Corporate Social Negligence!

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.

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.