Corporate Social Negligence!

The Copa Delight

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on July 18, 2011

When it comes to international football, i have no confusions regarding where my allegiance stand. I was only six when a Diego shook the footballing world with his skills and won the world cup. From that day onwards, i am through and through Argentina.

So, on Saturday night i was all geared up for the Argentina – Uruguay quarter final. I waited till 2.45 am in the morning and suddenly pushing all my plans to a dark hell hole, the power went off. I waited for some time for the power to return but it did not. Eventually, i thought i will continue the wait on my bed; the next thing i saw was the morning break. In short i missed the match.

The next morning, the first thing i checked was the results. It was not heartening to read that my favorite team had crashed out of the championship. The next wish obviously was that, i wanted Paraguay to rip Brasil apart. I knew it was tough call.

The next day i planned to watch the Brazil – Paraguay match. I felt the need for some rest before the match and hit the bed. Needless to say, i was in to a slumber soon. Then suddenly, i got up in the middle of my sleep to see that the time was 2.30 am. With reluctance, i switched on the TV to see that the match was poised at 0-0 in the extra time.

With Julio Cesar guarding the goal for Brazil, i felt Paraguay had no chance in the penalty shoot out. On to the penalties, Brazil missed a slew of kicks and one was stopped by the Paraguayan goal keeper. When did Brazilians become so bad at penalty kicks?

Anyway, for me, it was a sweet night. For all their swagger and success, i never liked Brazil.

Copa America is not all about Argentina and Brazil.  The South American continent as such is a football crazy one. Few aspects that unraveled during the latest Copa America is :

  • Stars essentially wont win you anything. If the team is not able to utilize the supreme talent of your players, then it is of no use.
  • Uruguay is progressing well under Oscar Tabarez. We all sat up and took notice of the Uruguayan team at the South African World Cup. They seem to be building up on that semi final appearance. Talking of Uruguay, check this brilliant article from Jonathan Wilson in Observer.
  • Evo Morales seems to play a lot of football and won a tiff with FIFA regarding La Paz as a playable ground or not. Not much of progress in reality though.  Bolivia crashed out after some pathetic displays.  Marco Antonio Etcheverry Vargas was one of my favorite footballers once.
  • Hugo Chavez is not a football fella. He is more of the baseball type. But that has not stopped Venezuela from performing well. They seem to be on a dream run in this tournament. My favorite player is this Venezuelan team is Maldonado. Whatay name!

More to follow as the championship progress.  Now that Argentina has crashed out, i seriously hope Uruguay wins this competition.

Colaco’s Challenge!

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on June 27, 2011

Indian U-23 football team’s journey in the Olympic qualifiers has come to an end. The two legs against Qatar got over with the home leg ending in a 1-1 stalemate. The attention now shifts towards the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against UAE in the month of July.

Many experienced heads from  Bob Houghton’s team are missing this time around. By selecting a new set of players mainly based on their performances in the recently concluded i-league shows that Colaco is eager to tread a new path. But what lies ahead of him?

Bob’s reign in India football was a remarkable one. He managed to get us to Asian cup after a gap of nearly three decades. On various occasions, players have come out in open and said that he instilled a self belief in them which escaped Indian football team for a long time.

In Asian Cup, the Indian team gave their best shot in the tournament. They played to a plan, maintained a sort of discipline which eluded our national team for ages. Most importantly, they did not play in a damage limitation mode; they played what ever they could.

When it comes to the style of play, the opinions seems to vary.  The long ball tactics that Bob brought along is standing as a challenge in front of Colaco.  During the 5 years of his tenure,  Houghton recommended some of his friends to AIFF and they came at the helm of the youth set up. Desmond Bulpin is one among them and his style is not too different from what Bob espoused.

To an extent, playing Abhsihek Yadav as the target man in Asian Cup worked for Houghton.  Then we saw Bulpin’s U-23 team pinging balls to a pint sized Jeje and Sabeeth and we knew there is something fundamentally wrong.

Eight members from the Indian U-23 team will be joining Colaco’s camp to prepare for the world cup qualifiers. They will have to adjust to a new system under Colaco, as his style is more about passing.

The matches against Qatar revealed that our youngsters struggled to keep possession and were not comfortable having the ball with them. They like the speculative hoof to the other half of the field than keeping the ball and passing it around.

Are our players  technical gifted to play a passing game is also a question.  Much of the current youngsters developed under various English coaches, and you know what the English game is all about.

Colaco will have to embark a journey, a process of unlearning with these youngsters and that will be his main challenge. His selection of Dempo players for the camp would make it easier for the rest to get a grip of his style, but it is surely going to take time.

Transition from one style to another could be arduous and tricky. Though everyone is clamoring for the “Barca style” to be adopted, they are forgetting unlearning could be tougher than learning. The real factor in this transition would be “time”. Hopefully Armando Colaco gets enough time.

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.

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.

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

India 1 – 0 Nepal, SAFF Cup.

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on December 8, 2009

The ESPN pundits Shabby Singh (heh!) and Massa wielded mic for this match which was shown live on ESPN yesterday. While Shabby is outright abominable when it comes to his opinions and of course his allegiance – Sp*rs supporter, i have never bothered to listen to Paul Masefield (massa!!), he is just another football pundit.

Yet again, i missed the first half of the match and India had already scored 1 goal. Or, it was an own goal sorts, which had been attributed to an Indian player. Jeevan Singh, i feel.

The second half was all about the half hearted attempts of the Nepali team to level the score, which  never happened.  They tried to string a lot of passes on the ground, which hardly caused any trouble for the Indian team. They hardly could muster their way up the  field. Occasionally they managed to create some chances but the Indian goal was well guarded by the young Indian goal keeper, Arindam.

Nepal was below average, with some players putting in decent performances. Anil Gurung, the Lajon FC striker could create some problems but was not clinical enough to score.  I concede that Anil is the only player i am aware of ,by name in the Nepal squad. There were few others also who had a decent second half.

While the Indian team’s approach to the game was quite good. They were comfortable in playing a high line, pushing the Nepali team in to their own half.  We were happy to hang on to the single goal lead, as the Nepali team never could create pressure situations in the Indian goal front.

While i am not still convinced by the Indian forward line consisting of Balwant and Sushil, i am quite impressed by the defensive performance yesterday.  The defense lived up to their size, they were dominating and the Nepali players found it difficult to deal with the situation.  There were occasional glitches, but all attempts were thwarted by some superb goal keeping by Arindam.  On the whole, i feel this Indian team is a good defensive unit.

Notable players who put in decent performances are Robert Lalthalma, who is a composed presence in the defensive line.  Rowilson Rodrigues, as his partners in the defense had a good match.  While in the second half the midfield did not put up a spirited offensive performance, they were influential in guarding the lead against Nepal.

While Balwant harried quite a lot before getting substituted, Sushil  put in a yet another scrappy, unconvincing display. I just dont like Sushil’s game and he has not proven me wrong in both these matches. Je je after coming in for Balwant had couple of chances which could have been buried, but his lack of experience showed. In coming days, he will be a terrific asset for our national team.  The other two substitutes Subodh Kumar and Sheikh Jewel Raja were average, i felt.

This was definitely a better performance than the earlier outing in SAFF cup against Afghanistan. We played better as a team and were committed to the cause.  It can only get better. Scoring is still a concern, with the established forwards not firing, we will have to wait and see what Sukhwinder is planning to end the drought of goals. So, to the semis of SAFF cup with an u-23 team. Not bad.

India – Afghanistan : SAFF CUP

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on December 5, 2009

India 1 – 0 Afghsnistan (Goal – Je Je)

I have a feeling that the number of premier league matches aired in India has been cut down by ESPN-STAR. Anyway i am not going to complain too much as i was treated with SAFF CUP on Star Sports today evening. A power outage means, i missed the first half of the India – Afghanistan match.

The indian senior coach Bob-Houghton had convinced the authorities that India should sent in a young team for SAFF cup this time around. So, a Sukhwinder managed, essentially u-23 players are representing India at Dhaka.

From what i listened to the commentators, i felt the first half was way poor from India. Good, i missed it. The second half was also not that promising in terms of standard and play making. The second half started with some good offensive play by the Indians but were occasionally treated to Afghani counter attacks.

Afghanistan managed to create a few chances, some were not taken well, while one was saved by the Indian goal keeper Arindam quite gracefully.

Coming to India’s display, it was quite patchy. The players are young, probably they are at such an awe that,  a responsibility of bringing back the SAFF cup is entitled on them.  Maldives are the defending champions.

I liked Robert Lalthalma’s over all game, i felt the  Churchill youngster had a good half.  The centre halves also had a decent game. While among the midfielders Manish stood out with some good tackles especially in the dying minutes of the match. Abranches on the right hand side had a good game.

I have never liked Sushil Kumar, the captian-striker, and he did nothing special in that 45 minutes, for me to change my perception about him. Where as the Pune FC striker Je Je who came on as substitute was a revelation for me. The stocky 18 year old did make the maximum out of the chance that was given to him by scoring the solitary goal of the match which earned us valuable 3 points. Some to keep an eye on, in the future for sure! Je Je! Yay!

There are few positives to take away from this match. Some players are looking good, a little bit of tweaking would provide results, i feel. The team will have to play more as a cohesive unit against teams like Nepal and Maldives. This is the first outing for our youngsters in the SAFF cup, they can  only improve upon their performances. So let us hope for the best.

interesting stats over there in bloomberg.com

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on November 16, 2009

Tom petty’s Mary Jane’s Last Dance playing.

its moving fast, a techni-color fast forward.

tiring and mundane is work.. as usual,it cant get any more worse.

reading a Tariq Ali book, Pirates of the Caribbean…had taken a break from reading this, when i caught up with a recent malayalam novel – Francis Itty Cora.  A novel with a refreshing format, it is a classic in its right, i feel.

oh… then today.. as usual through g-reader i stumbled upon..

“Prem Kumar’s demand for higher pay and better food at the cafeteria at the auto-parts factory where he works near New Delhi forced General Motors Co.Ford Motor Co. to shut three plants on the other side of the world. and Ford Motor Co. to shut three plants on the other side of the world.”

that more or less speaks for IndiaInc.

the article says, while there was a 9% increase in food prices , the overall wages rose only by 0.8 percent.

and that answers why human resource officials in 2 companies were mauled and killed by the workers.

and that also explains why 1.5 million workers were involved in 250 strikes in 2008 , all across the nation in the manufacturing front.

there are some comparisons with china, as the norm always is….. they had a 9.9 percent wage growth.. in 2008.

A willing workforce the Chinese are, aint they?  now it seems in orissa and Jharkand Chinese are the ones who are constructing steel factories… 10,000 and more are flocking to eat up all our jobs…

anyways enjoy the read…..

India Food Strike, Fatal Riots Hobble Push to Export Auto Parts

another interesting thing i came across is that, now French football is vying for that lucrative Indian market pie. After Bayern set up a farewell match for Oliver Khan in front of more than 1 lakh crowd at Kolkota and then Maradona’s visit to the city, it  looks like every country which has a decent league is interested in marketing their football in kolkota/India. It seems a Bangalore based firm is in talks with french football authorities about the possibility of  a collaboration and eventually a long term partnership.

Interesting names are being bandied around – Zidane and Aimé Jacquet. While Zidane could help the glamor side of football, it would be nice if Aimé Jacquet  could give some tips to our authorities about football development. He coached French football team to a world cup victory in 1998 and his influence on French football and his ideas which helped french football is best explained here by amy lawrence in guardian. anyway let me not jump the gun.

man-city aftermath.

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on September 14, 2009

before i start off, let me explain. Every season i go in with lot of optimism but  i try to keep myself grounded always. When i say grounded, i mean i never expected us to win the league in any of the past 3 seasons. The same was for this season too. neither do i bleat about not winning anything for such a long while now. i am a content arsenal supporter, i would say.  I always felt, wenger managed the best with what is at his disposal and i still feel the same.

but the agony that strikes you as an immediate aftermath of the match, this time around after the man-city match i felt a bit too uneasy. you know why? i felt it was a very easily given up match and which exposed our lack of quality in certain positions. We went about playing the first 20 mins so light and easy and i did not see that urge and seriousness with which we should have gone in to this kind of a much hyped-up match with our so called 4-th position contenders. before the match there was enough taunt from Adebayor to get inspired from, whereas i found nothing of that solidarity or urge with the team to give adebayor and in general team’s critics a footballistic answer.

instead we went in to the match easy and nice, conceded the first goal, looked as puzzled as ever with that and then went on to concede a few more. Great!

Almunia was terrible at his attempt (or no attempt) to save the first goal and i think that seriously made the difference. I have never been all-through critic of any arsenal player as of now, but this time i felt utterly disgusted seeing that piece of goal keeping. then comes clichy with his errors, it is so funny to see one of the best defenders in the league switching himself off during a vital match and playing as if he has never played competitive footy in his life. Yes, one off day, the 1st match where he did not get his boot right, everything all right, but 3 costly errors and 3 goals? that is terribly dismal for player of his caliber. c’mon  gael, you can do better.

there is nothing much to talk about this match, the only positive i see from the match is the return of rosicky who took some deft touches, passes and scored a well taken goal too. stay fit mate, you are badly needed. Diaby et al needs no mention here so i am not going to take pain and type something about them with my rickety key-board.

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