The Football Players Association of India (FPAI) bring out a printed newsletter for players and clubs. As I think many of you haven't had the chance to go through it, here is the August 2010 edition which was launched on the sidelines of the FPAI 2010 awards. Read and enjoy!
PRESIDENT’S NOTE - Baichung Bhutia
Right at the outset, before starting off, I would like to congratulate Deepak Mondal for receiving the Arjuna Award this year. It was necessary for a footballer to win the prestigious award this year. He has contributed a lot to Indian football and served the country for long. One can say he has become an integral part of the team and a pillar in its successes. Similarly he has been closely associated with our setup and is instrumental in its growth and development. He has been there ever since the inception of Football Players Association of India and has provided us with his valuable inputs.
I am sure most of my fellow footballers have come out of there well deserved break and have gotten down to the business of pre-season training. A big season lies ahead for us all. The national team footballers are of course busy with their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup in Portugal.
We are also nearing our annual award ceremony where we would recognize and duly acknowledge the efforts made by Indian footballers and coaches. Lucozade has come forward with great interest to partner us and become the title sponsor. This Award ceremony would be held on the 12th of September in New Delhi. Hopefully this year will be as successful as last year.
I would like to end by wishing all footballers the very best for the upcoming season!
Team Atmosphere, Happiness and Coaching Success - Armando Colaco
Q : What do you attribute to Dempo’s success in recent times?
A : There is a lot of unity, warmth and attachment. The seniors look to the juniors,
the juniors look up to the seniors. There is a lot of understanding amongst everybody. This is the reason why everything is going on smoothly, and I’ve kept the team together for so many years.
Q : Dempo was relegated many years ago. What role did you play to see that the club was safe?
A : I joined in the year 2000. I was a Dempo player. I coached them in 1989. And then I joined them in 2000 again when the team was relegated. I spoke to the boys, motivated them and told them that Dempo cannot afford to be in this place, and that we all must work together. Dempo’s success all started from there.
Q :What is the difference in recent years between Dempo now, and Dempo in the past?
A : Dempo were always great in the past, they had a good team, and we all came to Dempo, the best of footballers in Goa came to Dempo. The football which was there earlier is not there now. Now money is playing an important part into this, but nevertheless this team has won beautiful laurels for the club. The players have worked hard. They’ve won the Federation Cup, National Football League twice, I-League twice, Durand Cup, Goa Professional League, Police Cup, and Governor’s Cup. So everything is there for the taking.
Q ; It was a saying earlier that Goan clubs don’t perform outside Goa. Do you think that things have changed in the past 5 years or so?
A : Yes definitely. Earlier, and even now there is a lot of question about pride. There are so many teams from Goa, everybody wants to be on top. We have to spend a lot of money to come out and win something and that’s the reason why Dempo is going great guns winning so many tournaments. But this notion about Goan clubs not performing outside Goa is wrong because Dempo has won so many tournaments outside Goa, like Rover’s Cup, etc.
Q : Tell us about your personal ambitions. Would you consider to coach outside Goa or maybe the Indian team?
A : I’ve still got lots to learn. I’m working as coach cum secretary of Dempo Sports Club. I would love to, if opportunities come my way I would love to give a try, because I want to learn and I’m still a student for the game of football.
Q : Who’s your favourite Indian coach?
A : Some many coaches came, I cannot differentiate. I learnt from Peter Thangaraj, Mr. Basha, I learnt from our own coach Mr. Joseph Ratnam, Danny Mclainan. These are the coaches who thought me the finest points in life, and that’s where I’m going forward with their blessings.
Q : What’s your coaching philosophy?
A : I always make my players happy. If they are happy they give their best. If they are not happy then they won’t give their best. I always like to mix up with them, I don’t treat them like my players and they don’t treat me as a coach. I treat them like my friends. I speak with them, talk with them, dine with them, play with them, fool with them, joke with them, and sing with them. There is a lot of understanding between us and that is the reason why everybody takes me as a friendly coach.
Football Development - Vinay Murgod
Not every day do you come across Academies in football, let alone academies that focus on building character? United Poona Soccer Academy is extra ordinary in more than one ways. The first thing that hits you when you hear about this institution is that it works primarily with underprivileged children. Thus it is our responsibility to highlight such work and provide support to have more of such institutions to develop not only football but character in the country.
United Poona Soccer Academy was set up way back in 1995 and it works with urban and rural slum boys and girls between 5 to 18 yrs old to make them responsible citizens through the medium of football. The UPSA runs football development programs for urban slum, rural poor, destitute and for children with disability.
The UPSA’s football development programs have helped the youth from the urban slum and rural areas to keep away from criminal
activities and adopt healthy habits and peaceful life. The development programs have helped students to get selected and play at the inter school, inter district, inter University, interstate, open state and the district league levels and also earn creditable individual and team awards like receive best player ,best goal keeper and winning team awards at the different levels. UPSA conducts football camps thrice every year and gives away equipment at no cost to the trainees. The camp itself does not cost anything to the selected children. UPSA has started its own football training centre now at Sphurti study centre, 60 kms west of Pune in a rural area where children are trained on weekends in football, personal hygiene and spoken English.
The Football Players Association of India has contributed financially and also by giving moral support and guidance to UPSA. The money received from FPAI has been used to buy goal posts. FPAI also helps us financially to organize football tours to Kolkata and Hyderabad. They helped us has organize Futsal tournaments and friendly matches in Kolkata. The UPSA has also organized interactions between UPSA and professional players from East Bengal and Mohan Bagan.
With the help and support received from FPAI, UPSA has been able to develop the confidence levels, skills, techniques and a balance of these among children while practicing and participating in football competitions. The interaction with Bhaichung Bhutia and Deepak Mondal has helped the students of UPSA to develop strength in their character. The meeting with such high profile footballers has helped many students to take up football as a profession.
We have achieved a lot since our inception. The UPSA under 18 boys team placed in the top four in the PDFA league in the second division of the super league in 2010. The girls under 18 won in the 5-aside football tournament in the city. One of the girls got recruited in the Maharashtra government sports department as a sports officer. The UPSA under 18 team which recently visited Singapore for a Futsal and cultural exchange program where UPSA team beat teams consisting of Chinese, Malaysian and Singapore players in their age group. UPSA girl under 14 years old from UPSA rural girl’s development program was selected to participate in an international coaching clinic in Singapore.
Making India PROUD - Nirmal Chetri
Last season’s performance from East Bengal has earned him a call up for the National Team that will play at the Asian Games in November in China. He has come all the way from Sikkim.He speaks to FPAI with an open heart about his career –
Q : What is your reaction on being called up for the National Squad ?
Nirmal : It is always exciting as well as an honour to be called up to play for your country. Who would not want to don the national colours and fight it out for his country on the field?!
Q : How did you start playing football?
Nirmal : The Govt. of Sikkim had started a football academy in Gangtok’s Paljor Stadium. Sanju Pradhan and I grew up playing there. Air India had come down to Gangtok once to play in the Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup. It was there where we got noticed, while playing against a big team and from there to East Bengal.
Q : What are your hopes of earning Success in the upcoming Asian Games?
Nirmal : The team that is going for the Asiad XVI has played before in the AFC Challengers Cup and everyone is familiar with each other in the team. We are confident of doing well in the Asiad and definitely everyone will give their best. Everyone is charged up to perform for their country and make India proud!
Q : Last season was not that great with East Bengal ?
Nirmal : We were without much success and a lot of injuries last year. But, please do not forget that we had won the Federation Cup amongst other I-League teams. We had started off well in the I-league. We lost matches because of small mistakes and that cost us dear. Winning or losing a match always does not depend on individual performances. We have always given our 100 percent.
Q : What are your comments about FPAI and its work?
Nirmal : Under Bhaichung’s leadership the way the association has moved forward is definitely going to help the future of footballers in India. They can play with a sense of security as they know now they have someone trustworthy to go to with their problems. Personally, I feel that all the footballers should help and support the association as much as possible.
FPAI AWARDS 2009
The FPAI Football Awards showed that there was some glamour in Indian Football. What we witnessed last year was too good to be believed. Starting from the awards to the players to the performances, everything was memorable.
It all started in November when Bhaichung Bhutia heading a press conference notified that India will be having its first Football Awards Night. No one could have anticipated that he was referring to the night which was a lifetime experience for all those who attended. The awards night was hosted a posh 5 star hotel in Kolkata – The Taj Bengal.. It was for the first time in the history of Indian Football that the past and present came together to glamorize the event. The list of guest attending the event included all major Football Stars in the country. Former stars like Mihir Bose, Biswajit Bhattacharya, Subhash Bhowmick were present along with the inspirational Indian Football legends like Badru Banerjee, P K Banerjee and Salien Manna.
The event started with President of FPAI, Bhaichung Bhutia delivering the welcome address and sharing information about FPAI and its motive behind organizing this event. Speaking about this event Bhaichung said, “An award function for Football in India is very essential. It gives all the players an added motivation and also a reason to celebrate.” Sunil Chhetri and Steven Dias kicked off the event in style when the duo put on their dancing shoes to perform in the song ‘Desi Girl.’
As the evening progressed the Awards ceremony began. The first award was for the “Best Young Player of the Year” the nominees for this category were Baljit Sahni (JCT), Subhash Singh (East Bengal) and Rakesh Masih (Mohun Bagan). Former Footballer Biswajit Bhattacharya and Subhash Bhowmick gave away the award to Baljit Sahni, whose award was collected by Bhaichung as the player is recovering from a bike accident.
Done with the first set of awards the evening now progressed to more surprises. It was yet another amazing dance performance this time it was Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Subhashish Roy Choudhury. They were certainly the twist for the evening dancing to the number ‘Pyaar mein Twist.’
The next set of award was for the “Best Coach”. The nominees for this section were Karim Bencharifa (Mohun Bagan), David Booth (Mumbai FC/Mahindra United) and Zoran Djodjevic (Churchill Brothers). The award was presented by India’s Sports medicine expert Dr. Vece Paes and Mr.Gautam Mohan Chakravarty (Police Commissioner, Kolkata). The award was won by David Booth, who came all the way from Mumbai to attend this starry affair and thanked his players and FPAI for honoring him with this award.
Thereafter the award for the “Best Player of the Year” (Fans Choice) was announced. The nominees were Jose Ramirez Barreto (Mohun Bagan), Rakesh Masih (Mohun Bagan), Odafa Okolie (Churchill Brothers), Sunil Chhetri (Dempo SC) and Anthony Pareira (Dempo SC). The award went to Sunil Chhetri who received it from Former Footballer Cheema Okorie.
To celebrate his award on public demand, Sunil stepped onto the Dancing floor once again with choreographer Sonia J. Sunil seemed to be the Shahrukh Khan of the evening dancing on the Number ‘Khudaya Khair.’
This amazing performance was followed by the award for the “Best Foreign Player” which was won by Odafa Okolie. The goal scoring machine thanked the Almighty for this honour. He went on to receive the award from Indian Football great and former Olympians P K Banerjee and Badru Banerjee, defeating the likes of Jose Ramirez Barreto and Ejjiah Junior.
Daniel from had come down all the way from Holland to perform at this event. Daniel is a freestyler who finished fifth in the World Free styling championship. Daniel’s performance was a real treat for the audience and he even got the Indian Footballers cheering for them.
The evening reached its penultimate stage when the award for “Best Footballer of the Year” was announced. It was a unanimous decision to honour the rising star of the Beautiful game in India. Sunil Chhetri won, defeating the competition from Anthony Pareria, Rakesh Masih and NS Manju. The event came to a close with an exceptional performance by Mehrajuddin, Subhashish Roy Choudhury, Steven Dias, Sunil Chhetri and Sonia J on the Tamil Folk song “Apudi Phode”.
It was an evening to remember and we hope that we have more such events to motivate the Indian Football players in the near future.
The 2010 awards are dawning upon us this September. We look forward to treating the audience with another fantastic show.
Portugal Diaries - Deepak Mondal
Whatever was lacking in our Portugal camp was filled up by the arrival of Sunil and Bhaichung. We played our first few matches with the strike partners. Their place was taken up by two upcoming stars, Md. Rafi and Sushil Singh, and they did not disappoint with their performance. But the difference the arrival of Bhaichung had on our spirits and confidence when we enter the field is something that cannot be comprehended.
This time our Portugal camp is in two phases. The first one at a place called Vieira and the second phase at Lisbon Sporting club’s academy. Such camps like the Portugal camp are always an exciting affair and something we footballer’s look forward. Before this, our first camp was here, prior to the Nehru Cup and the AFC Cup. To prepare a good ‘shape’ in the team we need to first have a good training system. This proper training is really not possible without the adequate infrastructure.
The place where we used to train in Vieira was exquisite and picturesque. It was the training ground of a local second division team, yet it was unbelievable the field was so good. The training ground is surrounded by Pine-like trees and forests. I have heard that Bayern Munich once trained here for their Champions League preparations. The area is so peaceful that nothing can be heard other than the sound of birds calling out. It is but natural that with such an environment and facilities we are bound to train well and develop the much required team spirit.
At Vieira, it took us half an hour to reach the training ground from the hotel. Our hotel was right on the beach overlooking the sea. Habitually we used to venture out onto the beach after dinner for some tea or coffee. Apart from this and training sessions, most of our time was spent inside our hotel rooms. We got Sunday’s off from training and that gave us time to explore the place. Since we have all come before, there is nothing new to see really. A famous church – Fatima church, shopping complexes and stadiums have all been visited by us. In our first time we also managed to go and visit the historic Benfica Club. Apart from some shopping, we are cooped up in our hotel rooms even on Sundays as we have seen it all. In a way it is good for us as we get the much needed rest.
This time around it is not only at Vieira but also at Lisbon. It takes almost 3 hours to reach Lisbon from Vieira. Right beside the Lisbon Airport is the famous Portuguese Stadium, Lisbon Sporting Stadium. Unlike how the Yubabharati Kirangan(Salt Lake Stadium) remains hidden behind darkness at night, the Lisbon Stadium looks spectacular at night.
We will be training at the Sporting Club’s academy in Lisbon. Almost 700 cadets train at this academy! It is here where Sporting’s future stars are tailor made. For a fact, Cristiano Ronaldo graduated from this academy! The Academy has 7 training fields, a World-class Gym and a Swimming Pool. At first we used to go the Gym in the mornings and come on to the field for ball training in the evenings. Later on we changed schedules and trained on field in the morning’s and were allowed to rest in the evenings. This was done because we were to play our training matches soon.
Many often ask us why we do not train in our own country and come all the way to Portugal for our camps. One can only say that you have to come here and see it yourself to find a justified answer to the question. After training in Spain’s Barcelona academy, Sporting’s facilities have been the best so far. The AFC Asian Cup is at Doha, Qatar. Thus, the management has also decided that we will be playing a tournament there, prior to the Asian AFC Cup so that we get accustomed to conditions there. This time the highlight of my tour has been the news I received that I am being recognized with the Arjuna Award. It was a Kolkata reporter who first gave me the news over phone.
I have been well supported by the team members over the years and all have congratulated me. The moment the squad at Portugal heard the news they were happier than I was as it was a glorious moment for Indian football than a personal achievement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in this squad and members from my previous squad for making this possible. Our aim is now to do well in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup. We know that we have to face a very stern challenge being drawn in the toughest group possible with Australia, South Korea and Bahrain.
But with Bob Houghton’s coaching we are all confident that we will give our best and try to get some good performances out. That is why we have come to Portugal for our camp, to do well in our tournaments and with this I would like to sign off.
For more on the FPAI go to their website www.fpaofindia.com .