Corporate Social Negligence!

India vs UAE – a short preview

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on July 23, 2011

Tonight India take on UAE at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium in UAE.  The first competitive match after Armando Colaco was appointed as the manager of the national team.

Going in on a high after beating Qatar in a friendly, there is a renewed sense of optimism among players and supporters.  But as P.K.Banerjee pointed out, the UAE match could be a different ball game all together.

Then again, if we are to beat UAE, this is not the first time around.  Jules Alberto who slotted in the solitary goal that won us the match in 2001, reminiscences here, how special that goal will be for him. He goes on to say,

But football on the field is not about rankings and big names. It’s all about who plays better on the day. It was a great team effort which helped us achieve the victory. The midfield pressed well; I.M. (Vijayan) and Bhaichung shouldered extra responsibility — both falling back to help the defence. We played the waiting game to perfection. Coach Sukhwinder Singh had planned everything.

True, it is not all about rankings and reputation. Let us hope, Armando has done his home work thoroughly and sets up a team that could stifle the higher ranked UAE team.

If you wish to extend your support to the Indian football team, the least you can do is to turn on Tenaction+, tonight 9.30pm and add to the TRP ratings, so that more and more national football matches are shown on tele.

Now on to some advertising. If you dint know, the former Argentinian international Ariel Ortega was a transfer target for Dempo sports club and the real reason for India to withdraw from the 1950 football World Cup was not because they were not allowed to play barefoot but no one in India thought it was worthy enough to attend a World Cup, then you ought to subscribe and enjoy,  Football News India  and follow the same on twitter @ fni

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.

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.

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.

Kerala Volleyball League (KVL)

Posted in India, Kerala, Kozhikkode, sports by clash on November 18, 2009

Kerala Volleyball League (KVL) is here.

The advert is a decent one with pathetic  music. Inspite of all these, kudos goes to Volleyball association of kerala. At least they are striving to make something happen and that clearly is a different path, compared to their other counterparts.

Mamooty obviously adds to the glamor quotient.  Now, if he is what the game really lacked, then let him be there. I don’t really care.

I read about the format in which it is going to appear. 9 days, 16 matches and live telecast, that doesn’t sound bad at all.  It is happening in Kozhikode means, crowd is a sure bet for a match held under flood lights.  So the organizers don’t really have to bother about that.  Probably some more intense campaign through the FM Radios  that litter the air space with all kind of tosh at the moment in Kerala will help.

Anyway i am eagerly waiting for KVL to happen. There is a lot of potential to be tapped in sports other than cricket. If it is packaged well, i am sure it will happen. Fingers crossed!!

To cater to market demands, Indian international volleyballers like Kishore Kumar has changed their looks, which they think will attract more youngsters to this game.

He says ;  “We have to package ourselves better. Everybody is excited about the new league, suddenly all the players are charged up. And since actor Mammootty is the league’s brand ambassador, we will have big crowds since he has thousands of fans in Kozhikode and Malappuram.”

The game also has it fans!

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.

Stupid hacks and India’s bid for 2016 Olympics

Posted in China, CNN-IBN, Delhi, dream, Football, India, Indian Football, Kerala, Kozhikkode, Newspaper, politics, soccer, sports by clash on October 4, 2009

I seriously cant weigh up my sense of frustration every other time i watch Sekhar Gupta, Swapandas Gupta, Chandan Mitra and of course maudlin Barkha Dutt and their counterparts appear on screen, giving their opinions on various issues. Off-late, i have felt that these hacks and their visual media counter parts hijack any issue of national interest in their favor and of course a lot people who watch these shows, take them and their opinions for granted.

Mind you, all these buggers have an agenda and they are very committed to their cause.  When i saw Abhinav Bindra, the sole gold medal winner for our country in Olympics and Sekhar Gupta, Chandan Mitra and Abhishek  Singhvi sitting together and debating in NDTV about our supposed Olympics bid for 2016, i was quite interested to see, what these hacks were blathering.  And in no sense they failed to arrest the ever increasing disgust in me towards them. The so called audience for the debate was also pathetic, mostly for all the debates, that is the case of  “audience”.

While Abhinav Bindra , as any other sensible sports person in India made very good sense when he argued that we need to invest those millions which would go in to the construction of  world class stadiums, arenas, fly-overs and airports in to our sports system to better it and create a system which is well-working and raise the standard for our sports from grassroots level.

The sole politician who appeared on the show, went up in arms against him saying that bidding for Olympics and creating a good atmosphere for the promotion of sports is not mutually exclusive.  Yeah, not mutually exclusive! But for the past 60 years or so, the sports policy in the nation has not been inclusive at all. Everyone knows that  and how badly we had to play up our sole gold medal winning performance in Olympics to cater to our inflated egos.

The hacks went a bit further in their arguments, they said we should bid for Olympics, you know why?  Yeah, we will have good roads, fly-overs, airports and stadiums that will come up.  I wonder if Olympics is all about sports or about wonderful stadiums, arenas, over head metro railway lines or an airport.

Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra were very lucid about their opinions. It doesn’t matter, if we will be able to get more than a gold medal or not, but the bid should go ahead because it will make way for good “infrastructure”. Yeah, these hacks will be vying couple of adverts from these construction magnets .

Isn’t “infrastructure” a very fond of word for these kinds who appear on TV? Yes, it is important, but are we looking at making over-head railway lines that are made on war-footing negligence that buckle and kill several or are we looking at infrastructure that is part of some sensible development pattern?

It is very clear these hacks and their hidden agendas prefer the former way.   They prefer it because, contracts are made with their buddies in the industry who will provide these hacks with adverts which will pump up their profits and of course death due to the negligence/corruption is another opportunity to increase their media share, isn’t it?  To an extent these days,  some of these hacks are terribly subservient to contractors and the filthy rich who after all help their survival.

Anyway, it was very interesting and eye opening to see Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra making their priorities very clear by vying for the contractors. They hardly seem to be bothered about the condition of sports in India. They attributed its pathetic state to the inefficient sporting bodies. Yeah, very easy. It is an easy excuse they make in our country and with that argument they can completely forget about sports and  channel their  interest towards bids for Olympics  and sorts, because they know, if at all Olympics come to India, they can make a meal out of it, even if we win medals or not.

Abhinav Bindra is not a very assertive person, he along with another journalist made their point, that we need to pep up our system so that we can have a decent show if at all we are to hold such an event.  ( Or he couldn’t be assertive with the likes of  Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra, who are conditioned “debate masters” around) He looked like, he wanted to scoot from there as soon as possible.

These hacks who continually appear on our prime time television is the biggest hazard to our integrity and sane opinions that we carry around . They are able to form opinions that is being rallied around by idiotic masses who follow them. They are able to neatly spin our sensibilities so that it conform their hidden agenda, as in this case, Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra tried to bat for the contractors and infrastructure industry.

The audience seemed to have completely immersed in the idea of Olympics happening in their city, their dreams of 8-lane roads in which their cars might zoom without incurring dents and scratches, snazzy airports and some even went up to the extent of asking, if we will be making a lion’s den as China made bird’s nest. Ha, i don’t think i need to say anything more.

We sadly forget the plight of innumerable youngsters who take to sports out of their willingness and some out of necessity (It can earn them a govt job!) We as a nation needs more respect towards these youngsters who are trying to cut a career in streams that are not at all lucrative in our nation. If we have that respect, what we should do is to cater to their interest, help them to achieve more, an Olympic bid is not the right way.