Corporate Social Negligence!

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.

AFC Challenge Cup ’08 is India’s

Posted in Football, India, politics, soccer, sports by clash on August 14, 2008

Far away from the hustle and bustle of Olympics and the brouhaha  about a single gold medal won by an Indian, the unsung heroes of Indian football piped Tajikistan 4-1 in the final match of AFC Challenge Cup that happened in New Delhi. This is not any attempt to discredit the great achievement by Abhinav Bindra in shooting but as always our media went too far in creating an unwanted buzz about his achievement, which looks very puny when weighed against the massive population of India – 1 billion. By creating this kind of a frenzy about Abhinav Bindra, our media is toeing the lines of our corrupt politicians and lazy bureaucrats, who are trying to rally on this gold, while making us forget the pathetic state of sports in India.

The final match was shifted to New Delhi as the Gacchibowli stadium in Hyderabad turned out to be a paddy field because of the incessant rains that belted in the city. As it is, the city did not deserve to hold the finals as hardly any fans turned up to the stadium to watch the tournament. Contrary to what happened in Hyderabad, the New Delhi stadium was filled with a huge number of well-wishers of Indian football, men and women alike.

There is nothing much to be written about the final match as India were already 3-0 up by 23 minutes through goals of Sunil Chhetri and Baichung Bhutia. Over all the team played their heart out. Tajikistan too had their chances in the game, but they were too rattled to stage a come back in the match. Our defenders did quite well barring the occasional glitches that led to dangerous counter attacking by the Tajiks.  The defense would have been much better, if we had the service of Mahesh Gawli, who is injured.

The midfielders had better day on the field and i am quite impressed by Meharajuddin Wadoo who came on as a substitute for N.P.Pradeepan, who was quite rusty in the whole tournament. There is nothing much to talk about Steven Dias; his crosses and spot kicks were the highlight of this tournament. This man has a long way to go.  I am still a bit apprehensive in praising Climax Lawrence, though he had a good game as the rest of the team members.

The forward line was quite exemplary yesterday with Chhetri pitching in with a hat-trick. I criticised Chhetri for his performance level in the group stages, but now, i think i will have to re-think on this. He did play very well, held the ball up, had good close control and scored 3 goals and this is a massive achievement for him as he is a shorty, nippy forward. Whatever you may say, Baichung undoubtedly is the trump card of India and he is so lively and remarkably flexible for his age. I hope we will have his service extended till the Asian Cup of 2011.

The real hero in this tournament is Subrato Paul, for me. He is an outstanding young goal keeper, who will grow in stature in the coming years. He is tall, brave and marvellously acrobatic in the goal. He was very influential through out the tournament and made some splendid saves through out the tournament. He seems to be a very calm and cool customer and i seriously wish that some international scouts pick him up, so that he can have a stint outside the country, which will help him massively.

By winning the AFC Challenge Cup we have sealed a berth in the 2011 Asian Cup happening in Qatar, by then we will have some more talented youngsters to choose from and they will offer serious contention for the current crop of players. Mind you, we have an u-16 team, who have blanked Asian power houses like Saudi Arabia and South Korea. 

The media as always is beating drums for some Phelps who is of no importance to us. it took a bloody 2 hours for the websites of these illustrious beacons of our society to update and write a few lines about our football teams victory. Neither did i expect anything spectacular from them. There will be no victory parades in open buses, no endowments from the governments but Indian football will rally on; sad to say with a corrupt and inefficient man heading the ALL India Football Federation.

Kozhikode is planning for an International Football Tournament

Posted in Football, India, Kerala, politics, soccer, sports by clash on August 13, 2008

The football Stadium in Kozhikode was built in 1977, the bold emphasis for football here is because, later on the stadium dithered on the supposed purpose and held couple of cricket matches.

But in 1997 the district authorities planned to revamp the stadium, the work went on for a very long period – 7.5 years. The stadium was re-opened in February 2005 to an increased capacity of 35,000. But 7.5 years is a long time span; that this city missed out on a lot of football matches that could have happened in Kozhikode.

Santosh Trophy has happened twice in Kozhikode. Other than this national tournament, good tournaments like Sait-Nagjee, Scissors Cup and Federation Cup used to happen in Kozhikode. Organisers of these tournaments were never in doldrums about deciding Kozhikode as the venue because this town has always atrracted sizeable numbers for any tournaments that happened there.  May be KDFA and KFA hatched plans to generate more revenue from the gate collection and planned the revamping of the stadium.

Sad to say, this effort huffed and puffed for 7 long years, till the Corporation of Kozhikode managed to put back the pieces they tore down in the name of revamping.  This so called revamping has a very important role in the present nonchalance shown by crowds towards football happening in this town.  During this 7 long years, kozhikode missed out on a lot of good tournaments – national and International; that would have came to the town. Satellite television bombarded European leagues right in to the living room and the crowd was happy seeing beautiful football in their Television sets than sweating out in the sun cheering a local team.

By February 2005, the revamped stadium was in place but there was no flood lights or  good dressing rooms in the stadium. People in Kozhikode had to wait for 3 more years to watch some football in their stadium as Viva kerala played their home matches for i-league in this town. Newspaper reports say that close 20,000 attended  the match between Viva and Bagan and that is astounding number  wheil you weigh it against the popularity of Viva in Kerala.

So, what is different today? Todays newspaper carry headlines that KDFA has confirmed with the Corporation of Kozhikode that the work of flood lights will be done by October this year and they are planning for an International tournament in Kozhikode. I can only hope and probably rope in some, for offering prayers to the necessary sports gods, so that the flood light installation doesn’t go on and on for another 7 long years.

International tournament in kozhikode means – kahakafou FC from Nigeria, Nkrumah club from Kenya, some Pakistani and Bangladeshi clubs; we are not supposed to expect anything more than this. But, if they are able to rope in some good local teams, there will be enough crowd in this football loving town.

There is already a good football league that is happening in Kozhikode, Videocon were the sponsors last time around. They have A, B, C, D division leagues with around 10 teams in each division and that is a hell lot of football.  I hope this touted international tournament helps kozhikode raise its profile once again in the footballing map of India and attract tournaments like AFC challenge Cup to this city. I am very sure there would have been good crowd response in this town, if AFC challenge cup had happened here.

So that is  about the serious expectations i hold for kozhikode. Now, for the football loving ladies in this nation, KDFA has also announced a football league for women in kozhikode. I am not too sure, how big a success it will be, but on its own if it can thrive in this society, it will be a great.

More to come on AFC Challenge Cup after today’s final match in Delhi and I am planning to compile a list of keralite footballers who are plying their trade in clubs outside kerala. Did you know that Mumbai FC has 4 players from Kerala in their ranks? If you dint, you ought to keep track of this blog!

Withstanding the stories of neglect, Indian Football rallies on…

Posted in Arsenal, English Premier League, Football, India, soccer, sports by clash on August 11, 2008

Indian Express carried a well timed article that very well encapsulate, what is wrong with Indian Football, its past and present.Through the story of a neglected former Indian Footballer, the article carries on to capture a bleak picture of what is happening in our football. Neglect is not a new characteristic of our system and society, we have easily forgotten a lot of our yesteryear heroes and that dubious record is at its very worst when it comes to sports. Sports, other than cricket, i would say.

Indian Footballers have always lived in the fringe. We will all know I.M.Vijayan, Baichung Bhutia and probably Jarnail Singh, Makhan Singh, P.K Banerjee, Nayeemuddin and….  that is it, the list ends there. So the story of MOHAMMED Zulfakaruddin, a great footballer from the former Nizam’s city is nothing new but Indian Express did a tremendous job in carrying this article as it definitely called for an introspection in what is wrong with us.

The current crop of Indian footballers were indeed unhappy about the recently anounced Arjuna Awards; the esteemed accolade by the state for oustanding sports personalities. There are some great players, who needs to be recognised and awarded by the state. By not doing this, we are comprehensively snubbing football, a sport that has been played in India for quite a long while now. Don’t forget that we were quick to recognise and award our Golf brigadiers and you all know the history of that sport in India.

Selecting Hyderabad as a venue for the AFC challenge cup was a challenge in itself, there was no guarantee that the tournament would have been successful there. It has not and now that the Rains have hogged the limelight turning the pitch in to something that of a Rugby ground, the final match between India and Tajikistan will be happening in Delhi, it seems. Delhi is also not devoid of rains, then question  arises, during the monsoon season in India if you plan a tournament, do you expect it to be anything other than this?  So who guided AFC in planning this? The obvious culprit seems to be AIFF.

 

Getting back to the action, India played a well organised and fluidly playing Myanmar in the semi-finals. The ground was a slush pool, both teams huffed and puffed, toed poked football and were forced to play long high balls. This definitely helped India as on the outset Myanmar seems to be a team tuned for the Brazilian style and that definitely needs better ground conditions. Bob Houghton’s hybrid style had to be a success on such a ground and it did. Sunil Chetri scored the solitary goal from an excellent setting up from Baichung.

Myanmar is a good footballing side and if the grounds were in good condition, they would have took us for a good ride. They had their share of moments in the match. There is nothing much to write about the game as it looked like something other than football on that pitch. We will have to wait for a game played in good conditions to see, if Bob can pull it off.

Indian team did show some resilience, Subrato Pal was outstanding as the Goal keeper, this man should find way to play somewhere outside India. He has the stature, talent and the right attitude. In the defense, i like Surukumar, he bustles all around in the right flank. Anwar Ali, Gourmangi and Samir Naik had a decent match. They were caught out by the Myamanar forward line couple of time though. 

The midfield of Steven Dias, Renedy, Climax and N.P.Pradeepan is a cause for concern. Steven being the inform player, he did quite ok in the match. Where as, the rest i would say was off-colour. It is time for the replacement of Renedy, where as Climax did live up to his potential at times in the match but he has to rev up his game to make the midfield the engine room that supplies out forward line.

Picutre Courtesy : Reuters

India needs to win the AFC challenge Cup, be it Hyderabad or Delhi. In Delhi i am expecting good crowds that will definitely rally behind us in the final match against Tajikistan. Come on, earn a place in the 2011 Asian Cup and by that time, i hope we have some stand-ins for Climax and Clifford and more important is that we should have the services of our exemplary Baichung Bhutia by then. I hope we do.

On another note, news about the prospects of India being a big market for the european clubs is not new for us. But the furore that is happening right now seems to be the biggest rocking that our footballing boat has ever undergone. The latest being the offering of our former coach Stephen Constantine in helping Indian football to forge better realtion ship with the European clubs and it seems his CV is with David Gill of Manchester United. Hurray Man U fans! I have been hearing rumours of Arsenal tying up with a Mumbai club too. Anyway let us hope for the best and keep our fingers crossed about the AFC Challenge Cup final.

 

 

AFC Challenge Cup’08 – my take on India and the chances…

Posted in English Premier League, Football, India, soccer, sports by clash on August 5, 2008

If you dint know, there is an high profile football tournament happening here in our own very Hyderabad.

It looks better from outside than a barren inside!

Barren Inside, glorious Outside!

Image courtesy : google images

India has already played Afghanistan,Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on a morose football pitch, which made one Indian player quip ” our grounds are worse than the Portuguese 3rd division teams” . The stadium can host around 30,000 but hardly 1000 turn up for a match. On an Orkut form, i voiced out that AIFF completely failed to market this footballing spectacle, where as there are counter arguments too; from people who think that the tournament did get its share of coverage.

If India manages to qualify from the group and advance, one can only hope for good crowds in the pearl city. Hyderabad has an inspirational  footballing history . This is an Irony in Indian Football, good stadiums doesn’t have the crowd to fill in.  This tournament would have been a success, if it happened in Kerala, Bengal or it would have been a massive success if it had happened in the North-east. Delhi, which came out with outstanding crowd last time around for  the Nehru Cup would also have fitted the bill. But, we don’t really have the infrastructure to match up with the ones in Hyderabad or Delhi else where and this where it all fails.

Kolkata as always get its share of good football, thanks to the authorities, they have  a good city league and obviously the largest contingent of football fans in India. Delhi too, thanks to our North Eastern brothers and sisters, did come up with huge crowds behind the team in the Nehru Cup. If AFC Challenge Cup’08 had happened in the North-East, it would have been successful and a necessary recognition for their overwhelming presence in Indian Football. Sadly that has not happened.

The first match against Afghanistan was a moronic affair. India huffed and puffed to a win. The next match against Tajikistan was also not a spectacular affair, we managed a draw and the final group match against Turkmenistan had the Gacchibowli pitch at its worst. incessant rains had made the pitch a slush pool and India seemed very comfortable playing on it. Thanks to the monsoons that belt in Bengal, Goa and other parts of India, our players are not alien to these conditions.  The team played considerably well against Turkmenistan compared to their previous outings in the tournament.

On the outset we have formidable team. In goal keeper’s position we have Subarata Paul, who have managed to put up a decent show in the tournament so far. The defense comprising Mahesh Gawli, Deepankar Mondal, Anwar Ali, Samir Naik, Gourmangi Singh and Surukumar is a decent line up, but unfortunately we did not find a stabilised partnership in the defense until the last game in which Anwar Ali and Gourmangi put up a good show. Mahesh Gawli for all the hype has not lived up to the expectations and Deepankar Mondal is out of the tourney because of an Injury. Anwar Ali and Gourmangi did put up a good show in the match against Turkmenistan, Surukumar and Samir Naik also had a good game.  To get to final and win the tournament; to earn a place in the 2011 AFC cup, our defense need to be alert; on their toes and put up a spirited display.

The midfield comprising N.P.Pradeep, Climax Lawrence, Renedy Singh, Steven Dias and Clifford Miranda is a star studded one, if one wants to term it so. So far in the tournament, this very engine of the team has not worked well and it was very obvious in the first 2 outings we had in this tournament. Steven Dias by-far seems to be the best (in form) player in midfield. I have become a fan of his spot kicks, he is good with his searing runs and crosses from the flank. This guy surely have his shooting boots on; in this tournament. N.P.Pradeep looks rusty but did show glimpses of good touch in the match against Turkmenistan. I am very opinionated about Climax; he did score a goal in the opening match, but i have always felt, he is not up to the job. Renedy Singh is an experienced customer, but for his experience he lacks all the composure he needs to have. I hope we have some one to replace this player in the future and for me the one who should be replacing him should not be Clifford Miranda. Clifford looked completely out of sorts in that position in the match he played against Tajikistan. For all the work he puts in, his final ball is awful and he always runs in to dead ends loosing the ball. I am not Bob Houghton or a “special one” – Jose, but if am to try my luck,  i will bring in Mohammed Rafi of Mahindra United in there. Rafi is a decent forward, has good physique and can add some steel in our midfield.

And finally the forwards; in Sunil Chetri we have a talented player who might make it as big as Baichung in future. Chetri is a wily youngster who has loads of skill in him but in terms of physique i think he lacks a bit. He is not that type of a ball-holding forward but a nippy player who can make searing runs. If there is a strong support from our midfield , i believe this player might excel but to reach where Baichung is, he needs to put in a lot of effort.  At 31, Baichung is definitely the trump card for India and this man always lives up to the expectations. He knows where the ball needs to head in a football match and his tally of 3 goals in the tournament proves that. I really hope he helps us to win this tournament. On the whole, this combination has worked well for India and we can only hope to see better performances from Sunil and Baichung. Sushil Kumar is another played who was tried out by Bob Houghton in one of the matches, but he looked completely out of sorts and was not getting any sort of support from Sunil chetri. Apart from a puny short which he took directly to the opposition goal keeper, he rarely impressed me.

It is not fair to dissect Indian football in terms of their counterparts in Europe but there are some points that needs to be examined and one of them is about the tactics that the team employ. While watching AFC cup, i felt we are over relaint on long balls in to the opposition half. There are two reasons for Bob Houghton to employ this : the opposition teams are better ball players than us and to override the stamina problem that might arise due to short passes and formations. Turkmenistan on the outset looked like better ball players than India but the slush in the Gacchibowli stadium did not come of any help to their skills and India emerged victorious because of their long ball tactics.  With a shorty in Sunil Chetri who mostly plays as the ball-holding forward; can we take India all the way to victory in AFC Challenge Cup’08 ? I wonder. The only apprehension in me is Sunil Chetri’s fragility while playing as a ball holding player.  The second apprehension is the position of Climax Lawerence – the holding midfielder. Is he a holding mid field player or is he not? With Renedy/Clifford on the left wing, Steven Dias on the right, the middle of the pitch is left over to Climax and Pradeep. Pradeep has been scoring goals, so he plays in attacking position and that makes Climax the defensive option in the midfield and i am not too happy with his defenisve abilities. I think, we need to bring in a terrier of a player there, someone like Gattuso, Flamini, Velso to name some. Again, Gattuso, Flamini and Velso are products of an entirely different and efficient system. Comparing Climax to them is utterly unfair of me, but i think India needs to find a player there, who is a terrier who can attack and sustain in the opposition attacks. Give me a break, we have a population of 1.3 billion, we will find one terrier of a player who can replace Climax.

Shortcomings apart, it will be great if India can manage a victory in AFC Challenge Cup’08 and that will earn us a berth in the Asia Cup played amongst the higher ranking teams in Asia. 1984 is the last time we managed this and that is a long way back in history.  Then again, it will be success for India in another tournament in a short span of time, the other being the Nerhu Cup. Some how if we manage to win AFC Challenge Cup’08, i would rate it as a bigger achievement than the Nehru cup withstanding the sad part of it – the team playing to an empty stadium!

                        _____________________________________________________

On another note; the media is buzzing all about Indian football. You know that Manchester and Arsenal were here and picked up some boys for their 1-month training “stunt” in UK. Bayern Munich and Oliver Khan carried forward the “news-baton” as he and his team played before a crowd of 1,20,000. Then it happened so that our globe-trotting Sports minister M.S.Gill was with Roman Calderon watching the Wimbledon final and now it seems that Gill is going to bring Real for an exhibition match, though this is the first time i am hearing a government initiated exhibition match to promote football. Anyway thanks to him, the “news-baton” was successfully carried and duly handed it over to whom, you know? Yes, the team with a want- away star – Manchester United; They expressed their willingness to look towards India for some pre-season matches.  That is almost all the top European clubs being linked with India in some sort or the other. It has not ended there, Paul Mony Samuel of AFC has voiced out the importance of Chelsea, who are providing them the technical know-how to implement the Vision India project in India. Fair and square! No not yet, it all had to end here : Satyam Computer Services Ltd. is the official IT Services Provider to the FIFA World Cups in 2010 (Johannesburg) and in 2014 (Brazil)

Now it is the turn of Baichung and his boys to make some waves and share a pie of the clinical memory ( if AFC Challenge Cup has some prize money, they can very well enjoy that too!) our press hold. Over to “regret” part – If you feel that you are missing out on a lot; that is happening with Indian football, pull up your sleeves and subscribe/bookmark this broadcast : Indian Football Digest.

A small time Indian Football News broadcast! My broadcast caught out Satyam @ FIFA, decide on your own, if it small time or ……

Viva Kerala and Kerala Football….

Posted in Football, India, Kerala, soccer, sports by clash on July 7, 2008

Viva Kerala

There are supporters, the only problem is that their attention is slightly skewed outwards, they literally don’t have anything to love about in Kerala football. That latest distraction being the thrashing by Punjab in Santosh Trophy, they piped us 5-0. No more is there a Vijayan, Sathayan, Chakco or Sharaf Ali to save us. There are of course fringe names, O.K Javed, Asif Saheer and so on, that is not enough, they are no colossal figures.

N.P Pradeep is the current biggest thing in  Indian Football scene from Kerala, but so detached that he is right now, he is more of an “Indian” player for all Keralaites right now. He has indeed a long way to go, and i wish him all the best for his future, one day i reckon he will be rewarded for all his abilities. In fact he is well rewarded monetary wise, I-league footballers don’t live in penury anymore. ( but chennai League players might)

Viva Kerala matches for the last i-league’s edition generated decent crowd presence, it is not anymore those eras where spectators used to fill in the stands. The stadium has increased it capacity but fans have deserted football in the last decade. When all the buzz about Bob Houghton, the Indian Football team, N.P. Pradeep and State associations happen in the national media, there is a slumber in Kerala Football.

I constantly keep my self updated  with Indian Football through a broadcast that i created with Google Reader. I hardly to get to see any news about Kerala Football. The last time when the feeds were not greyed out for kerala Football were during the AFC Vision India program launch at kozhikode and then in the Santosh Trophy super debacle under the tutelage of Victor Manjilla who disguised the Calicut University Team (Inside Information) as a Kerala team. Super, a befitting blow on our face as to realise and understand what football is now and grow up.

The biggest football tourney in Kerala right now is the yearly  E.K Nayanar Football tourney conducted in Kannur, which sort of is an overt brandishing act of corportocracy that has crept in to CPIM. Last time around there were serious allegations about the money that was pumped in for this tournament, they claim it was from an spurious business man based in Singapore – Pharis Aboobacker. That shows how much of a spectacle it is.

Kozhikkode which used to attract huge crowds for “antiquated” tournaments like Sait Nagjee, never witness any good football matches these days other than the Kozhikkode 1st Division league matches and the occasional Viva kerala matches when they were in i-league. Everybody is resorted to television for good football in Euro cup or EPL. And obviously attention is slightly skewed outwards.

I still believe Viva could have capitalized the situation, when they played in Kozhikode, they could have earned the respect of this football loving town with a little bit of good PR at their disposal. Those kind of attempts are never seen from the so called Premier club of Kerala. In fact dreading stories of how they abandoned their Goal keeper who met with an accident – breaking his leg while he was playing for them spread in the local news papers. And now that they have been relegated to the 1-league 2, we will not hear anything about them.

For Viva to be the foremost club that a Keralite can look up to, they are putting up a pathetic show with these kind of unfavourable news spreading in the media. There were in fact other allegations too against them after they axed a bunch of  players who helped them qualify for i-league. That makes them a spurious prospect to work your career out  with.

While drawing inspiration from Santosh Trophy which Bob Houghton has called for scrapping ; terming it antiquated and unwanted , Punjab the champions of this edition of Santosh Trophy has been creating quite a buzz in the Indian Football scene for something, other than what every one has to speak about – JCT Mills and its players (notably Sunil Chetri) in  the i-league.

Few weeks prior to the Santosh trophy victory, news popped up in my feed reader that JCT Mills have reached a understanding with Wolverhampton Wanderers to promote football in the region . These are indeed efforts that keep football in the news and that quietly raise it status in a society. These kind of Initiatives helps the club in offering different prospects for upcoming players in terms of dreams and opportunities, if everything works out favorably. A link which seems to have vanished now revealed that HAL scouts picked up a J&k player with a monthly salary of 25,000, that is marvelous.

Kerala too created some news but that was of their clueless display against Services and Punjab. The same is the case with the premier club in Kerala too, Viva after sliding back in to i-league 2, they rarely produced any buzz and the latest i have heard about them is that their couple of players joined Pune.FC. great!

This kind of complacency in terms of creating news and going in to slumber wont help them in having a prolonged presence in Indian football. Nascent clubs like Mumbai FC, Pune FC and various other academies are trying aggressively to assert themselves in this not so bullish business area. I presume Viva still has time in regrouping and asserting themselves before such sort of a not so large footballing affair crops up from kerala.

Clubs like Premier Tyres, Cochin Port Trust, Kerala Police, F. C Cochin have all donned the scene and faded away without leaving any trace. Probably the lone survivor from this spurious group is SBT, which has least acceptance as a “state team”.

Kerala police (Vijayan, Pappachan, Sharaf Ali) was the best loved among these, while i am sure there were great hopes pinned to the so called first professional club : FC Cochin, which met with a sad and ignominious death. I am quite convinced  that in near future, a club even big as Viva will not emerge from Kerala.

A discussion in an Orkut community for Viva Kerala says that money is what is eluding them.  This is quite a valid reason, it is almost impossible to raise funds for a football club in India.  But in Viva’s case there is a lot of mis management too that has happened, because right from its inception, there has been controversies brewing about players, coaches and so on. Quite contrary to the pathetic situation they potray, national trends do unveil on a smaller scale, there are corporate sponsorships for football. The Goan Santosh Trophy team was sponsored by Budweiser. There is no need to leap over to Goa to asses the situation as the Kozhikode City 1st division league is sponsored by Videocon!

The discussion thread also reveals that Viva almost signed a deal with Hutch last season but that got dissolved as Hutch was bought over by Vodafone. The sponsorship deal getting dissolved was sad but the attendance had to do a lot with how Viva projected them as a club, it doesnt hold so much good will among the public. Kozhikode is still one of those cities in Kerala which will draw a decent crowd for good football matches and the problem was Viva never could get in to the good books of the society.

A football club needs to build a mutual relationship with a society for its survival in India. Football in India is not a game where the whole family throng in the stadium to catch a glimpse of Sachin, Saurav and now joining this list – Sharukh Khan in real. It is not a game that has invaded our living room, it supporters are niche.

I am sure, in kozhikode  if SEPT plays a match, it will draw a decent crowd and the 1st division league matches also witness decent crowd. Viva lacked support in terms of spectators in a football friendly place like kozhikode because of the lack of good will they could create and their pathetic PR record.  The former kerala police team easily could graduate in to the hearts of Keralites, it instilled a sense of pride and with many victories , joy too.

It will be a tad unfair, if i square everything to gloom and doom. Football marks a 30% percent  growth  every year  in India . AFC’s Vision India project is employing a school league in Kerala, which will only help our football, if it materialises and run.

Viva could also join the bandwagon and needs to spot talents when they are young, establish an academy, create some good will and gradually earn a place in the heart of every football lover in kerala.  An academy system will help them in future, i think it is better they develop talent from their neighbourhoods than spending exorbitantly on foreigners, most of whom are average footballers ,who eventually migrate to some other clubs – Goan or Bengali after a season .

I wonder if Viva’s business men owners are to pre-occupied with  business that they hardly give a damn about the club and its functioning.

Now a little bit of marketing :

Join up here for some healthy discussions!

http://groups.google.com/group/all-about-kerala-football