Corporate Social Negligence!

I-League 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Where are the playgrounds?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most cynical preamble for WC 2010


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

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

Here is what we have managed so far.

score card courtesy : the-aiff.com

score card courtesy : the-aiff.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Memories would remain memories, it looks like.

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

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

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

My bets for this world cup  :

1. Argentina (Eternal favorites!)

2.Netherlands (Van Persie, Top Scorer)

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

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

And that is it. Enjoy the footballing month ahead.

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”.
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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.

Status Update – July 09!

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on July 21, 2009

The Arjuna and Khel Ratna Awards have been announced and there is a not-s0-new absence of footballers in the list. It doesn’t matter if they have won AFC challenge Cup last year. I suppose nothing matters in India if it is football.

Mind you we have a Sports Minister who likes to belt speeches about the game of the masses that is football and what not.  He did not spare an opportunity the last time around to take a dig at our footballers too.

It seems only our former India captain Syed Nayeemuddin spoke in favor of the footballers in the committee that decided the awards. The rest  i suppose didnt even know that football is being played in India.

How will golf playing bureaucrats know about footballers? I have not yet picked the number of golfers in the awards list. I am sure there will be couple of them there and how many in India play golf and how many play football?

Oh.. that is it about the neglect and what not about football in India.  Nonetheless because of Bob-Houghton’s obstinacy the team is training their asses off in Camp Nou. Let us have some hope and belief that, upon returning they will give us some jaw-dropping results.

The other news is that Adebayooor has been signed by Manchester City.  The lure of money is much more than what i expected it to be. There was no big clubs lining up behind him this summer. I think Man City was the only option before him.  Anyway he is gone. I was a closet Adebayoor fan. There is no point thinking about him anymore.

Now it looks like, after the black-hole that is Real Madrid in La Liga,  The Abu Dhabi powered Man City is turning out to be the one in Premier League.  They seem to be sucking in everything that comes by. Hmpf!

Monsieur Wenger has re-iterated his share of cynicism that football will soon be hit by recession.  If my memory is precise, he uttered the same concern last time around when the team went for pre-season at Barnet. May be all those not-so-plush surroundings at barnet gives the manager a reality jolt. Then again, it is an “ok” way to placate the ever grumbling Arsenal fans.

Pundits and cynics have already made up their mind that Man City will be skinning Arsenal to steal a place in the top 4. With all due respect to the players who have signed for them, i really dont think they will pose a threat to the top 4. If at all someone challenges the top 4 spot it will be the hard working Everton and Aston Villa. Villa doesnt have the adequate  squad to pose a sustained challenge, although i have not paid any attention towards their recruits, this summer. Have they recruited anyone? I wonder.  I presume a big disaster is awaiting Mark Hughes and that will be an imploding Man City. Let the show begin!

Update : Samir Nasri is out of action for 3 months as he breaks his leg during training.

So thats it for now!

AIFF plans to buy out star players!

Posted in Football, India, soccer, sports by clash on March 9, 2009
clipped from www.telegraphindia.com

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.

blog it

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!