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.

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.