly for peanut bars and biscuits, ending his weekly correspondence with a big signoff of kisses. His mother fondly remembered the letters, and spoke of his tantrums as a child. Nothing has changed – Vineeth’s popularity in Kannur is nothing less than that of a movie star. He knows it well, but addresses warmly, scolding them at times, and being the child they all knew him as. This is the love we saw, showered during his wedding to his college sweetheart, last month. People swarmed the house, had funny flex banners put up, and Vineeth walked through all this nonchalantly, like he expected nothing less. For all these people, he was “muth” (Malayalam for ‘pearl’), the true son of the soil, who made it big from his humble roots, from the green patches of their land to a world of Indian football.

 

The Facebook profile pictures of many in Kannur, for a long time to come, would be Vineeth CK, Sunil Chhetri, Wedding, Kerala, Kannur, Star, Indian Football, Captain, Soccer, Kerala, North Kerala, Biriyani, Thalassery, selfie with the captain of the India Football Team – Sunil Chhetri, who attended the wedding of his teammate. While the star player of Indian football attended the two day long celebrations in Kannur, news of his arrival flashed across the village, and into the city. Vineeth had indeed made them proud – here was the finest Indian football player posing for photographs, eating Thalassery Biriyani, and interacting with them like one amongst them. Chhetri patiently posed for every photo, shook every hand that got stretched, said “Nice to meet you” to every single smile that came his way, hugged and kissed little starry eyed children, and stayed grounded through it all. Chhetri’s presence made people believe that the game they loved and worshipped was rooted strongly with players who knew not just their game, but also never forgot their journey of hard work and dedication.

 

Vineeth’s journey to the Indian Football team is one of hard work, patience and dedication, and so is the story of every player who plays the game of football in India today. With authorities turning a near blind eye to the game and its growth, the stories of such successes is what makes it worth to believe in the magic of a beautiful game called football.

Sreedhanya decided to pen this light note after attending Vineeth CK’s wedding in Kerala.

WC Qualifiers 2018- India Vs Oman: Why the tie promises to be a humdinger!

India, Oman, World Cup, Qualifier, 2018, Russia, Football, Soccer, Asia, AFC, bangalore, Kyazzonga, Sunil Chhetri, Subrata Pal, Al HabsiHere is a preview by Sumit Bhattacharya

The countdown has begun.

11th of June 2015. 19:00Hrs.Bengaluru.India Vs Oman. First match in the second round of WC 2018 Qualifiers for India. It is going to be a crunch tie for India from many angles. The big question is, can India defeat Oman or at least snatch a point?!Let us examine.

 

History:

 

From a nondescript history, Oman rocket-blasted into the Asian football horizon only in the 1990s. Indian football on the other hand plummeted into the bottom of its history roughly during the same period.

The current FIFA ranking of Oman and India are 101 and 141 respectively. India faced the Red warriors twice in WC qualifiers in 2004.Oman won the away match 5-1 but India managed to pull off a draw in the away match 0-0.The most recent encounter was in 2012 when India was again thrashed 5-1.

However for the past few months, Oman is not in its best of forms. It was battered in the Asian cup 2015 in January by Asian power houses. In preparatory friendlies, Oman was held to a goalless draw by a lower ranked Bahrain on 3th May  and on 5th June, another lower ranked Syria beat Oman 2-1. What it signifies that Oman has still some distance to go to be the best even in Asia. A glance at the social networking sites of Omani football will reveal widespread resentment against the French coach. Some fans even predicted a win for India. (https://www.facebook.com/OmanNationalFootballTeam/timeline)

Meanwhile team India is on an upswing and has improved a lot since they last played Oman. Most of the sloths and technically amateurish players, blessed by the previous coach have been replaced by a far fitter and faster lot of hungry youngsters who are hardly afraid of anyone on ground.

So the match is likely to be played without the baggage of history  and would definitely be a test of character for the boys in Blue.

 

Indian football reloaded:

 

Till date, National team fixtures normally meant no live telecast, sparse crowd consisting mostly of media and security personnel with a few hundred diehard fans. However this time it is a different story altogether. The amount of excitement and enthusiasm that is being witnessed about this match at Bengaluru is unprecedented. The minuscule number of fans who believed that India could make it big in football is growing exponentially each passing day. After the glitzy inaugural edition of the hugely popular Indian Super League and a far improved I-league 2015, expectation is running high. Thousands of guys are hoping against hope for a miracle win by the blue tigers. Sony Six has started airing promos for the match. Various online forums are abuzz with the selection of team and team composition Tickets sales have started online and one is expected to have a full house at Sree Kanteerava stadium. If so, then it will indicate how popular the game of football has really become in cricket crazy India.

 

Home advantage:

 

Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Oman has a capacity of around 34k.All the other stadiums have capacities of less than 15k to below 10k.So it is pretty safe to assume that most of Oman’s players are not used to playing in front of huge crowds. Thus a vociferous, hostile crowd of over 20 thousand might prove to be a factor in a crunch game like this. High humidity of Bengaluru is also going to be a crucial factor. Playing surface of Sree Kateerava is an area of concern for Oman too. Team manager Mohammed Al Alawi had visited the Stadium recently and found the surface “uneven and bumpy”. However all the Indian players are well versed with pitch which will be an added advantage for India.

So it remains to be seen how far India can exploit the home conditions.

Team Oman vis-à-vis team India:

Physicality:

Traditionally West Asian teams are physically stronger than their Indian counter parts. However Oman is an exception. A closer look will reveal that this Indian team has players equally well built if not stronger.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu -1.97 m, Arnab Mandal- 1.79m,  Sandesh Jhingan  1.88m, Dhanachandra Singh- 1.80m, Rino Anto- 1.74m, Dhanpal Ganesh- 1.85m,Robin Singh-1.85m, Lalchhuan Mawia- 1.82, Gurwinder Singh-1.83m , Saityasen Singh -1.78m,Augustin Fernandes- 1.79m,Holicharan Narzary -1.79m are all tall enough to match most of their opponents. Here is a view of Oman player’s heights:

GK-Ali Al Habsi(1.84m),Al Busaidi(1.73m) – Al Musalami (1.75m)–Sallam Amur – Ali Salim(1.65m), Eid Mohammed(1.83m) – Ahmed Kano(1.79m), Raed Ibrahim(1.78m) – Al Hosni(1.81m) – Qasim Said(1.78m), Al Muqbali(1.81m)

 

Department of Fitness:

Fitness of Indian players has always been an area of concern. However with the improvement of training facilities and introduction of professional trainers, team India has made remarkable progress. As evident from the matches against Nepal or the recently held AFC cup matches. Indian players appeared far fitter than their predecessors. They ran full throttle till the very end. Jackichand Singh, Saityasen Singh, Eugensen Lyngdoh,Sandesh Jhingan or Sehnaj Singh can be as fast as anybody. So this time Oman just might find it tough to run past the Indians unlike previous matches.

Game plan:

Anyone watching I-league 2015 or The ISL season#1 will vouch for the improvements of Indian players as far as the passing or ball possession is concerned. The Omanis are known to play short passes too. It will be really interesting to see how the battle of midfield goes. Expect an all out battle as India is expected to go for pressing football to break up the rhythm of Omanis. Oman, if put under pressure is prone to leaving a lot of open spaces for the opponents. It remains to be seen how Mr. Constantine and his boys take advantage of these loopholes.

Former France international Paul Le Guen, in charge of team Oman, has come under fierce criticism off late for Oman’s recent performances. He has made quite a few changes from the squad which took part in Asian Cup in Januray 2015. Regulars like Jaber Al Owaisi(DF), Al Shatri(DMF),Hassan Mudhafar(LB), Yaqoob Abdul Karim(FW) and Said Al Ruzaiqi(FW) have been axed.

Anyway India needs to watch out for the striker Abdul Aziz Al Muqbali, the set piece master Ahmed ‘Kano’ Mubarak, nippy young wingers, Raed Ibrahim and Qasim Said. Experienced customer  Ahmed ‘Kano’ Mubarak is another threat who gets dangerous during his attacking forays.

Meanwhile India would be relying on Mr. Ever Dependable Sunil Chhetri and the brute strength of the mercurial Robin Singh with Saityasen and Jackichand Singh providing ample support. Defence looks solid but availability of the emerging star Sandesh Jhingan might be a dampener as he is carrying a shoulder injury. However the sturdy Dhanachandra Singh’s role will be most crucial along with that of the big kid, Dhanpal Ganesh for quick overlaps and breaking of Oman’s flow. The extremely talented Eugeneson Lyngdoh will have to carry the mantel of midfield.

 

Parting notes:

Oman is obviously the favorite to win the tie. However rest assured that India will come hard at them. It is   going to be a test for Mr. Constantine’s acumen as his team selection, leaving out Romeo or Brandon Fernandes and benching Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, has come under a lot of criticism from the fans. If Oman fumbles a bit and India puts up an above par show then an upset win is not all that impossible for India though even a draw is being considered by many to be a respectable result. If so then this surely will be a watershed moment for Indian football.

Sunil Chhetri and Eric Benny launch 4v4 League in Bangalore!

Sunil Chhetri, Eric Benny, Football, Academy, Grassroots, Soccer, FC Metz, France, India, Ligue 1, Delhi, Kushal Das, Sports Management, Bangalore, Decathlon, 4v4 LeagueToday, Eric Benny Sports Management took yet another step to launch a new initiative and their first chapter out of Delhi and Gurgaon. Sunil Chhetri along with Eric Benny introduced the unique 4v4 Leagues here in Bangalore that are to start in November this year.

Eric Benny introduced the gathering with a short glimpse of his journey with Indian football through various initiatives that his sports management company has launched across the northern part of India. He also focused on his unique relationship with the French Embassy here in India as well as the management’s partnership with FC Metz; a club known for producing top talent such as Robert Pires, Emmanuel Adebayor, Franck Ribery and many more.

This is a time-tested association of 3.5 years when it all began in Delhi-NCR with Eric Benny envisaging a career for young Indian interested and talented in football. The mission of this roadshow travelling from state to state within a country of over 1.2 billion population to identify at the grass root level talent and thereafter what needs to be done in terms of grooming, training, ranking, selecting the top talented children, before placing them in a world-class football academy like FC Metz in France.

Sunil Chhetri, Brand ambassador for Eric Benny Sports Management, Captain of the Indian National Team and Bengaluru Football Club, underlined that there is no lack of hard work in Indian players but “unless the teacher is good to teach the right way at the right age, and players learn to simultaneously work smart and work hard, only then can there be improvement, else a fiasco.”

After having successfully sent 9 Indian children to F C Metz, EBSM is launching on 9th November across Decathlon sites in Bangalore, 8 weeks of 4V4 football league – inviting children who are passionate about football to try and get selected for a second round of all-Indian elite pool of young footballers before attempting for the top rank in order to avail the opportunity to live their dreams of a career-breaking opportunity at F C Metz. The leagues start pretty soon and Sahil Srivastava who would be managing the Bangalore chapter of these leagues can be reached on 9986556058.

Mr. Eric Lavertu, Consul General of France, termed this as an innovative cooperation with immense potential given the young population of India. It will lead India to the best international level in the future.

Sunil Chhetri Signs Up as the Brand Ambassador of Eric Benny Sports Management

Sunil Chhetri, Eric Benny, Football, Academy, Grassroots, Soccer, FC Metz, France, India, Ligue 1, Delhi,  Kushal Das, Sports ManagementKeeping youth football as the primary focus, Sunil Chhetri today announced that he would be representing Eric Benny Sports Management and all Eric Benny’s initiatives across the country.

In a press conference held at the Football House, the AIFF witnessed Sunil Chhetri and Eric Benny making their collaboration public, a partnership that will help Indianfootball at the grass-roots level reach the next stage. Sunil Chhetri, Captain of the National Football Team, shared his thoughts and feelings on why the development of youth football in India is important, and how Eric Benny is one of the few people in this country who shares a similar focus with him. Chhetri discussed that although he has seen and heard of a lot of academies and collaborations, he was really impressed by FC Metz, a French Ligue 1 club with whom Eric has partnered to help improve the quality of football, with education a priority. Chhetri said, “Everyone wants to do well, but no one knows how. This collaboration with Eric Benny Sports Management is a small step towards a greater cause.” He then emphasised on providing education, the right values and discipline to the players, as he believes that only then will a player go on and become a better human being. “Over the years I have seen many players vanishing because they did not have the discipline and the right values.”

Mr Kushal Das, General Secretary of the AIFF, was also a part of the panel, andhe acknowledged and appreciated the work and effort put in by Eric Benny. “More people like Eric is what India needs and I’m glad that there are people such as Chhetri and Eric who are doing such great things.” Mr Das also mentioned that the next big focus for the AIFF is investing in football at the grass-roots level.

Eric Benny, Chief Executive – Eric Benny Sports Management, spoke about his time spent in Europe to search for the right club to partner with, a club that looks at a collaboration beyond money and profit, and actually wants to invest time in India. He said, “It took me a while to find the club, but I did it, and FC Metz was on the same wavelength as me. They do not differentiate between French and Indian players and that is extremely important, as is keeping education as a priority.”
Eric also took time to announce Metrifit as an official partner. He said, “It is important to link technology and sport, and Metrifit will help us to achieve our goals in terms of preventing injuries, looking after lifestyle, and other aspects important to a player.”

Rudoph Monnet, Counsellor of Sports and General Affairs – French Embassy in India, was a part of the panel, and he assured the support of the French Embassy in all ventures in the future. “We at the Embassy believe in Eric’s work and have also seen why his work makes him stand out. This Indo-French relationship in the field of sports will not only enable to leverage more youth in the right direction but also educate and nurture, as we and Eric believe.”

I-league to start in December, Fedration Cup not axed!

AIFF, All India Football Federation, Soccer, New Delhi

AIFF Executive Committee met at the All India Football Federation Headquarters, Football House in the Capital on May 14, 2014 (Wednesday). Here is all you need to know about the decisions that were arrived upon in the meeting!

  • Mr. Praful Patel in his visit to Zurich has expressed interest to the FIFA Boss Sep Blatter about hosting the FIFA World Club Cup in 2017 and also in 2018. The outcome of these bids will be known in December 2014.
  • Indian Super League, the new franchise league will kick off in September 2014.
  • A special committee to advice the technical structure of 2017 U-17 FIFA World cup to be constituted. Baichung Bhutia, National Captain Sunil Chhetri and the Current coach of Salogaocar club Derrick Periera to be part of the panel.
  • The  Coca-Cola Cup (National Sub-Junior Tournament) will be the main scouting platform for players for the 2017 U-17 World Cup. Boys born on or after January 1, 2000 will be eligible for the Championship.
  • An U-15 league which involves teams from clubs, AIFF regional academies and others was also proposed!
  • 3 crore budget allotted for the preparations for U-23 team for Incheon Asian Games.
  • Unlike earlier speculation in the media, Federation Cup to be hosted in Jammu and Kashmir in May 2015.
  • Appointed an integrity officer to deal with corruption and match-fixing by June 2104 as stipulated by AFC and FIFA.
  • Centralized registration of players to kick-in by July 31, 2014. Further to this, all inter-State transfers to take place through this online system.

On I-league :Airtel I-league, TenAction

  • I-league to kick off in the first week of December.
  • Coaches / Technical Director of I-league teams should be an AFC A-License holder. Even entry to the dressing rooms of a team is barred if you don’t hold AFC A-License!
  • All clubs to sign a marquee player among their foreign recruits. If failed to do so, the entire foreign contingent of players will not be allowed to play.  AIFF’s definition of marquee player to be intimated to the clubs very soon.
  • The I-league licensing committee to meet on May 21 and decide on the future of clubs on the licensing criteria front.

The Ultimate Gif : Sunil Chhetri’s Goal against Mohammedan Sporting

Here is an ultra cool gif of a Sunil Chhetri goal. This goal against Mohammedan Sporting has to be one of the best goals scored in this I-league Season.

Captain Fantastic!

Sunil

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