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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!

AIFF plans to buy out star players!

Posted in Football, India, soccer, sports by clash on March 9, 2009
clipped from

New Delhi: In what is an unprecedented move, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is set to embark on an ambitious plan to select 25 star players, who will be asked not to sign for any club in the next two seasons. The target is for them to play exclusively for the national team until the Doha Asia Cup in January 2011.

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This is not a surprise, indeed Bob-Houghton has been rooting for this for quite a while. Apart from being a wily coach, Bob knows the importance of excelling in International arenas, which will raise the profile of Indian Football.

He knows things might change for change for good, if the national team can earn a world cup berth or have good run in some Asian competition. It is a mighty “might”, still it is worth a try.

Then again, it is AIFF. The ever bleating clubs will be at it again, it will be a tantamount effort from AIFF, if at all this materialize. On one hand, it will be nice to have dedicated national team for football who doesn’t play club football but on the other, should’nt we think we are hampering the careers of young footballers without allowing them to play club football?

Everything has a leeway, if things are ought to be managed sensibly, after-all 2 seasons is the time span quoted and that is not bad. I am not brimming with optimism, as the lessons from history doesn’t allow me to do so. The amount of money involved in such an adventure is massive and it should be a fool proof idea, to pull it off. Will the incompetent AIFF turn the corners this time around?

Wait and Watch!

Mumbai F.C – The new kid on the block; the story so far…

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

Mumbai F.C is a relatively new club that is setting the i-league on fire. Afinishing their first 3 games, they have defeated the power houses in Indian Football. During this rampage they ran over Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mahindra United; the 3 top clubs in i-league.

Here is their story so far….

An overview of the 2nd edition of i-league so far.

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Kalia Kulothongan’s only goal earned Mumbai FC their 3rdwin in the league which took them to the Numero Uno position after 3 matches along with Sporting Club de Goa

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3 cheers to them…

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For a newbie in the National Scene, it was quite stunning!

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Oh.. yeah, of course they are the giant killers now!

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It is not the usual newspapers that are spreading the vibes; here Business Standard goes ga ga about a club supported by Essel group.

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3 straight wins against 3 big shots is no easy task !

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One among the 3 big shots: East Bengal, no mean feat!

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Team spirit is an undeniable quality that every winning team possess and Mumbai FC are not short of it in any terms!

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Bimal Ghosh is a man who leads a quiet revolution in Indian Football. There is a team that has hardly dropped off from the national scene but somehow doesn’t generate much news – Air India. This astute man seems to be happy for Mumbai FC

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Mumbai Boys have quiet rocked Kolkota now. The again only 3 matches are over; it is far too early to predict anything. Let me remind you, this is a just an attempt to celebrate the entry of new kid in the block and their current winning streak! But the article is quite rhetoric!

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The man behind the show: David Booth has his legs firmly grounded even after toppling East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

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Yes they did overpower East Bengal!

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The man behind the scene; David Booth wants more of this :

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Very rarely would you find the so called beacons of our society these days; the television news channels, finding time for Indian Football. Now, it seems Mumbai FC has finally caught their attention. Hope they don’t end up conducting candlelight vigils for the Kolkota clubs. Here goes a report from NDTV

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I seriously had a quintal load of hopes on Mohun Bagan this season, but seems like they are faltering big time.

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The man behind the scene David Booth about tactics and sorts :

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Player ratings for the East Bengal match :

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Twins from Malappuram a district in Kerala which has produced a host of Indian internationals are enjoying a good stint with Mumbai FC. They are the right role models for any aspiring football professional from Kerala. Anees and Aseem, who are raking up good ratings for their performances for Mumbai FC have traveled quite a lot, for a footballer in India. From Goa they have hopped to Mumbai, where they seem to have settled in now. Kudos to Hindustan Times for carrying this story.

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Oh.. yeah a rude jolt for Bagan.

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Timely reminder right at the beginning of the league for Karim and his boys.

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Player ratings for the Bagan match:

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Mumbai FC definitely did not turn up to be an easy opponent

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Mumbai outfits hoped to tilt the balance of power. Mumbai FC now seems to have strengthened the feeling a bit more

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Mumbai FC with the support of Essel group has big plans. Stadiums, academy and so on.

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For all the action from I-league and daily new dosage of Indian football book mark this link available here.

I-league is here…

Posted in Football, India, soccer, sports by clash on September 26, 2008

No fanfare.. no stars… hush… hush in the last page of news papers. The National Football league, in its new avatar; I -league is here. This is the second edition of an obscure football league in India where obscure foreign players ply their trade. Brazilians, Africans and such goes the ethnic backgrounds of these players.

Formidable teams test their chances in this league, the kolkotan giants; East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. The Mumbai outfits Mumbai FC and Mahindra United, the Goan contingent that include Dempo, Churchill Brothers and sorts and the sole representation from the North JCT Mills. A SWOT analysis done here weigh up all the teams in this edition of i-league.

With matches conducted over the weekends, I-league expect to increase its viewer ship. Last time for many matches, tickets were not issued;such was the turn out, hardly hundreds. With Barclays premier league thronging itself forcefully in to our drawing room, it is very difficult to predict the success of I-league on weekends. It doesn’t mean that it was any good while it happened during the week days. The league will definitely struggle to garner any viewer ship.

Then again, it has been a wonderful year so far for Indian Football. The AFC Challenge Cup victory against a formidable Tajikistan has been a real morale booster for everyone who follows Indian football and then Dempo’s forced themselves in to the semi-finals of the AFC Cup . Tremendous so far with other notable achievements being the Indian U-16 team’s, who held Manchester United for a draw in the UK tour. May be this is the i-league to look out for, with Dempo being my favorites to win it.

Moving on to the regular news updates, you can bookmark this Indian Football Digest here. It will carry match reports, scores and other developments that is happening in Indian Football.

Name leaves you without sponsorship.. in Indian Football

Posted in Football, India, politics, soccer, sports by clash on July 12, 2008

Mohammedan Sporting Club, founded in 1892 has a long lineage in Indian Football. The team, which has been promoted to next i-league; failed to gather sponsorship for the coming season. It seems they had approached Vivel  ITC, but the deal did not materialize. Why? The name it seems is a freaking stumbling block! “Mohammedan”.

Terrified, is what i am, to see such a news. The company promotes its biscuits and cookies using a bollywood Muslim but cant provide sponsorship to Mohammedan Sporting Club because the team name might look like ITC Mohammedan Sporting Club. That will that be the case with any other names too , right? … if it was Vodafone, it would have been Vodafone Mohammedan Sporting Club, which sounds even sillier than the other.

How about Infosys Mohammedan Sporting Club? There are some inherent problems with our corporates; In his book; The Age of Kali, William Dalrymple remembers his trip to infosys office in Bangalore and gives a very queer name to the employees of Infosys – The Brahminical Computer Boffins, a thinly veiled assault on Infosys and a very valid truth. I don’t claim that there are no other castes working in Infosys or there is a class hierarchy working there , somehow i always felt that the company brandishes a Brahminical arrogance. And this very arrogance is characterized in various other organizations  in various degrees.  For a club like Mohammedans, they will struggle to attract sponsorship.

We have heard about Madhavi Kapoor; who wanted to sell her flat in Pune and found that her efforts were being thwarted because her buyer was a Muslim. Now, we hear Mohammedan Sporting Club is being denied sponsorship, these two instances are  manifestations of some notions inherent in our society. For me, it is an eye opener to the sense of intolerance that is prevalent in our society. Infact, i will be extremely happy, if a corporate comes and backs Mohammedan Sporting and i wish such a thing happen,s to squash my extreme cynicism.

Not that i am trying to be yet another god man, i was proved wrong when i made a  dubious  prediction  in my  Caste/Communal blog about Kerala last time around.

For a good cry; check out this Indian Football news digest. (Get all your hot.. hot news about Indian football here!)


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 :

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