Corporate Social Negligence!

I-League 2011

Posted in Football, India, Indian Football, sports by clash on October 26, 2011

The new edition of I-league is here. Ten Action is broadcasting the league.

I watched around 40 mins of  Salgaocar playing Dempo and around 60 odd mins of the East Bengal  playing Churchill Bros.   While  Salgaocar – Dempo was a tame affair, the EB – CB played in Salt Lake, Kolkota was a nice treat.

Nothing noteworthy happened in the Salgaocar –  Dempo match. Dempo looked sharper physically and battled it out with Salgaocar.

It is so obvious what a good pitch can do to a football match. The EB- CB match was a en evidence to this.  The synthetic pitch in Salt Lake provided a good platform for a good match in Kolkota. Trevor Morgan’s EB looked sizzling with all passes and nice tricks but they simply couldnt find the net.  Where as CB had a consistent match in terms of defending. They were opportunistic enough to slot a single goal which won the match.

Finally a few words about the telecast. While i really liked the quality of broadcast with slow motion replays from different angles and a decent commentator to accompany it, the most i enjoyed is the talk show hosted by Joe Morrison, in which Carlton Palmer and John Burridge dishes out wisdom and tactical analysis of the matches.  They are simply kick a**.  I have always enjoyed their comedy during the UEFA Champions league matches!

The Prodigy Concert – Bengaluru

Posted in India, Music by clash on January 21, 2011

It is turning out to be quite a task to get something written here.  The last action worthy of mentioning here is the Prodigy concert I attended.  I am not much of a Prodigy man, but there is an interesting story about how I got to know prodigy for the first time.

One of my best pals now and I got introduced the first time in college, when he asked me if knew the band prodigy, while scanning the college notice board and looking at the Production Engineering department’s tech fest – Prodigy’s notice put up there.  Back then my whole exposure to English or western music were some Backstreet Boys, Boy zone, Boyz2men and some, who was that, ah yes, George Michael and that’s it.

Anyways, in due course of time, I did listen to some of their interesting and usual tracks like the fire starter, smack my bitch up and so on. Getting back to the concert, it was fairly a decent one. I have not attended so many international acts here in Bengaluru other than Iron Maiden. Some how, I did not quite enjoy Maiden and I felt it was not loud enough.

The Prodigy concert was a well organized one, with some decently prized booze and good food selling at the adjacent stalls. Some friends from office and I entered only after Prodigy took stage. So I missed out all those Indian electronica acts that preceded prodigy. I am not too familiar with so many of them but I would have loved to hear few of them.

Prodigy started with a bang, the stage was very nicely set up with a lot of lights which definitely added an extra punch to the whole show. They are an awesome act on the stage – lots of energy and lot of persuasion to get the audience involved. They played some usual numbers like Smack my bitch up, Firestarter and also some tracks from their new album Invaders must die.

My relative ignorance about their other tracks means, I just enjoyed the music without knowing what they were playing but it looks like I quite enjoyed it. They really managed to get some legs shaking even though I felt the crowd was pretty sedate and far too less for a famous electronica act like prodigy. May be there are not so many takers for that genre here.

They played around an hour or a little more than that. Catching up with a fella at the concert in the gym, he told me they played around 17 tracks, which I seriously doubt. Anyways, it was a nice and good concert after a long time. The last time I had been to something like this was for the local act – Avial at the St.Johns hospital. Needless to say, it was pathetic.

There is no definitive conclusion about the concert as I am not much of a prodigy listener but it was an enjoyable outing with some friends.  I have some videos which managed to shoot, will try uploading them.

Indian Football – Where do we go now?

Posted in Football, India, Indian Football, soccer, sports by clash on November 22, 2010

Suddenly, it looks like everyone is throwing their toys out of the pram. The media, supporters and former footballers alike are having a go at the Indian football team now. Our English coach, Bob Houghton found this coming and has tried to side step by making his plans obvious – quit after the Asian Cup.

AIFF in fact did literally set up circus tent, when they planned to pull out 30 established players to prepare for the upcoming Asian cup in Qatar. Little did they know their one and half year dedicated program is  not going to earn results. Now, it should be quite clear to them after the thorough drubbing from some premier Asian teams.

Before jumping on to the criticizers’ band wagon, there are some facts that need to pondered upon. First of all, the plan of leasing out established players from clubs to prepare for Asian Cup was not essentially a wonderful idea. There are nations that have implemented such programs, but that involves thorough planning and dedication. As things go, we know how our football federation works.

Selecting 30 players have literally shut out options for other upcoming and better performing players being selected in to this esteemed coterie. This means, some old, experienced and injured players went for conditioning camp in Portugal, and now they are back playing some international friendlies, needless to say losing some of the matches in huge margins.

Talking about friendlies, how many of them have we played now? From the month of October onwards we have played nations like Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Yemen and recently Iraq, UAE and Kuwait. There should not be much of surprise that the team is loosing on bigger margins now. They are definitely tired and that is no surprise with a not so fit a team and some aging legs in the group.

While the idea to group 30 odd players for Asia Cup would have been Houghton’s brain child but the execution part of it has been totally screwed up the federation. Otherwise they would not have arranged so many friendlies, especially with premier teams within such a time frame. It also points out that one and a half year is hardly enough to prepare for a competition of this sort.

So where do we go now? Actually, these results don’t come as a surprise. Other than the odd Nehru Cup win and the AFC challenge Cup, this team hardly has any international experience. All of a sudden they are thrust in to a tizzy world of friendlies and the team is definitely finding it difficult to live up to these situations.

What they now need is a breather. They have to pick themselves up from the drubbings they got from the teams like Kuwait and UAE. The AIFF on the other hand is expecting better performances from the team in the Asian Cup. An official said that the team is going to learn from these defeats and as a part of the continuous improvement they are expecting better results. Mind you, we are grouped with the likes of Bahrain and Australia. Expecting anything better might put day dreaming to shame. So let us not.

If there is something that we can learn from this, it is that one and half year is not enough to build a winning football team. It involves dedication and thorough grooming over a larger period of time.

Criticizing the manager and players, I feel is not the right way to go. You could have differences with Bob and his style. Personally, I am not a big fan of the style of play he espouses. I thoroughly feel disinterested when I see our players pining long balls in to opposition half, where we hardly win a header or win possession.

I also don’t buy in to coaches like Nayeemuddin and his bleating about how a foreign coach gets all that he wants in terms of foreign tours, friendlies and sorts. Bob simply has the authority or knack to work his way through a not so friendly federation who are strapped for cash. If  Nayeem could not earn all the facilities and tours he wanted, it was simply because he could not convince them or could not make his way forward with the Association. There is no point in bleating away now.

We should not be expecting miracles in the upcoming Asian Cup, instead if we can focus on the further growth even after the tournament by adding some fresh players to the select 30 and continue, we might earn results in the coming years. We should not be expecting that to happen, after all this was project Asia Cup. In our parlance, that strictly will only be for Asia Cup and nothing more than that. Wait and watch for how many more years will we have to wait for another friendly after our Asia Cup appearance.

India 0-2 Iraq

Posted in Football, India, Indian Football, Iraq, soccer, sports by clash on November 12, 2010

Indian team is in Dubai preparing for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011. There recent loss against Iraq in a friendly is a welcome change than it being another sad note in our football. Iraq, after all is the reigning Asian Champions. Losing 2-0 to Iraq is no way bad.

Gone are the days or folklore performances of drubbing other Asian nations. Today we simply fail to match to any kind of  teams in Asia. There are some good analysis and afterthoughts appearing on the internet. I really liked this one here. The player analysis over there is quite interesting as it toes along my disjointed perspective about Indian football players. I dont get to watch as much of Indian football, so my opinions could be half baked but now that doesnt seem to be so.

Bob Houghton has implied that he might leave after the Asian Cup. I feel it is quite unnecessary of him to pop up now and talk about his departure plans as we ought to completely concentrate on the preparations even though it might not earn the desired results as we are in a tough qualifying group. Even then the departure talk can take a back seat, he might simply be steering across to put some pressure on the football governing body. With the looks of it, that is the only way to counter such an organization, so it is not very fair to be overtly critical of Bob at this moment.

Lets hope Bob and the team take the positives from the Iraq match and move on. Thinking of underdogs in football, Otto Rehhagel’s Greece in Euro ’04 always comes to mind. It is certainly fanciful of me to expect something of that sort by in India in the Asian Cup but you dont have to pay a penalty for dreaming, so let me!

On another note, the under-23 or the India B team has progressed to the last 16 in the Asian Games. They thrashed Singapore 4-1 enroute to the last 16. Let us wait and watch, what this team can do.

The best part about Asian games and the recently friendlies are there are live streams appearing over the internet. While it was almost impossible to find live streams of Indian football earlier,with this new trend let us hope footy lovers can enjoy their share of Indian football over the internet.

Commonwealth Farce

Posted in India, sports by clash on October 18, 2010

The commonwealth farce is over. Everyone seems to be enthused about the fact that the games went on well after all those initial glitches and media reports.  We seemed to have bettered our medals tally and people are already talking about hosting Olympics. I still stand by whatever i wrote earlier about CWG.  Check those here and here.

If anything explains our CWG the best, it is this Sainath article – The narcissism of the neurotic

These nefarious elements like Kalmadi and Bhanot will be out soon for an Olympics bid. They are waiting for the CWG dust to settle down and cover all the corruption and malpractices.

On a lighter note enjoy this performance of the secretary general of the organizing committee of the CWG.

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Where are the playgrounds?

Posted in Football, India, Indian Football, Kerala, soccer, sports by clash on August 11, 2010

Asks the Kerala football team coach – M.M Jacob, who was in helm for the recently concluded Santosh Trophy.

Sorry, if you mistake this as a ritual, I kindly request you not to consider this as one. Even though most of my posts have that quintessential cynical streak in them, I need to make it clear that I don’t really intend to constantly churn out pessimistic articles about Kerala football. The problem is that it keeps coming most often than expected because, that is the state of kerala football right  now.

The irony of  our football is well explained at this moment. We have a Kerala footballer in Denson Devdas, who scored a brace to take West Bengal to Santosh Trophy title after a long wait for 11 years. On the contrary we have the  Kerala team which crashed out in a quarterfinal match against Mizoram. While the state still produces players like Denson, there is something seriously lacking in our football as M.M. Jacob explains in this interview report to Stan Rayan of The Hindu.

The interview needs no in-depth analysis  as Jacob is quite candid about our footballing situation, but he points out a very important factor that is contributing to the decline of  Kerala football. The availability of play grounds , an issue which has skipped the attention of many in Kerala. He says : “Children these days don’t have a ground where they can run and play freely. There is so much restriction everywhere. I think, if we get the Ambedkar Stadium (in Kochi), develop it nicely, it will help football in a big way,” And it can’t get anymore clearer. There is a massive shortage of open spaces, leave alone play grounds in Kerala. The chaotic urban and rural planning hardly leaves any space for public utilities like a park or a play ground, what so ever happened to the current government’s policy of identifying 10,000 play grounds.

Kerala has not won the inter-state tourney after 2002 and has been crashing out of the tournament in the earlier stages of the competition, thanks to humiliating defeats at the hands of other states. The situation is quite bleak with the once super star I.M. Vijayan admitting that the talent coming forth is substandard. Academies and nurturing talent right from young age is the way forward, but all those will only come in to place unless we realize the importance of play grounds and start planning towards creating more space for children to play.

Talking about playgrounds and stadiums, the latest news is that Viva Kerala, the team representing Kerala in i-league is on the run to find a ground where they can play their home matches. If Viva has to hunt a ground, imagine the plight of a  kid wanting to play some football.

The most cynical preamble for WC 2010


Media, English and the vernacular is awash with news about football fever in kerala.  Extensive and in-depth coverage of the football fever in fact.

While the World Cup build up is happening, Kerala is currently participating in the Dr. B.C. Roy Trophy – Junior NFC.  The results are a contrast to the euphoria that media is trying to push down our throats. In this junior national tournament, Kerala is in a tough cluster but that is no excuse for the failure.

Here is what we have managed so far.

score card courtesy : the-aiff.com

score card courtesy : the-aiff.com

Thorough thumping in both the matches played. The score line is indeed a matter of worry. It shows that we were not even a match against both these teams.

Chandigarh is home to a very decent football academy and its a government run one.  North eastern states are innately very good at football and some of them are the beneficiaries of effectively implemented Vision India programme, a junior footballing programme conducted with the help of AFC. I am not sure if  Mizoram is part of this programme yet.

Kerala, for being a football loving state, does not have a single government run football academy. A lot private short term football coaching camps happen and there are considerably successful ventures like SEPT ,but these are not helping our football in a desired manner.   I also tried tracking the Vision India programme that was implemented in Kerala, but hardly any news came up of it.

This is not new, last time around we crashed out of this age group tournament in good fashion.  I carried out my usual cynical work here.

When everyone is eagerly awaiting the world cup football, it is probably not a right moment to contemplate about Kerala football . It would be nice if  the Malayalam journos who are waxing lyrical about the world cup fever stand up and take notice of  our football’s decline.

Thejas online has two different stories about the World Cup football fever, here and here.

Before blasting them for not having enough attention to our own backyard, i have to say that Thejas carries the best football news in Malayalam on any day.

For a week or more, i have been trying to jot down something about my world cup memories but that never happened. The draft happened, shelved, dusted again and then again shelved.

Memories would remain memories, it looks like.

All these while i was getting treated to variety of news articles from various sources over the internet about the football madness that is slowly creeping in Malabar. A coincidence that the  Dr. B.C. Roy Trophy – Junior NFC is also currently underway.  I couldn’t stop myself, here i am with a post that could the most cynical preamble written  for this world cup.

I have a contender here : Who’s losing at the World Cup?

I am happy that i managed to conjure something up about football before the world cup started.

My bets for this world cup  :

1. Argentina (Eternal favorites!)

2.Netherlands (Van Persie, Top Scorer)

3.Spain (Fabregas, have a good tournament and stay with us for another year or so.)

4.Cameroon (African teams are supposed to do good in this cup and my pick is Cameroon. They have an imbalanced team not anywhere close to Milla and co, still i would vouch for them)

And that is it. Enjoy the footballing month ahead.

To Beef or not.

Posted in India by clash on January 18, 2010

The upcoming Commonwealth games seems to be garnering attention for all the wrong reasons.

The latest of it all is the controversy involved in including beef as a food item for the athletes.

We all know, Cow is holy animal here and some people have set out their whole life to the development of cow urine cola and cow dung cosmetic items. Looks like things are going to take a ugly turn with some of these cow fellas calling the games organizing committee to chuck beef from the menu for athletes.

It is indeed news for me that, the sale of beef or even possession of it is illegal in Delhi since from 1993. Dont know, if it is a non-bailable offense though. Looks like beef belongs to the class of Cocaine, BS and Heroin. Sheesh!

Just a thought, doesn’t the star hotels there serve beef?

So, no beef, but could be served with some hot Cow urine cola, beware!

Athletes can probably take some Cow dung facial kits as souvenirs from India. It could be a serious novelty.

I have a suggestion to the athletes and visitors for Commonwealth Games.

One hour flight from the capital and you are in Kerala.

A plate of Beef Fry comes around for 30 to 50 bucks in decent hotels. ( With this kind of inflation, it is a better bargain!)

Add to that some Kerala Porottas for Rs.5 each, a sumptuous meal is not alone that Kerala can offer.

There could be much more, but no Cow Cola and Cow Fellas.

Enjoy a good beef meal here.

Welcome.

Musli Power and Irish Newspapers….

Posted in Football, India, Indian Football, Kerala, sports by clash on January 11, 2010

Sleaze has no boundaries. It sells. Be it Bamaku or Dublin, it has takers.

Indian Football achieved quite a lot in 2009. In fact it has been a steady progress, even 2008 was good enough.

We retained Nehru Cup, the U-23 team brought back the SAFF cup , a Federation Cup where rookies from the North East gave the premier teams a run for their money and so much more.

Unlike the usual trend our footballers appeared all over news, be it Baichung Bhutia for his sizzling win in the Reality TV dance show and the controversy that ensued or the launch of Football Players Association of India (FPAI) where footballers danced their hearts out, as if all of them wanted a direct call up from  Reality Dance shows.

So much for football in India? Yes, it was quite happening to say.

All these did  not  really make  the  International Media stand up and get notice our football, except for some blogs from the wilderness mentioning our football ,the improvements and achievements that was unfolding here.

Recently though, International media is picking up news about our football. Leading the way is the Irish Media.

Two articles have appeared in 2 Irish different media sources about Musli Power Churchill Brothers team, whose team members were accused of molesting an air-hostess mid air.

It is funny, it took words like molestation, Musli Power – an aphrodisiac and these concoction of spurious words spurred the attention of the world to stand up and take notice of our football.

While the first article was a news piece they picked up from some where in Irish Independent, today they have gone a bit further. Some one seems to have seriously done some research in whipping up this article.

It is pathetic and sad to see this kind of Journalism. We had a decent year, when it comes to football and no one bothered.

Suddenly we have a Musli Powered team being accused of molestation and they are all over.

Suddenly i felt, Indian Footballers are all molesters. Indian Clubs dont play football, they play molestation. Such pathetic has been the media response. The foreign and the Indian, alike Stink.

Simple.

Sleaze sells.

Kunnath Pharma, though came out saying that they will withdraw the sponsorship for the team, they should be happy with the Impact their “Musli Power” made. There is no better marketing strategy for an aphrodisiac than getting dragged in to a molestation scandal. The name is pasted all over the media.

Wonder this will lead to a libido over charge in our country. Beware, Musli Power could be coming to Ireland too. The media has built up the platform with right articles, just that Kunnath needs to cater to the demands overseas.

Ideal.

Newzealand herald :

clipped from www.nzherald.co.nz

Perhaps having sampled the sponsor’s product, three players were involved in an in-flight “molesting” incident involving a stewardess.
Unfortunate sponsorship alert! One of South Asia’s biggest soccer clubs, Churchill Brothers, could lose their major sponsor, aphrodisiac manufacturer Musli Power Xtra.

But it wasn’t their fault, according to club management: “It was very cramped,” said Churchill Alemao, patron of the club.

“We have written to the Civil Aviation Minister to call for more space. It is not sensible otherwise.” Quite right – airlines can’t be too careful in this day and age.
blog it

and, oh..yes guardian.co.uk :

clipped from www.guardian.co.uk
Indian side Musli Power Churchill Brothers say an in-flight “molesting” incident involving three players and a stewardess was the fault of the plane’s layout. “It was very cramped. We have written to the Civil Aviation Minister to call for more space. It is not sensible otherwise.” Club sponsors, aphrodisiac brand Musli Power Xtra, are “considering their position”.
blog it

BMS Hartal….

Posted in India, Terrorism by clash on December 29, 2009

BMS who?

Yes, this would have been the reaction of a lot, when BMS called for an Hartal in Kerala. BMS is truly an alien organization for majority of Malayalees. If it was not, i wish, it was.

Leave alone BMS, their parent organization – BJP, has not managed to make an electoral break through in Kerala so far.

All of us know BJP. Thanks to their communal politics, their fervor to induce differences based on religion and of course the recent debacle in the latest parliamentary elections and the subsequent problems they faced as an organization.

I still believe BJP will struggle to make a mark in Kerala electorally in any near future but they seems to be having quite a different take on this. Today’s hartal called by BMS is a primer in terms of that ambition.

The political landscape of Kerala is a bit slimy off late. The ruling left coalition has been drawn in to innumerable controversies this time around. Some of them as a result of deft politics being played by the opposition and others which are genuine issues. In both cases, the left coalition has been exposed quite a few times.

Add to this, the open political “understanding” the left cut out during the last parliamentary elections with the controversial Maudani and the soap operasque affairs that is unfolding after Thadiyantavide Nazir, an alleged Malayali terrorist who was caught by police hiding in Bangladesh.

While Nazir’s capture is indeed a breakthrough in many of the small and big terror cases in the state and the neighboring ones, his confessionary statements are not doing any good to Maudani and his party. Maudani’s wife – Soofiya, who was arrested and then released on bail has been allegedly been mentioned in Nazir’s confessionary statements. Soofiya, it seems, conspired along with Nazir for burning a Tamil Nadu State transport corporation bus in Kochi.

While Soofiyas involvement in the case was quite evident right from the beginning, it took almost 7 years or so to arrest her. The goverment was reluctant to nab the 10th accused Soofiya. Based on Nazir’s statements and some what succumbing to media pressure, the home minister revealed that, to “refurbish” the image of the government,  Soofiya is being arrested and she was.

While Madauni’s approach to all this was the scariest and despicable. He kept on rambling that his was being ‘framed” by the government and there is high level conspiracy against him and his party. He did not stop there, his ugliest self was at its best when he claimed that “it was for the first time in India a purdah clad Muslim house wife is being arrested”.  Utter shite and a deliberate attempt to subvert the charge against his wife and instantly communalise it.

We always had a false sense of security and harmony, which we carried for a long long time. As a matter of fact, the state had been quite tolerant and sensible when it comes to inter-religious cohabitation and to an extent was largely secular in its nature.  While the situation has changed in the last 2 decades, we have been quite late in realizing this transition. For almost everyone that i know, it was rude shock when the news of Malayalees getting killed in Kashmir came out. This incident was followed by several investigations and revelations, which would aptly fit in the frames of a nightmare.

While the hindutva terror was contained by left, sometimes turning very ugly in terms of causality, the Muslim one seems to have slipped out of attention.(congress to an extent is against “hindutva”) .If people feels that the government is not taking appropriate measures to tackle the tentacles of terror, things will take an ugly turn. The communally precarious situation that it is, there are people who are waiting to capitalize this.

In comes BJP, of all the states in India, the BJP camp in Kerala is quite upbeat. They are relishing the arrests of Soofiya,Nazir and any Muslim who seems to have connections to this terror network as they find this as an opportunity to emphasize and establish themselves in Kerala. They are eager to prove their points, which they have been blathering in vain for quite a long time in kerala. (Mostly petulant ones.) They are hoping to mobilize that essential Hindu votes to make an electoral breakthrough.

Politically it may sound like a very naive proposition. The ramifications of such a thrust from BJP could lead to serious dents in our state’s secular framework.

For me, the BMS hartal was a trial and error  iteration performed by the BJP state unit. They wanted to know the response of people for a hartal called by BMS, which for many us is a nondescript organization.  Some acquaintances on Twitter even confirmed that they are hearing about the organization for the very first time. So to an extent, the ploy worked but with a cost.

The sentiments prevailing against hartal in Kerala is quite obvious even though there will be a few, who enjoy a good holiday, a good drink (In kerala context, i think it would be appropriate to say “drinks” than “a good drink”), some precious time with the family and so on. Add to that a number of “55” KSRTC buses that were stoned, which is now being bleated all over the media.

People know BMS now.

Will that help BJP in anyway?

I think, they have a lot to do organizationally to break in to the fray. They are trying hard.

I hope, it never happens.

It should never happen.

oh..yes, by the way..i am one of those ‘pseudos”.