Corporate Social Negligence!

India wins Nehru Cup for the first time!! Arsenal Move in to the

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on August 30, 2007

Indian football team divided 40,000 US dollars among themselves after an emphatic win over Syria in the 2007 Nehru Cup. This tourney which has been brought back from shelves after 10 years was redesigned according to the selfish needs of AIFF. If it was a decade back this ploy would have backfired; but with a perseverant coach, some kind of order and support from the crowd, the rewards are in the coffer. The authorities could have attracted some quality teams for the tournament but they took the safe path as getting up the FIFA ranking (as this will hold a print in bold fonts in every news paper, but no in-depth reports about what is ailing the game rarely find a place) is one of the most important factor that could change the mass psyche which holds an aversion towards the game crippled with so many problems. With Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Syria,Cambodia and India in the fray this tourney was not going to offer a footballing spectacle. But it offered an immense chance for the resurgent Indian team to up their rankings and they comfortably did so with a win in the finals against Syria. Along the path they went on to defeat Cambodia 6-0, Bangladesh 1-0, Kyrgyzstan 3-0 and a hard fought defeat (2-3) against Syria. This helped the team to move up 10 positions in the overall FIFA rankings. The mood was upbeat and credit goes to the Delhi crowd who packed the stadium to full capacity and cheered the Indian team all the way to glory. This win might not take away the problems of Indian football; but a win was very important as it might draw the crowd back to stadiums again for football matches, which never was the case with football in India for decades. India with an undefeated preparatory tour to Portugal was in good shape for the tourney and they showed flashes of brilliance through out this campaign.

India started the final with a positive note and matched Syrians in most of the aspects of the game. Though towards the end, the hectic schedule was taking a toll on players, but this was easily evaded off with timely substitutions by the coach Bob Houghton. Clifford Miranda and Abhishek Yadav were brought in and their fresh pace was enough to cling on to the lead that we had taken in the 44th minute through N.P. Pradeep. After a flurry of attacks on both ends, the match was equally balanced, when a long ball in to the box was headed down by Sunil Chetri to Baichung, who miscued the kick. This ball was picked up by Pradeep, the Mahindra midfielder who slotted in with a low drive with his left foot. The frustrated Syrians resorted to some rough tactics towards the end of the first half and earned a well deserved red card which reduced them to 10 men for the rest of the match. Attempts by the Syrian forwards were bravely defended by Mahesh Gawli and his men, who were omnipresent in the defensive area. Added to this steele was a stunning display by the young Indian keeper Subrato Paul. He had a terrific game and is my choice for the Man of the Match award. Ajayan’s presence on the left definitely did add some attacking flavour to the team so was the presence of Steven Dias who was clattered by the Syrian defense time and again. Syria cued their attacks mostly through the right flank, definitely a ploy to unsettle the Surukumar Singh and they succeeded many a times in doing this. Surukumar was erratic through out the game but definitely has scope for improvement. The Karnataka Boy, N.S. Manju on the left had a decent game; but did lack concentration at times and was tired by the end of the match. Bob can really put in some more effort in increasing the stamina and the physical condition of the team; this might earn this team leverage against teams like Syria.

Syria preferred to keep the ball on the ground where as Indians were resorting to the high ball tactic. As this ploy earned us a valuable goal and a trophy, I cannot out rightly refute this tactic, but I would love to see India playing more of ground balls, as I think, this might earn us a tactical advantage against teams which have more physical presence on the ground. Bob is hesitated in doing this because of the lack of technical ability and sheer shrewdness the present Indian team posses. Except some players like Baichung, Chetri, Pradeep, Dias, and Gawli, this Indian team lacks a bit of footballing sense. They don’t run in to key areas to collect the ball and get stuck after passing the ball to a fellow player, they hardly run to a space to collect that ball which they passed to the other player. Steven Dias, Baichuing, Chetri occasionally showed brilliance by moving on to crucial areas of the pitch and collecting ball. This footballing sense will not be alien to this team, if they stick on together and train under Bob. Bob who has 27 players at his disposal have enough players to try out different formations which might click.
If this trophy is to be viewed as a new start, football enthusiasts like me won’t mind doing so; but AIFF should carry on the work (I will refrain from adding any adjective before this word as of now.),should promote football and evenly spread its tentacles to spot talents across the country and nurture them for future. This has rarely happened in reality but has definitely happened on paper. That is not what Indian football really needs now. With a good coach , a tourney win and a surprisingly whole hearted acceptance by the crowd, Indian football can really make a stride ahead, if the association wakes up from the slumber.

I was on a high yesterday, India won Nehru Cup for the first time. I failed to remember that there was an Arsenal match yesterday. But, there were no surprises today morning as I opened Google reader. Arsenal have won 3-0 in Emirates and qualified for the group stages of Champions League. Rosicky, Fabergas and Eduardo scored goals for us. Eduardo’s goal was that “predatory goal” which almost all Arsenal fans were waiting for, I am damn impressed, and he provided the assist for the second goal scored by Fabergas. This means, he is getting in to the thick of action, which is really great news. It would be unfair if I don’t mention Theo Walcott after the yesterday’s game. He had a good game and boss praised him, I am hoping to see more of him – I hope he proves his worth, I feel he is a bit light for premiership but he has got the technical ability to overcome this shortcoming. I am hoping to see more of good and graceful football from Arsenal in the future.


Antonio Puerta; the young talented Sevilla Player is no more with us. It is very unfortunate that he suffered a heart attack during his side’s victory over Getafe on Saturday night. The footballing fraternity has joined hands and has poured condolences but this is a precarious situation; which questions the effort of the clubs and countries in assessing the physical fitness of their players.

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