Corporate Social Negligence!

The Copa Delight

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on July 18, 2011

When it comes to international football, i have no confusions regarding where my allegiance stand. I was only six when a Diego shook the footballing world with his skills and won the world cup. From that day onwards, i am through and through Argentina.

So, on Saturday night i was all geared up for the Argentina – Uruguay quarter final. I waited till 2.45 am in the morning and suddenly pushing all my plans to a dark hell hole, the power went off. I waited for some time for the power to return but it did not. Eventually, i thought i will continue the wait on my bed; the next thing i saw was the morning break. In short i missed the match.

The next morning, the first thing i checked was the results. It was not heartening to read that my favorite team had crashed out of the championship. The next wish obviously was that, i wanted Paraguay to rip Brasil apart. I knew it was tough call.

The next day i planned to watch the Brazil – Paraguay match. I felt the need for some rest before the match and hit the bed. Needless to say, i was in to a slumber soon. Then suddenly, i got up in the middle of my sleep to see that the time was 2.30 am. With reluctance, i switched on the TV to see that the match was poised at 0-0 in the extra time.

With Julio Cesar guarding the goal for Brazil, i felt Paraguay had no chance in the penalty shoot out. On to the penalties, Brazil missed a slew of kicks and one was stopped by the Paraguayan goal keeper. When did Brazilians become so bad at penalty kicks?

Anyway, for me, it was a sweet night. For all their swagger and success, i never liked Brazil.

Copa America is not all about Argentina and Brazil.  The South American continent as such is a football crazy one. Few aspects that unraveled during the latest Copa America is :

  • Stars essentially wont win you anything. If the team is not able to utilize the supreme talent of your players, then it is of no use.
  • Uruguay is progressing well under Oscar Tabarez. We all sat up and took notice of the Uruguayan team at the South African World Cup. They seem to be building up on that semi final appearance. Talking of Uruguay, check this brilliant article from Jonathan Wilson in Observer.
  • Evo Morales seems to play a lot of football and won a tiff with FIFA regarding La Paz as a playable ground or not. Not much of progress in reality though.  Bolivia crashed out after some pathetic displays.  Marco Antonio Etcheverry Vargas was one of my favorite footballers once.
  • Hugo Chavez is not a football fella. He is more of the baseball type. But that has not stopped Venezuela from performing well. They seem to be on a dream run in this tournament. My favorite player is this Venezuelan team is Maldonado. Whatay name!

More to follow as the championship progress.  Now that Argentina has crashed out, i seriously hope Uruguay wins this competition.

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 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.

man-city aftermath.

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on September 14, 2009

before i start off, let me explain. Every season i go in with lot of optimism but  i try to keep myself grounded always. When i say grounded, i mean i never expected us to win the league in any of the past 3 seasons. The same was for this season too. neither do i bleat about not winning anything for such a long while now. i am a content arsenal supporter, i would say.  I always felt, wenger managed the best with what is at his disposal and i still feel the same.

but the agony that strikes you as an immediate aftermath of the match, this time around after the man-city match i felt a bit too uneasy. you know why? i felt it was a very easily given up match and which exposed our lack of quality in certain positions. We went about playing the first 20 mins so light and easy and i did not see that urge and seriousness with which we should have gone in to this kind of a much hyped-up match with our so called 4-th position contenders. before the match there was enough taunt from Adebayor to get inspired from, whereas i found nothing of that solidarity or urge with the team to give adebayor and in general team’s critics a footballistic answer.

instead we went in to the match easy and nice, conceded the first goal, looked as puzzled as ever with that and then went on to concede a few more. Great!

Almunia was terrible at his attempt (or no attempt) to save the first goal and i think that seriously made the difference. I have never been all-through critic of any arsenal player as of now, but this time i felt utterly disgusted seeing that piece of goal keeping. then comes clichy with his errors, it is so funny to see one of the best defenders in the league switching himself off during a vital match and playing as if he has never played competitive footy in his life. Yes, one off day, the 1st match where he did not get his boot right, everything all right, but 3 costly errors and 3 goals? that is terribly dismal for player of his caliber. c’mon  gael, you can do better.

there is nothing much to talk about this match, the only positive i see from the match is the return of rosicky who took some deft touches, passes and scored a well taken goal too. stay fit mate, you are badly needed. Diaby et al needs no mention here so i am not going to take pain and type something about them with my rickety key-board.

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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!

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

Short update on the situation…

Posted in Arsenal, English Premier League, Football, India, soccer, sports by clash on November 13, 2008

And the situation is like… Arsenal have won their match against Manure, i was watching the match with some friends and Arsenal fans in a sports bar where Man U cuntos easily outnumbered us. It was like any paan-waalah or chaat-waalah is a Manure fan and all of them turned up in the sports bar without even knowing the names of the players. Everyone did know Cristiano Ronaldo but that quite sums the support base of Manure in India.

Manure did play quite well but their “bully in the school textbook” look alike forward Rooney missed some sitters and adding to their woes were dismal performances from Berbatov and Ronaldo. Arsenal took their chances and an unlikely hero stepped up to the situation. None other than Samir Nasri, the new comer in to squad scored 2 goals.

This is not an answer for all the dismal performances the team till now but this is definitely a confidence booster and a gentle reminder for the players, so that they believe in their capabilities and move on.

Then in the Carling Cup an Arsenal team with an average age of 19 outplayed a full strength Wigan Athletic. I could not watch the match as the broadband connection i have applied for seems to be taking eons in getting processed. Chelsea assistant coach had a very nasty jibe over Arsenal when he told that we play youngsters and undermine the importance of Carling Cup. It was indeed a pleasure to know that they are out of the competition even after playing a full strength squad. Dont forget that included “coin-thrower” and ‘compulsive diver” Drogba!

Birthday wishes to an unrelenting hero !

Posted in Football, politics, soccer, sports by clash on October 30, 2008

Courtesy - Google Images

Courtesy - Google Images

Today Maradona turns 48 and he never ceases to stun you. Be it on the field or off it, he is an enigma. His flicks and feigns stunned players world over, his affiliations with controversial and enigmatic leaders strengthened his rebel image, his addictions took him to the verge of death. Still he moves on… the latest buzz is that he is going to be appointed as the manager of Argentinian football team.

Here in India after the 1986 World Cup in which he captianed Argentina , some even stopped playing and watching local football. They were so bemused about the kind of skill and prowess with which he handled  football that some here thought that they were not even good enough to kick a football.

He is a real footballing hero that i have always looked up to….. relish some of his exploits here in this video- a short one, when he led a nondescript Italian club; Napoli to their zenith.

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.