Corporate Social Negligence!

Indian Football Digest on Twitter….

Posted in Football, India, soccer by clash on February 22, 2009

Hoooooraaaaay! Indian Football Digest is now on Twitter as Football News India(fni).

Join the Indian football “evolution” [Indian footy, sigh!] on Twitter : Football News India

https://twitter.com/fni

Steven Dias to MLS

Posted in Football by clash on January 12, 2009

Hey! Now that is the latest twist in Indian Football after a sucessful year under Bob Houghton.

Catch the article here .

Welcome 2009!

Posted in Football, India, Kerala, Santosh Trophy, soccer, sports by clash on January 2, 2009

I am the doom and gloom master around! This time around, i welcome you all to 2009 by presenting some digusting, feel-bad statistics about Kerala football.

In the recently concluded 45th Junior National Football Championship 2008 – 09 for Dr BC Roy Trophy, Kerala was grouped in a cluster which had Haryana, Meghalaya and J&K.  while J&K withdrew from the tournament, let us see what Kerala managed to do  against the other teams.

Meghalya 4 – Kerala 0

Haryana 2  –   Kerala 0

In the dawn of a new year, let us not forget the thrashing we got from Punjab in the Santosh Trophy. They bulldozed us 5-0!

While Indian football cherish 2008 as one of the greatest years in its existence by qualifying for the Asian Cup and Dempo, the only professional club from India reaching the semi-finals of AFC Cup and qaulifying for the AFC champions league, Kerala football is plunging down a funnel of mediocrity, rather is in shambles. Mind you! this is a state which has won the Santosh Trophy 5 times and has come runners-up 7 times.

Anyway, Welcome 2009! I hope, my urge to type down gloom stories will bate in days to come……..

Maradona in India

Posted in Football, India, soccer by clash on December 11, 2008

Indian Express has once again come out with a good article about Bob-Houghton’s comment on Maradona’s visit to India. A well balanced opinion, which you might find difficult to oppose.

Enjoy the article here :  The beautiful sight

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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Shock!

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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.


Bullish,Bull-shit Bolton and other news…

Posted in Arsenal, English Premier League, Football, India, Kerala, soccer, sports by clash on September 22, 2008

Arsenal played Bolton this Saturday, as always this trip was a tough one. Now, no one can argue that Arsenal cant withstand the physicality of the game. Dynamo Kiev and Bolton in a stretch proved that. Through their direct football Bolton was the first one to score and they did that through Kevin Davies – the biggest dick head in the Bolton team. Later on in the game he took crunching lunge at Clichy which kept the player out of the game for the rest of the match, such a dick is kevin.

The team responded very well after going down, they constantly harried Bolton with series of attacks which saw Adebayor and Song hitting the post. The goal had to come and it did through and unusual source – Eboue. he did put up a good performance on the right hand side. Some notable performers are Bendtner, Denilson, Song, Eboue and Almunia. On the whole the team did put up a good show.

The only glitch being the inability of the team in defending set pieces and sorts through which Bolton were trying to score a goal. I hope the team starts working on this as teams might identify this as a weakens of ours and will start exploiting this. On the whole, it was a good performance and it takes us to the top of the league. I know at this point, it doesnt make much of sense, still you know it is the TOP.

Now on to football here in India. Though i track almost all the news that emerge about Indian Football, i cant make statements about football in Goa, Bengal, North East and the other parts of India. Then i am left out with Kerala and this time around the Kerala Football Association with the help of AFC is trying to re-structure the club league in kerala. The format being adopted is a “home and away” system in which 2 cities will be hosting the matches. From the outset it does look like a good idea to have such a system but for the clubs who still work on shoe-string budgets, can they thrive in such a situation? I am not too sure. I can only hope that AFC does study the reality and help Kerala to bounce back!! Now that Meghalaya defeated us 1-0 in the 31st Sub Junior National Football Championships for the Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy in Mahilpur.

AFC Challenge Cup ’08 is India’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kozhikode is planning for an International Football Tournament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Withstanding the stories of neglect, Indian Football rallies on…

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Picutre Courtesy : Reuters

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

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