Kamis, 31 Mei 2012

Euro2012: Germany beat Israel in final friendly

Germany won their final friendly ahead of the 2012 European Championships 2-0 against Israel in Leipzig. After the disastrous performance on Saturday against Switzerland coach Joachim Löw brought in seven Bayern Munich players, who started alongside two players from Real Madrid and FC Arsenal each.

Germany were in control from the start to finish, but they never were able to show their attacking potential as they had their problems with an ultra-defensive Israel, who also didn't bother the German defence too much.

Germany needed 15 minutes to have their first chance with a Toni Kroos long-ranger after a Tibi mistake. Then his Bayern team mate Jerome Boateng hit the left post as Germany seemed to get closer to taking the lead, but it needed a bit before striker Mario Gomez had his first chance in the 34th minute of a nice flick and then Sami Khedira headed wide before Gomez gave Germany the lead in the 40th minute when he fired the ball in.

The second half started like the first session as Israel's defence stood its ground against the Germans and they suddenly also showed some attacking intend while at the other end Mesut Özil just missed the target before Lukas Podolski had a couple of chances. But thereafter numerous substitions slowed down the pace once more as Germany continued to control things. First Thomas Müller missed a good chance in the 74th minute, but then substitute André Schürrle made it 2-0 with a beautiful long-ranger in the 82nd minute which beat the outstretched hands of keeper Ariel Harush. The last chance of the match was a good Miroslav Klose header, which Harush could just about clear.

It ended 2-0 for Germany, but the team still has a lot of work left ahead of their start into Euro2012 on June 9 against Portugal.

Manuel Neuer - Jerome Boateng, Per Mertesacker, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm [C] - Semi Khedira (88' Lars Bender), Toni Kroos (86' Mario Götze) - Thomas Müller (83' Marco Reus), Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski (67' André Schürrle) - Mario Gomez (67' Miroslav Klose)

Match Analysis launches Mambo Studio 5.0

Match Analysis, a global provider of soccer data and video analysis services to premiere leagues and teams, has announced that it has launched Mambo Studio Version 5.0, its most innovative product yet. Ten years in the making, Mambo Studio 5.0 is the fifth generation of Match Analysis' popular suite of tools used daily by top coaches and teams for video editing and analysis. The launch of Match Analysis' Mambo Studio 5.0 represents the culmination of an intense product development effort drawing input from elite professional clubs and coaches.

Mambo 5.0 incorporates a large collection of first-to-market innovations that have been carefully integrated into Match Analysis’s existing tool set including:

· Panoramic Video – a seamless and complete view of the pitch from corner flag to corner flag

· Portable Player Tracking – the precise pitch location of all 22 players and referee at all times using a low cost portable camera system

· TruView Visualizations – next generation integrated visualizations that show tactical structure, offside, team shape within panoramic video itself greatly improving on traditional bird’s eye animation

· Full Touch Screen Integration –instant interactive response in front of the classroom or the studio camera

· Next Generation Fitness Data – Complete graphical fitness reporting highlighting player by player distances, performance, sprints, recovery rates, direction, and more

"Mambo 5.0 represents a transformational technological advance and reinforces Match Analysis' commitment to innovate continuously, to provide our clients with the best products on the market, and to help them elevate team performance," said Mark Brunkhart, Match Analysis Founder and President. "The new technologies are seamlessly incorporated into our suite of tools allowing coaches to see and communicate their vision of the game to their players in compelling and dynamic ways. The response to Mambo 5.0 in early demos has been fantastic. The product seems to have struck a chord and fills a largely unmet need in the international market. We're very excited about the launch and the impact this will have on the development of the game."

About Match Analysis

Match Analysis is the market leader in high performance analytical tools for professional football (soccer). Over the past decade, Match Analysis has worked with almost every major club in North America, as well as 50 professional clubs around the globe. The business has also delivered to broadcasters and media outlets including the New York Times as the official partner for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2011, Match Analysis clients included all 18 Premier Division clubs in Mexico, eleven MLS clubs, the United States, Mexican, and Canadian National teams, and a wide array of college and amateur sides. Match Analysis offers a comprehensive suite of tools and services including video indexing and archiving, statistical analysis, live data collection, player tracking, and fitness and performance analysis.

More information at .

VIDEO: BBC Panorama - Euro2012 - Stadiums Of Hate

The BBC Panorama program this week has created a lot of controversy as it shows racism and ultra fans in Euro2012 co-hosts Poland and the Ukraine just days before the tournament is set to kick-off on June 8 under the title "Euro 2012 - Stadiums Of Hate".

With just days to go before the kick-off of the Euro 2012 championships, Panorama reveals shocking new evidence of racist violence and anti-semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukrainian football and asks whether tournament organiser UEFA should have chosen both nations to host the prestigious event.

Reporter Chris Rogers witnesses a group of Asian fans being attacked on the terraces of a Ukrainian Premier League match and hears anti-Semitic chanting at games in Poland. And with exclusive access to a far right group in Ukraine which recruits and trains football hooligans to attack foreigners, Panorama asks: how safe will travelling football teams and their supporters be at this summer's European festival of football?

Euro2012: Italy name final 23 players squad

Italy have named their 23 players squad ahead of the 2012 European Championships. Italy have been drawn in Group C along with defending champions Spain, Ireland and Croatia.

Coach Cesare Prandelli left out Andrea Ranocchia (Internazionale Milan), Salvatore Bocchetti (Rubin Kazan) and Domenico Criscito (Zenit Saint Petersburg) due to different reasons. The case of Criscito is especially difficult for Prandelli, then the player is said to be involved in match fixing, the Italian police even checked his room at the Italy camp and was then released ahead of the tournament.


Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus Torino), Morgan De Sanctis (SSC Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (FC Paris Saint-Germain)

Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (US Palermo), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus Torino), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus Torino), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus Torino), Cristian Maggio (SSC Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (AS Torino)

Daniele de Rossi (AS Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (FC Bologna), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus Torino), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus Torino), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (FC Paris Saint-Germain), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus Torino)

Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Fabio Borini (AS Roma), Antonio Cassano (AC Milan), Sebastian Giovinco (FC Parma), Antonio di Natale (Udinese Calcio)

India Under-22 camp from tomorrow in New Delhi

From tomorrow onwards 33 Under-22 players will show themselves in New Delhi to be selected amongst the final 23 players of the India Under-22 national team for the U-22 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in Oman.

Australian Arthur Papas has been appointed Head Coach for the U-22 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers assignment and takes charge of the team in New Delhi from tomorrow.

India have been drawn in a Group A along with the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Oman, Turkmenistan and Lebanon in the U-22 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. The Group A matches will be played at the Royal Oman Police Stadium and the Al Seeb Sports Stadium in Muscat, Oman.

The probables underwent various kinds of test (Biometrics Test, Medical Test, ECG, Echo, Cardiology Test etc.) fromm May 23 onwards at the SAI Center Kengeri in Bangalore and thereafter the list was cut down to 33 from the earlier 44.

INDIA U-22 Selection Trialists

Soram Poirei Angamba (Shillong Lajong FC), Ricardo Cardozo (Tata Football Academy), Ravi Kumar (Pailan Arrows), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (East Bengal Club)

Abhishek Das (East Bengal Club), Narayan Das (Tata Football Academy), Deepak Devrani (Pailan Arrows), Souvik Ghosh (Pailan Arrows), Mohammed Irfan Khan (Tata Football Academy), Pritam Kotal (Pailan Arrows), Vishal Kumar (Pailan Arrows), Prathmesh Maulingkar (Pailan Arrows), Ramandeep Singh (Air India), Chingkhei Meetei Yumnam (Tata Football Academy)

Rowllin Borges (Sporting Clube de Goa), Romeo Fernandes (Dempo SC), Ganeshan (Pune FC), Pronoy Haldar (Pailan Arrows), David Lalbiakzara (Pune FC), Shyjumon (Chirag United Kerala), Deepak Prakash (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), Lalrindika Ralte (Churchill Brothers SC), Tirthankar Sarkar (Pailan Arrows), Bikramjit Singh (Sr) (Pailan Arrows), Ongnam Milan Singh (Pailan Arrows), Simranjit Singh (Tata Football Academy)

Alwin George (Pailan Arrows), Jeje Lalpekhlua (Pune FC), Rajinder Kumar (Pailan Arrows), Malswamfela (Pailan Arrows), Holicharan Narzary (Pailan Arrows), Manandeep Singh (Air India), Pankaj Sona (Tata Football Academy)

Arthur Papas (Head Coach)

VIDEO: England Fan Academy (Carlsberg ad)

Danish beer maker Carlsberg has made a funny ad under the name of Fan Academy, which is intended for the UK market as it shows England fans and how to prepare them as fans for a big tournament, which includes cameos from former England stars.

Rabu, 30 Mei 2012

Euro2012: Sweden name final 23 players squad

Sweden have named their 23 players squad ahead of the 2012 European Championships. Sweden have been drawn in Group D along with co-host Ukraine, France and England.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren decided to take striker Johan Elmander though he is currently not fit, while leaving out talented youngster John Guidetti who hasn't recovered quick enough.


Par Hansson (FF Helsingborgs), Andreas Isaksson (PSV Eindhoven), Johan Wiland (FC Copenhagen)

Mikael Antonsson (FC Bologna), Andreas Granqvist (FC Genoa 93), Mikael Lustig (Celtic Glasgow), Olof Mellberg (Olympiacos Piräus), Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion), Martin Olsson (Blackburn Rovers), Behrang Safari (RSC Anderlecht)

Emir Bajrami (FC Twente Enschede), Rasmus Elm (AZ Alkmaar), Samuel Holmen (Istanbul BB), Kim Kallstrom (Olympique Lyon), Sebastian Larsson (AFC Sunderland), Anders Svensson (Elfsborg), Pontus Wernbloom (CSKA Moscow), Christian Wilhelmsson (Al Hilal)

Johan Elmander (Galatasaray Istanbul), Tobias Hysen (IFK Gothenburg), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Markus Rosenberg (SV Werder Bremen), Ola Toivonen (PSV Eindhoven)

Trials for Delhi's Hindustan Football Academy

One of Delhi's top teams Hindustan FC will hold open trials for its Hindustan Football Academy in the Under-12 and Under-16 age groups on July 7/8, 2012 at the Thyagraj Sports Complex, New Delhi.

The open trials are intended for children for the South and East Delhi coaching centres of the Hindustan Football Academy only.

The Trial Details

DATE: July 7 (Under-12), July 8 (Under-16)
TIME: 15.00 IST onwards
VENUE: Thyagraj Sports Complex, Lodhi Road, (near INA Metro Station), New Delhi

German Rangnick to coach West Bromwich Albion?

German coach Ralf Rangnick is in the running to be the next manager of English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion as replacement for Roy Hodgson who has joined the FA as England manager.

53 year old Rangnick has become the Baggies favourite after plans to bring in long-time favourite Chris Hughton from neighbours Birmingham City hit a roadblock with a 2 million Pound transfer fee. Another candidate Italian Claudio Ranieri today signed for AS Monaco in France, which leaves Albions with no many real candidates and options as earlier Ray Wilkins had turned down the offer to coach them.

If West Bromwich Albion do sign Ralf Rangnick as their new manager, then he would be the first German to coach in the English Premier League and it looks possible then Rangnick is said to have impressed the West Brom management.

Rangnick had earlier been approached by Turkish side Besiktas Istanbul and Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht, but he has turned down both offers with the Premiership a very possible destination for someone who has studied English and is known as a very intelligent, modern coach.

Rangnick had last coached Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04, but left the royal blues in September 2011 after just six months due to an exhaustion syndrome due to which he was unable to muster the strength and energy to coach the club. Now he wants to get back into coaching after recovering fully from the syndrome.

Rangnick before joining Schalke had coached Hannover 96, thereafter FC Schalke 04 for the first time and surprisingly joined 1899 Hoffenheim in June 2006 as the club was only an ambitious third division club then, but in two years he took them into the Bundesliga and in December 2008 the small town club surprisingly were winter champions of the league. Two years later he left the club after the management sold one of his players without the coaches consent.

Euro2012: Ukraine name final 23 players squad

Tournament co-hosts Ukraine have named their 23 players squad ahead of the 2012 European Championships. The Ukraine have been drawn in Group D along with France, England and Sweden.

Coach Oleh Blokhin has called on a squad which went as per expected lines with former Barca wingback Dmytro Chygrynskiy a well-known omission while former superstar Andriy Shevchenko has made the squad which contains only two players who play abroad in midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk at German giants FC Bayern Munich and striker Andriy Voronin for FK Dinamo Moscow in Russia.

The three players who did not make the squad are goalkeeper Oleksandr Bandura (Metalurh Donetsk), defender Vitaly Mandziuk (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk) and midfielder Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk).


Oleksandr Goryainov (Metalist Kharkiv), Maxym Koval (Dynamo Kiev), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Bohdan Butko (Illychivets Mariupil), Yevhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kiev), Olexandr Kucher (Shakhtar Donetsk), Taras Mikhalik (Dynamo Kiev), Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhen Selin (Vorskla Poltava), Vyacheslav Shevchuk (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Olexandr Aliyev (Dynamo Kiev), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kiev), Oleh Gusev (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Serhiy Nazarenko (Tavriya Simferopol), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (FC Bayern Munich), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev)

Marko Devic (Metalist Kharkiv), Artem Milevskiy (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kiev), Andriy Voronin (FK Dinamo Moscow)

VIDEO: Modern-day German Attacking Football

As part of their series of video clips on the German national football team ahead of Euro2012, Mercedes created a clip on the modern-day attacking football of Germany. Some really interesting statements (Video in German).

Selasa, 29 Mei 2012

Dempo SC sign Salgaocar's Japanese playmaker Ryuji Sueoka

I-League champions Dempo SC have made their first signing of the summer in Japanese playmaker Ryuji Sueoka, who left Goan rivals Salgaocar SC at the end of the last season after he could not agree a new contract. Sueoka will be signing on the dotted line in the first week of June.

Sueoka said about signing for Dempo's, "I have seen the club for three years. It has a good management and coach. I feel I will be able to adapt to Dempo's passing style of football."

The 1979 Yamaguchi-born Sueoka started his professional career with J-League side Albitex Niigata, but was loaned out to sister club Albitex Niigata FC in the Singapore S-League in-between. After his contract with Albitex Niigata ended, he went to Singapore to join Geylang United and then Balestier Khalsa FC before moving to Bangkok United in the Thai Premier League.

33 year old Ryuji Sueoka had first signed in India in the 2009/10 season for Mohun Bagan AC under Karim Bencharifa before shifting base to Goa's Salgaocar SC in the summer 2010 along with the Moroccan coach. Now after two very successful years with Salgaocar SC Sueoka switches over to Dempo SC and will hope to continue his successful run in India.

Euro2012: France announce final 23 players squad

France coach Laurent Blanc has named his final squad of 23 players ahead of the 2012 European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine. France plays England, co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden in Group D of the tournament that runs from June 8 to July 1.

France coach Laurent Blanc named his final 23 player squad leaving out defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier HSC) and midfielder Yoann Gourcuff (Olympique Lyonnais), while earlier striker Loic Rémy (Olympique Marseille) had injured himself which ruled him out of the tournament.

A talented France is seen as a potential darkhorse in the race to the Euro2012 title though many have not forgotten their terrible on and off field performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyonnais), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)

Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (OSC Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (FC Arsenal), Philippe Mexès (AC Milan), Adil Rami (FC Valencia), Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyonnais)

Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Alou Diarra (Olympique Marseille), Florent Malouda (FC Chelsea), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Marvin Martin (FC Sochaux), Blaise Matuidi (FC Paris Saint-Germain), Jeremy Menez (FC Paris Saint-Germain), Yann M'vila (Stade Rennes), Franck Ribery (FC Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier HSC)

AIFF all praise for Services and Tamil Nadu!

The 66th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy was played from May 11 to 28 across Orissa in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Baragarh. It ended yesterday with Services beating Tamil Nadu 3-2 in the final.

The All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das congratulated the Services team for winning the 66th edition of the Santosh Trophy at Cuttack's Barabati Stadium besides their consistent performance and discipline throughout the tournament. This is Services' second triumph in the tournaments long history, the earlier one being in 1960-61.

Mr. Das also hailed the performance of the young Tamil Nadu side who ended up as runners-up. "This was the first time Tamil Nadu made it to the final of the Santosh Trophy after forty years. The average age of the boys was between 23-24 and that's commendable indeed. I sincerely believe the performance will inspire a new generation to take up the sport," Kushal Das said.

Mr. Das also had a word of praise for the President of the Tamilnadu Football Association, Seni Mohinudden. "Under his leadership, football in Tamil Nadu is surely on the rise. His energy, enthusiasm and dedication will certainly go a long way in developing the sport in Tamil Nadu," he added. "I look forward to working with him for the development of the sport in the state and country in general."

Standard Chartered Corporate Soccer 5s 2012 - Successful Weekend!

The Standard Chartered Challenger team comprised of Sunil Kaushal (Regional Chief Executive, India & South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank), Nitin Paranjpe (CEO and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd), Rajeev Piramal (Executive Vice - Chairman, Peninsula Land Ltd), Rajnish Narula (CEO at Canara Robeco and Country Manager,India at Robeco), K. Sudarshan (Managing Director, EMA Partners, Viren Rasquinha (former Indian Hockey Captain), Mini Mathur (Indian actress & television personality - former video jockey MTV India, also a co-host of the Indian reality singing contest Indian Idol), Sheena Chohan (Indian actress & model, Won the "I am voice" title at Miss India Universe, Face and Brand Ambassador of Youth for Human Rights India and The Way to Happiness Foundation-India), Bunty Walia (Film Producer) and Sachin Sharma (Television Actor).

The event which attracted a record 83 teams with over 700 players participating witnessed over 150 matches on those two days culminating with the finals on Sunday, May 27 with the winners being decided in six different categories.

A very festive and carnival kind of atmosphere prevailed with food, fun and football frenzy prevailing and lots of cheering from the spectators who had gathered in very large numbers. The match against the Go Forward team was very fast paced and fortunes fluctuated before it ended in a very narrow and exciting win for the Go Forward youngsters. Pre-event Mr Kaushal launched the Standard Chartered Corporate Soccer 5s 2012 Trophy which the teams were vying for. The members of the Standard Chartered Challenger team also launched the Go Forward Brochures.

In the various categories, the quality of football displayed this year was of a much better quality then in previous editions, it was fast and furious. Matches were played on a League-cum-Knockout basis. Many of the matches in the knockout stage went to the wire and led to penalty shoot-outs. Late on Sunday night the results were finally decided.

Here the complete list of winners

Bowl Category
Winners – KPMG
Runners Up – National Australia Bank
Man of the Match – Raja Hudda (KPMG, 1 goal)

Salver Category
Winners – Capgemini
Runners Up – Cleartrip
Man of the Match – Rameez Dalvi (Capgemini, 2 goals)

Champions Cup
Winners – Amarchand Mangaldas
Runners up – TCS
Man of the Match – Mahendra Mishra (Amarchand Mangaldas, 1 goal)

Ladies Cup
Winners – HDFC Bank
Runners Up – Vodafone
Player of the Match – Sonal Arin (HDFC Bank, 1 goal)

Elite Cup
Winners – Baskin Robbins
Runners Up – Standard Chartered
Man of the Match – Sunil Batawale (Baskin Robbins, 1 goal)

Super Cup
Winners – Indian Hotels
Runners Up – HDFC Bank 1
Man of the Match – Pranay S. (Indian Hotels, 1 goal)

Interview about JoLi Academy (Supporting Women's Football in India)

The professional women footballers Joanna Lohman from the US and Lianne Sanderson from England have founded the JoLi Academy to support women's football in regions of the planet where it is difficult for girls and women to play the sport. They started their journey earlier this year in India, in the state of Jharkhand and the two tell me how it came about, what they have done so far and their plans for the future.

Joanna Lohman was born in Silver Spring, Maryland (USA); Lianne Sanderson hails from Lewisham in England. Both women have played international football for their respective countries, have being playing top level football for many years and now they want to give something back to the beautiful game.

Lohman's experiences have instilled a desire to pour her efforts into football programs and motivational services of JoLi Academy, while Sanderson focused her energies on working with children to strengthen their athletic prowess and character. Sanderson seeks to bring that same focus to players the world over with JoLi Academy.

When and how did the idea for JoLi Academy arise and when did that idea become reality? Did it take some time to map it out and determine exactly what you wanted to do, how to set it up, etc.?

The idea firstly originated, due to my brother living in Chennai (India). He works in the US Consulate as a Vice-Consul. Lianne and I planned a month-long trip to go see him and to explore a country full of unique experiences. At the time we thought to ourselves why not make a fusion of this trip with our unique soccer backgrounds.

The original idea was called "Indian Vision", the goal of this was to share our experience, passion, and knowledge for the game of soccer with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with the intent of evolving and growing the women's game. Lianne and I both know how hard it can be for women to have the opportunities she and I have had in the world of soccer. Coming from the Western part of the world we have advantages as females that some women in other countries don't get. One of these advantages has been to play professional soccer for both country and clubs all over the world, from the United States all the way to Spain. What drove us to this idea of "Indian Vision" was the burning desire we had and still have to give back what we have gained from years and years of playing this beautiful fulfilling sport. We have learned qualities such as confidence, drive, ambition, determination, leadership and focus which are essential not only on the field but also in the day to day life off the field. We want to share our experience and we want to help by making an impact mainly in developing countries where soccer, especially women's soccer is minimally supported and under developed. It is with all of these important things in mind that we focused on this mission with the hope and intention of building long lasting relationships and long term positive impact not only with individuals but with whole countries.

At first the aim was to partner with Play3rsport in helping with the training and development of the AIFF, the aim was to do this by having a 4-7 day camp in Goa (India) during the month of January 2012. We will work with the AIFF and the female players to develop their game and help put their team forward in the global standings. The gear will be provided by Nike and the camp will be held in Margao, Goa home of one of the few turf fields in India. The initial camp will be the start of a 4-5 year program that works with the AIFF to assist in their qualification for the 2015 and 2019 Women's World Cups. This was all the original idea that came with "Indian Vision", but things ended up moulding and taking a different shape. We originally wanted to work with the Women's National Team (WNT) and the AIFF but we got introduced to YUWA and we felt that the biggest impact would be made at the grassroots level in one of the worsts areas of India, Jharkhand.

Once you established that you were going to start the academy, what were your plans for it? Were you looking for a specific location (did you look at other places aside from India as a place to launch the academy)?

When we decided that we were going to start the JoLi Academy our plans apart from the ones mentioned in the previous question were to supplement the training and development of young female players by executing a series of annual 4-day Academies. JoLi will mentor young athletes around the world and increase their opportunity to secure a post-secondary athletic scholarship. This was the original motivation behind JoLi, and this hasn't changed since we established the academy. However a couple of things have changed from the beginning. The original thought which came along with "Indian Vision" was to set this project in Goa which is where the AIFF train, and like mentioned before where there is one of the only turf fields in India.

But when YUWA came into the picture we decided that Jharkhand would be a much better scene in order for JoLi to make a long lasting permanent impact. YUWA was founded in 2009 by Harvard Graduate, Franz Gastler, with the aim to use girl's soccer as a platform for the social development in rural India. I would like to put emphasize on why we ended up picking Jharkhand and YUWA for this project. Jharkhand is one of the poorest, least literate and most lawless regions in India. It is the top source of human trafficking in the world, where an estimated 30,000 young women are trafficked every year. If you want to learn more about YUWA and its amazing organization which only strives to improve and develop girl's lives and put a smile on their faces you can do so by going to their website: .

Your first planned project is India 2012. What made you choose India? Also, you say in the packet that this will be an annual academy. Any other countries in mind for the future?

Yes, we want to create a long-term relationship with the organizations we are working with in India. We also have plans to take JoLi Academy to other provisionally ranked nations around the world. We are already thinking about countries such as Bahrain and Grenada. We also want to establish something domestically (USA) to work with kids closer to home. So keep your eyes out for this.

How many months, days, hours, did it take to get the project off the ground and rolling?

It has been a non-stop rollercoaster ride to say the least, we have been tied with JoLi Academy 24 hours, 7 days a week, we even dream about it. It is extremely tiring and consuming but we absolutely love it. It is something we have so much passion for and this carries us through the tough times. This drive and determination will continue because JoLi Academy is our career, our future and our main passion off the field.

You often see academies and soccer camps just strictly focus on soccer training. How important was it for both of you to have an academy that teaches both soccer and life lessons and mentoring?

It is essential to have an academy that teaches both soccer and life lessons. A game like soccer teaches you so many critically important characteristics and qualities which are tied to achievement and success in a persons life. Sport, especially soccer, provides the opportunity to learn to work as a team, push through adversity (loss), and provides an outlet of motivation and inspiration to become the best.

What are the long and short term goals for JoLi Academy?

JoLi Academy short-term goals range from providing an enjoyable and unique experience for the AIFF and YUWA young athletes to demonstrating/instilling confidence, self-respect, focus, drive, determination, and hard-work, to name just a few. We want to give these girls hope and an outlet for happiness.

The long-term goals would include effective and proven nutritional programs, language studies (English), and greater educational opportunities both domestically and abroad. In all honesty, we would like to change these girls' lives but we realize we must take it one step at a time.

You have received through social media (Facebook/Twitter), a massive amount of positive feedback from your fans about the academy. What does that mean to you and did you expect to positively affect so many people so quickly?

This aspect of JoLi Academy has been such a pleasant surprise. We know that we have a lot of supporters but the outpouring of it all has been overwhelming. The JoLi TV Commercial Competition is evidence of this. Also, our Facebook page is covered with positive messages that are incredible encouraging. We knew we had a special organization when we formed JoLi Academy but the amount of inspiration we are supplying others also inspires us to push harder and dream bigger. We want to spread the awareness even further. This is only the beginning. It is the first project of many and JoLi Academy will motivate and inspire millions of people in its lifetime.

The academy seems like a massive undertaking. In addition to Lianne, do you have others who are involved? If so, do you want to mention their names and talk about how they came about in terms of helping out and what they will provide.

There are so many others to name, here a few of them

Ingrid Green - She has been a driving force in this project since day one. Incredible organizer and pratical thinker!
Kristin Lloyd - She is building our fundraising platform - her work has been essential to our progression
Alex Bitaine - She is researching shipping options for JoLi Academy and helping with the Public Relations - another amazing contributor
Natalie Smith & Elly Deutch - Working on marketing, promotional, and networking opportunities for JoLi Academy
Nathan McDonald & Justine Fitzgerald - Offering up legal consultation in the effort of creating the LLC
Sandeep Mancha - Helping with background info on India and also documentary filming
Sukhmani Singh - Helping with background info on India and also documentary filming
Talona Cortez - Participating in fundraising ideas
Franz Gastler - Founder of YUWA who has been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about JoLi Academy since day one
Neel Shah (Libero Sports) - Coordinating our efforts with YUWA and the AIFF - putting JoLi in touch with all the right people
Stephanie Smalls Gaines- Creating a JoLi Academy t-shirt for our auction

And the list goes on and on...

I want to give special thanks to our Commercial Participants who dedicated their time and energy to the project. Our families who have been uber supportive. Last but not least, all of the JoLi Academy followers on FB, Twitter, and beyond that make our jobs completely worthwhile. They are the reason we wake up every morning with smiles on our faces.

How can you help JoLi Academy?

JoLi Academy is now accepting donations through its website !

All of the funds collected will be used to support JoLi Academy in their mission in India 2013. This includes: shipping essential goods for the YUWA athletes, nutritional supplements, and documentary filming. Three things that will help to change these young women's lives.

BE JOLI: "Kicking through the wall"
Now is your time to donate and support. WE NEED YOU. Together we will change the world.

What was the India experience like?

India was a life changing experience for both JoLi Academy and the girls that were involved in the India 2012 project. The impact that JoLi Academy made was felt immediately as this was the first time the AIFF paired up with an NGO. Yuwa (NGO) hosted the 16 National Team players, while Lianne and I coordinated 12 different training sessions for close to 50 girls from all different backgrounds, up bringing, and social strata.

Although many of these girls come from very little, they were the happiest children we have ever come in contact with. Compared to most Westernized countries, they have nothing, yet the relationships they build with one another trump any material possession.

JoLi Academy India 2012 was an enormous amount of hard work. Lianne and I were exposed to a completely new environment and often times we were exhausted, starving, and freezing cold. However, complaining never was an option because when the lows hit, the players were there to always pick us back up. How could we complain when we are given so many opportunities in life?

Our next big Project in India is that the JoLi Academy plans to host a 2013 tournament in India that involves Yuwa and Magic Bus (another NGO in India that makes a tremendous impact).

66th Santosh Trophy: Complete Tournament Statistics

The 66th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy was played from May 11 to 28 across Orissa in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Baragarh. In total 34 teams are taking part in the inter-state tournament with Services winning the tournament.


Preliminary Round - Cluster Stage

Cluster-I - Sambalpur
Jharkhand, Delhi, Andaman&Nicobar Island, Gujarat

11-May-2012: Jharkhand 9-0 Andaman&Nicobar Island
[30,36,83 Anjan Dey, 34 Subash Majhi, 53,77 Bosen Murmu, 74,81 Gurumati Mukhi, 90+1 Subansh Deogun]
11-May-2012: Delhi 4-0 Gujarat
[7,71 Kamal Singh, 59,83 David Ngaihte]
13-May-2012: Andaman&Nicobar Island 0-13 Delhi
[7,23,50 Deepak Mehra, 41,44,60,81 Monu Choudhary, 56,75 Kamal Sngh, 68 P.S. Rawat, 82 Vikas Rawat, 86,91 David Ngaihte]
13-May-2012: Gujarat 2-1 Jharkhand
[G: 29 Sagar Thapa, 73 I. Sheikh; J: 70 Sachin Jariya]
15-May-2012: Andaman&Nicobar Island 1-12 Gujarat
[A: 60 Manuah; G: 16,67,85,90 Mehul Rana, 37,75 Jahid Pathan, 46 Dipesh Pun, 61,79 Sagar Thapa, 65 Imtiyaz Shaikh, 78 Aamir Pathan, 81 Mandeep Barad]
15-May-2012: Jharkhand 1-3 Delhi
[J: 85 Anjan Dey; D: 44,62 Mahender Singh, 79 Kamal Singh]

Cluster-II - Cuttack
Kerala, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh

11-May-2012: Kerala 4-0 Tripura
[45,69 Usman P., 63 Firos K., 85 V. Antony]
13-May-2012: Tripura 2-3 Himachal Pradesh
[T: 66 Premjit Singh Barua, 74 Arjit Singh Barua; H: 10,38 Chandan Kumar, 72 Pawan Thakur]
15-May-2012: Himachal Pradesh 0-4 Kerala
[46 Rakesh K., 54,59 Vineeth Antony, 75 Mohammed Rasi]

Cluster-III - Baragarh
Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Pondicherry

11-May-2012: Chandigarh 2-1 Madhya Pradesh
[C: 11 Navdeep Singh, 27 Amrit Pal Singh; M: 85 Shiwang Kumar]
11-May-2012: Meghalaya 4-0 Pondicherry
[43 Ronnie McDonald Nongbri, 70 Niwan-O-Gathphoh, 78 Fullmoon Mukhim, 86 Restom Khriam]
13-May-2012: Madhya Pradesh 0-1 Meghalaya
[79 Bansharai Sun]
13-May-2012: Pondicherry 1-2 Chandigarh
[P: 78 Manikanandan; C: 14 Harminder Singh, 35 Gagandeep Singh]
15-May-2012: Madhya Pradesh 1-0 Pondicherry
[72 Prateek Lal]
15-May-2012: Meghalaya 5-1 Chandigarh
[M: 45+1,90 Bansharai Sun, 48 Timmy Ryngkhlem, 81 Regional Shadap, 90+4 Restom Khriam; C: 88 Harminder Singh]

Cluster-IV - Cuttack
Jammu&Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra

11-May-2012: Maharashtra 4-0 Arunachal Pradesh
[5 Reuben D'Souza, 59 Linekar Machando, 88 A. Sheikh, 90+2 Argha Chakraborty]
13-May-2012: Arunachal Pradesh 1-2 Jammu&Kashmir
[A: 30 T.C.Teli; J: 12 Khalid Umer, 69 Asif Majeed]
15-May-2012: Jammu&Kashmir 2-5 Maharashtra
[J: 65 Sandeep Sharma, 78 Aman Thapa; M: 7,63 Reuben D'Souza, 67 Kenistan C., 71 N.Z. Ur-Rehman, 73 Arvind George]

Cluster-V - Bhubaneswar
Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland

11-May-2012: Karnataka 5-0 Nagaland
[31 Ngurneilal Hmar, 56,85 Gopi, 68 Arun Pandian, 81 Prakash]
11-May-2012: Bihar 0-1 Uttar Pradesh
[78 Budhuram Soren]
13-May-2012: Nagaland 1-1 Bihar
[N: 85 K. Kiwe; B: 72 Murari Kumar]
13-May-2012: Uttar Pradesh 2-1 Karnataka
[U: 8 H.H. Khan, 62 Biru Yadav; K: 1 Gopi]
15-May-2012: Nagaland 2-3 Uttar Pradesh
[N: 18,30 Kin Sumi; U: 5 Suresh Patel, 30 Ballu Verma, 90+1 Mohammed Kammaluddin]
15-May-2012: Karnataka 5-0 Bihar
[39 B: Prakash, 48 Lokeshwar Singh, 49 Deepan Thapa, 69 Amoes, 77 S. Rajesh Jr.]

Cluster-VI - Cuttack
Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Rajasthan

12-May-2012: Uttarakhand 2-4 Rajasthan
[U: 5 Sishir Saha, 36 Rahul; R: 13,90+3 Parmaveer Singh, 38,89 Narendra Singh Rathore]
14-May-2012: Rajasthan 0-12 Mizoram
[11,17,41 F.Lalrinpuia, 12,77,79 Zico Zoremsanga, 42 David Lalthansanga, 55, 84 Malsawmdawngliana, 63 Lallawmzuala, 74 H. Malsawmtluanga, 87 David Lalrinmuana]
16-May-2012: Mizoram 6-0 Uttarakhand
[24 Lalchhawnkima, 53,84 F. Lalrinpuia, 71,74 Malsawmdawngliana, 80 Lalrinfela]

Cluster-VII - Bhubaneswar
Haryana, Sikkim, Assam, Daman&Diu

12-May-2012: Haryana 4-1 Daman&Diu
[H: 31,41 Pankaj Sura, 80,86 Abhisek; D: 35 Rahul Barath]
12-May-2012: Assam 5-2 Sikkim
[A: 12,45 Chayaram Basumatary, 40 Monoj Boro, 73,88 Manaj Manjit Chhetia; S: 20 Shanti Ram, 76 T. Bhutia (pen)]
14-May-2012: Daman&Diu 0-6 Assam
[7,17 Sayaram Basumatary, 12 Jayanta Basumatary, 19,41 Khirod Das, 59 Manas Manjit Chetia]
14-May-2012: Sikkim 1-4 Haryana
[S: ?; H: 14,74,77 Abhisek, 26 Pankaj Sura]
16-May-2012: Daman&Diu 1-4 Sikkim
[D: 21 Rahul Barath; S: 12,29 Bir Bahadur Pradhan, 81 Sanjay Chettri, 88 Bijay Subba]
16-May-2012: Haryana 2-0 Assam
[31 Abhisek, 81 Ajay]

Quarterfinal League - Group Stage:

Group-A - Cuttack
West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala (Cluster-II winner), Maharashtra (Cluster-IV winner)

18-May-2012: West Bengal 1-2 Maharashtra
[W: 71 Tarif Ahmed; M: 20 Kailash Patel, 70 Linekar Machando]
18-May-2012: Punjab 1-2 Kerala
[P: 38 Rohit Kumar; K: 73 Sajith T., 90+3 Shibinlal]
20-May-2012: Kerala 0-0 West Bengal
20-May-2012: Maharashtra 5-0 Punjab
[7 Vijith Shetty, 29,71,83 Kailash Patil, 88 Reuben D'Souza]
22-May-2012: Maharashtra 1-3 Kerala
[M: 8 Kailash Patil; K: 10 Surjith V.V., 72,81 R. Kannan]
22-May-2012: West Bengal 2-1 Punjab
[W: 17 Mohammed Mukhtar, 87 Tapan Maity; P: 16 Gurmeet Singh]

Group-B - Bhubaneswar
Manipur, Goa, Meghalaya (Cluster-III winner), Uttar Pradesh (Cluster-V winner)

18-May-2012: Manipur 1-0 Meghalaya
[62 L. Chaothoiba Singh]
18-May-2012: Goa 2-0 Uttar Pradesh
[54 Gabriel Fernandes , 61 Agnelo Colaco]
20-May-2012: Meghalaya 1-2 Goa
[M: 70 Bansharai Sun; G: 57 Sachin Gawas, 87 Gabriel Fernandes]
20-May-2012: Uttar Pradesh 0-6 Manipur
[32,53,65,68 L. Chaothoiba Singh, 78 Kh. Thoi Singh, 90+2 Kh. Naoton Singh]
22-May-2012: Meghalaya 3-0 Uttar Pradesh
[7 Ronnie McDonald Nongbri, 18 Bansharai Sun, 82 Timmy Ryngkhlem]
22-May-2012: Manipur 2-2 Goa
[M: 19 Kh. Thoi Singh, 70 M. Govin Singh; G: 26 Gabriel Fernandes, 45 Prathesh Shirodkar]

Group-C - Cuttack
Services, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Haryana (Cluster-VII winner)

19-May-2012: Services 4-0 Haryana
[8 Z. Horin, 67 Subrata Sarkar, 74,85 Farhad V.V.]
19-May-2012: Orissa 4-0 Chhattisgarh
[45+1,82, 90+1 Gokul Oram, 66 Antu Murmu]
21-May-2012: Haryana 1-1 Orissa
[H: 8 Abhisek; O: 44 Antu Murmu]
21-May-2012: Chhattisgarh 0-6 Services
[4,33,75 Farhad V.V., 44 Z. Horin, 62,90 Thyagarajan]
23-May-2012: Haryana 6-1 Chhattisgarh
[H: 5,67,83 Abhisek, 37 Habib Khan, 45 Ajay, 53 Devender; C: 54 K. Praveen]
23-May-2012: Orissa 1-1 Services
[O: 33 Gokul Oram (pen); S: 55 Gordon Zoramchhana]

Group-D - Bhubaneswar
Railways, Tamil Nadu, Delhi (Cluster-I winner), Mizoram (Cluster-VI winner)

19-May-2012: Railways 2-2 Mizoram
[R: 15 Gurpreet Singh, 45+2 Rizu; M: 40 V. Lalanpuia, 50 F. Lalrinpuia]
19-May-2012: Tamil Nadu 1-0 Delhi
[76 S. Karthik]
21-May-2012: Delhi 1-2 Railways
[D: 84 Vikash Rawat; R: 82 Lalmohan Hansda, 86 Gurpreet Singh]
21-May-2012: Mizoram 3-4 Tamil Nadu
[M: 2,22 F. Lalrinpuia, 88 Lalbiakhlua; T: 38 Charles Anandraj, 49,78 U. Jayakumar, 90+2 M. Ramesh]
23-May-2012: Mizoram 0-3 Delhi
[53 Mahendra Singh, 78 Dhiraj Singh, 87 Kamson Kabui]
23-May-2012: Railways 0-0 Tamil Nadu

25-May-2012: Kerala 1-2 Services
[K: 83 Vineet Anthony (pen); S: 5 Subrata Sarkar, 50 Mohammed Marsook (own Goal)]
26-May-2012: Manipur 0-2 Tamil Nadu
[35 A. Reagan, 85 M. David]

28-May-2012: Services 3-2 Tamil Nadu
[S: 45 Sanju Subba, 49 Subrata Sarkar, 67 Farhad V.V.; T: 82 Santa Kumar, 89 M. Ramesh]

Senin, 28 Mei 2012

Euro2012: Co-Hosts Poland announce final 23 players squad

Co-hosts Poland have named their final 23 player squad for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine. Poland plays Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic in Group A of the tournament that runs from June 8 to July 1.

Poland will be led by German Bundesliga and German Cup winning trio Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Piszczek from Borussia Dortmund.

Polish national coach Franciszek Smuda had no selection surprises in store when his final 23 were announced as Tomasz Jodlowiec, Michal Kucharczyk and Kamil Glik were left out from the 26 players probables list.


Grzegorz Sandomierski (Jagiellonia Bialystok), Wojciech Szczesny (FC Arsenal), Przemyslaw Tyton (PSV Eindhoven)

Sebastian Boenisch (SV Werder Breman), Marcin Kaminski (Lech Poznan), Damien Perquis (AS Sochaux), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Marcin Wasilewski (RSC Anderlecht), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Legia Warsaw), Grzegorz Wojtkowiak (Lech Poznan)

Jakub Blaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund), Dariusz Dudka (AJ Auxerre), Kamil Grosicki (Sivasspor), Adam Matuszczyk (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Adrian Mierzejewski (Trabzonspor), Rafal Murawski (Lech Poznan), Ludovic Obraniak (Girondins de Bordeaux), Eugen Polanski (FSV Mainz 05), Maciej Rybus (Terek Grozny), Rafal Wolski (Legia Warsaw)

Pawel Brozek (Celtic Glasgow), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Sobiech (Hannover 96)

Euro2012: Germany announce final 23 players squad

German national team coach Joachim Löw today announced his final 23 player squad for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine. Germany plays Portugal, The Netherlands and Denmark in Group B of the tournament that runs from June 8 to July 1.

A day earlier then expected coach Joachim Löw today announced his final 23 players with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach), midfielders Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund) and Julian Draxler (FC Schalke 04) plus striker Cacau (VfB Stuttgart) not making the final squad.

Löw informed the four players and they did not take part in the afternoon training session. Only tomorrow Löw at a press conference will say why he made the decisions he has taken by sending this quartett home, but it is clear that Löw saw enough on Saturday in the friendly against Switzerland to make his decisions about the final squad.

While ter Stegen had a mixed debut and conceded five goals, Sven Bender didn't make it as the competition in defensive midfield is too big, teenager Julian Draxler is someone for the future while striker Cacau was seen surplus behind Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez and Marco Reus.


Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München), Tim Wiese (SV Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96)

Holger Badstuber (FC Bayern München), Jerome Boateng (FC Bayern München), Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal FC), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund)

Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund), Ilkay Gündogan (Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (FC Bayern München), Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid), Lukas Podolski (1.FC Köln), Marco Reus (Borussia Mönchengladbach), André Schürrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München)

Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München), Miroslav Klose (Lazio Roma)

Services are winners of the 66th Santosh Trophy

Services are champions of the 66th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy winning 3-2 against Tamil Nadu at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. The tournament reached its climax today with the grand finale after being played since May 11 across Orissa in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Baragarh.

At the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack this evening Services captain Gordon Zoramchhana lifted the trophy for the first time, Services won for the second time (the earlier victory being in 1960-61). Services midfielder Sanju Subba scored the first goal – his right footer curling away from Tamil Nadu goalkeeper Akhil Soman to bulge the net just before the break. Subrata Sarkar doubled the lead in the 49th minute while Farhad V.V. tapped it past an onrushing Akhil for Services' third goal in the 67th minute. Santa Kumar and M. Ramesh reduced the margin for Tamil Nadu in the 82nd and the 89th minute respectively.

By the time it started to drizzle midway into the first half, Services had already seized the initiative. On slippery underfoot conditions due to heavy rains before the game, Services kept possession of the ball but not being allowed the width to penetrate into the box, they stayed content in taking snap shots from outside the box. First, Captain Gordon Zoramchhana's shot dipped at the last moment to bounce off the crosspiece and then in the 17th minute, Z.V. Horin's shot found Tamil Nadu central defender Suman Raj on the way.

Tamil Nadu relied on counter-attacks and their first worth-mentioning move didn't come till the 22nd minute – Jayakumar's angular shot just going wide. Their best chance of the first half came in the 44th minute when Charles Anandraj outjumped rival central defender Rary Raj to head Nirmal Kumar's cross but Services goalkeeper A.K. Balwant thwarted it in his second attempt. But Services pressed hard and were eventually rewarded on the counter attack. Sanju Subba's powerful right-footer from just outside the box curled away from Akhil to bulge the net in the 45th minute as Services went into the interval enjoying a one-goal cushion.

Immediately after resumption, Services doubled their lead. With the drizzle still on, Z.V. Horin's grounder came out of a diving Akhil's palms and Subrata Sarkar tapped it in. Two goals within 5 minutes of play (of either half) upset Tamil Nadu's calculations. Frustrated, they tried to come out of their shell to change into an attacking mode and it further helped Services. The raid of attacks earned them their third goal – Farhad V.V. placing it in past an onrushing Akhil.

A positive on this night for coach Syed Shabir Pasha was that Tamil Nadu's young lads didn't give-up. In the 82nd minute, substitute Santa Kumar managed to reduce the margin and then M. Ramesh pulled another back in the 89th minute. But it came a bit too late otherwise it would have been a more interesting finish to the game.

After the final whistle it was party time for Services, who in the end were deserving winners in Cuttack. Captain Gordon Zoramchhana not only lifted the trophy, but also received a cheque over Rs 500,000 (5 lakhs) for the winning team.

Out of the seven entries into the final, this was Services second triumph in the 66 editions of the Santosh Trophy. For Tamil Nadu, who were runners-up in 1972-73, the wait continues after their second final loss.

Chelsea's Asian Star Scouting Programme a success

English Premier League side Chelsea FC once more organised its Asian Star scouting programme at its Cobham training complex with more then 300 children taking part over the weekend, hoping to win a year-long place within the Chelsea FC Foundation's Elite Training Centre.

This year young players aged from Under-9s, U-10s, U-11s and U-12s with British Asian backgrounds had the opportunity to compete against each other under close scrutiny from Chelsea Foundation coaches. This year's winners will now return to the club's training ground later in the summer for a week-long trial.

The winners in the different categories are

Under 9 - Rajan Singh Sahni
Under 10 - Keshveer Singh Lakanpal
Under 11 - Ibrahim Rahman
Under 12 - Saidul Islam Khan

The Asian Soccer Star 2012 winners in the four age groups were decided on their performance, test results and the Foundation coaches' analysis.

Parents watched on under sweltering conditions as their children were put through drills and tests for speed and agility before taking part in five or six-a-side games of football. The teams all played each other once in a tournament before a final took place between the two top sides. The winners of that meeting were awarded medals and Asian Soccer Star 2012 trophies. The sides were guided by professional coaches.

The initiative attracted the attentions of local media and Punjab singer Jaz Dhami, a coach himself said, "This year I've seen a massive progression and I'm excited to be here. There are not any other clubs which put these events on and it gives the youngsters a great platform from which to build."

"I would like to see more of it, I've been involved over the past three years and I'm surprised other clubs where there is a big Asian population haven't followed suit."

Kashif Siddiqi is a professional footballer who, as well as being a Pakistani international, plays right-back for Ventura County Fusion in California. He came down to Cobham to lend a hand giving out prizes and couldn't speak highly enough of the event.

"It's a great initiative and I'm hoping a number of other clubs can now blueprint this model. What Chelsea are doing is not just great for young Asian footballers but the community as a whole," he said.

"I've seen different kids from the various age groups shine and it's a brilliant idea. If I had something like this when I was growing up it would have eradicated a lot of the barriers I faced, so I'm very appreciative of what the club are doing."

Each winner was given a Chelsea shirt with Asian Star printed on the back and the number depicting their age group before being whisked away for interviews. It marked the end of Asian Star 2012 and head of the Chelsea Foundation, Simon Taylor, said, "It's been an absolutely fantastic day, the weather's been lovely, there's been a great atmosphere and we've seen some very talented footballers on show."

"The kids have loved it and so have the adults. This year we've engaged with the parents a lot more, there have been a few presentations which have been extremely well received so hopefully everybody involved has had a great day."

VIDEO: IFA (West Bengal) medical unit disappearance

Fellow journalist Prosun Biswas did this interesting and investigate piece for a Bengali news channel on the erstwhile medical unit of the Indian Football Association (West Bengal) which used to be based at the Eden Gardens. It was mainly intended for footballers playing on the Kolkata Maidans, but since the renovation of Eden Gardens ahead of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup the office and the medical equipment had to removed and since then the medical unit has no home with the equipment lying at the Saltlake Stadium to rot.

The report is in Bengali

Minggu, 27 Mei 2012

Peruvian Pizarro returns to Bayern Munich

German Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich have resigned Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro on a one year contract. Pizarro returns to Munich for a second after after having played for the Bavarians from 2001 to 2007 in which he scored 71 goals in 174 matches besides winning numerous Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

Bayern Munich's Director of Sport Christian Nerlinger said, "We are very happy that we were able to sign Claudio Pizzaro, an international player who is dangerous in front of the goal."

Bayern Munich have signed 33 year old Pizarro as back-up to number one striker Mario Gomez as Ivica Olic is leaving the club to VfL Wolfsburg and young Nils Pedersen has had a tough first season in the German top flight. Pizarro brings with him the necessary experience and pedigree as he is the highest foreign goalscorer in the Bundesliga with 160 goals in 333 appearances for Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich.

Like in 2001 Pizarro joins Bayern from Bremen, but this time on a free transfer. He played the last few years at Werder Bremen after a transfer from Bayern Munich to Chelsea FC in 2007, but as he didn't make his breakthrough he first returned to Bremen on loan and then on a permanent contract.

Pizarro is the fourth signing at Bayern Munich for the new season as the club works to strengthen its bench and put more pressure on their star player. Earlier Swiss young midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri (FC Basel), Brazilian defender Dante Bonfim Costa Santos (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and new number two goalkeeper Tom Starke (1899 Hoffenheim) had been signed.

Euro2012: Champions Spain name final squad

Defending champions Spain have named their final 23 players squad for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine. Spain plays Italy, Ireland and Croatia in Group C of the tournament that runs from June 8 to July 1.

Coach Vicente del Bosque has only had one big surprise in his selection as FC Valencia striker Roberto Soldado missed out as did Adrian Lopez from Atletico Madrid, while Chelsea's Fernando Torres and Barcelona's Pedro made the squad.

Earlier Barca duo Carlos Puyol and David Villa had to opt out due to injuries, while Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was dropped with three stronger keepers ahead of him as per del Bosque's assessment.

Spain are going into the tournament as the 2008 European Championships and 2010 FIFA World Cup winners, so a lot will be expected from the Spaniards who will try and win their third major title in a row.


Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (FC Liverpool), Victor Valdes (FC Barcelona)

Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (FC Valencia), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)

Xavi Hernandez (FC Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (FC Malaga), Cesc Fabregas (FC Barcelona), Juan Mata (FC Chelsea)

Jesus Navas (FC Sevilla), Pedro (FC Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (FC Chelsea), Alvaro Negredo (FC Sevilla)

Euro2012: Netherlands announce final squad

Bert van Marwijk, the coach of the Netherlands, yesterday named his final 23 player squad for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine. The Netherlands plays Denmark, Germany and Portugal in Group B of the tournament that runs from June 8 to July 1.

Van Marwijk had originally named a 36 player strong probables squad, then cut it down to 27 players and now announced the final three goalkeepers and 20 outfield players with the big surprises being teenager Jetro Willems and 'Player of Indian origin' Luciano Narsingh making it into the squad.

Van Marwijk dropped Ajax players Vurnon Anita and Siem de Jong, PSV winger Jeremain Lens and promising young AZ Alkmaar midfielder Adam Maher from the squad he announced yesterday, but said that these four players could leave the camp with their heads held high.


Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea City)

Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Wilfred Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), John Heitinga (FC Everton), Joris Mathijsen (FC Malaga), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord Rotterdam), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax Amsterdam), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven)

Ibrahim Afellay (FC Barcelona), Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Stijn Schaars (Sporting Lisbon), Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale Milan), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur)

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04), Luuk de Jong (FC Twente Enschede), Dirk Kuyt (FC Liverpool), Luciano Narsingh (SC Heerenveen), Robin van Persie (FC Arsenal), Arjen Robben (FC Bayern Munich)

66th Santosh Trophy - Final: Services challenge for Tamil Nadu

Services face Tamil Nadu tomorrow in the final of the 66th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. The tournament reaches its climax tomorrow after being played since May 11 across Orissa in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Baragarh.

Tamil Nadu may have qualified for the final of the Santosh Trophy after a gap of 40 years but the young Tamil Nadu team don't seem to live in this era. Barely minutes after their hard-earned semifinal victory against Manipur, they seemed to go back to the Stone Age. If not motionless, expressionless!

Coach Syed Shabir Pasha turned to his boys and smiled. On the Dinner table, his wards were just going through the motions.

"This is the first time they have moved out of Tamil Nadu to play. This is the first time they are getting some exposure. This is the first tournament for most of them," Pasha quips. You look at the players once again. Heads down, eyes on the plate, the only movement was from their hand to mouth. And then, you found it hard to even spot the chewing.

Pasha prefers to run around. Arranging for the ice-bath, co-ordinating the evening stretching session, query about water bottles reaching the players, laundry, food, and other minute details. Seasoned Pasha who is a youngster as coach is in control, stays on top of things and ensures everything works to perfection.

Though he stays more than a thousand miles away, you cannot undermine his presence in the Tamil Nadu set-up, the presence of Colm Joseph Toal, the Head Coach of the Youth Development. "Call me a shadow of Colm," Pasha quips. "He has nurtured me as a coach. Before working with him, I wasn't sure of what to do. But he has fine-tuned me," Pasha, who has worked as an assistant to Colm for age-group National Teams, adds.

"I did speak to him after our semifinal victory. Colm said: 'Carry on the good work.' He will never discourage his student. Never!"

This is Tamil Nadu's only second entry to the final, the earlier one being forty years back. For Services, who have been Champions in 1960/61, it is their seventh final appearance and the last entry to final was in 2007/08.

"Services are a much better side than us," Pasha comes back to the final. "They have prepared long for this tournament. If you pit the players of both the sides on a one-to-one basis, Services will win with ease. They surely stay the favourites," Pasha maintains.

"You just cannot compare both the sides. We are amateurs. If we don't stay organised against them, we will be whipped. They attack fast and come hard at you. They enjoy an edge."

Services coach V. Sajith Kumar smiles. "We will miss our goalkeeper Nanao Singh who is out for a double booking. The semifinal against Kerala has been our best match in the tournament so far," he informs. "A final is a final. We will stick to the strategy and go all out from the start. Though Tamil Nadu looks an organised side, we intend to attack."

Interestingly, Pasha contradicts Sajith. "Most of our boys stay unaware of what a final is. They have never reached this far," he goes on.

Can Tamil Nadu topple the Services applecart? Pasha's eyes stay fixed. "We need to maintain our Shape! Let us enjoy and play well," so much reminiscent of what Colm says.

You turn to the boys again. This time they are moving – up from their tables and proceeding towards their respective rooms.

The final will kick-off at 18.00 IST at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack and the match will be telecast live on DD Sports.

VIDEO: Mercedes ad with Germany Euro2012 squad

German car maker Mercedes, also a sponsor of the German Football Association (DFB), has created a new TV ad with the German national team ahead of the 2012 European Championships. Titled 'A wie Angriff' which is translated as 'A as Attack' it is an ad on Germany and the new A class.

Sabtu, 26 Mei 2012

Germany beaten 3-5 by the Swiss

Germany go into the 2012 European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine as one of the favourites to win the title, but until the tournament starts for the Mannschaft on June 9 with a Group B match against Portugal there is a lot of work waiting for coach Joachim Löw and his team.

In an international friendly this afternoon at the St.Jakobs Park in Basel, Germany suffered a 3-5 defeat at the hands of neighbours Switzerland, who did not qualify for Euro2012 and it was their first victory against Germany in 56 years.

But this Germany will have little to do with the team taking on Portugal then all eight Bayern Munich players missed this match as they only today joined the squad after their UEFA Champions League loss to Chelsea last Saturday. So it gave Löw the chance to test out a few things and he will have taken something back to work on in the next couple of weeks.

After a slow start into the game Switzerland scored two quick goals in the 21st and 23rd minute when striker Eren Derdiyok scored off Tranquillo Barnetta, both now former Bayer 04 Leverkusen players. On the stroke of halftime Germany reduced the deficit through a Mats Hummels header.

After the break Germany were finally in the game, but again the Barnetta-Derdiyok combination worked giving the Swiss a 3-1 lead, Derdiyok's third on the day. Still Germany was not beaten as they had their chances, but they needed the help from Swiss keeper Diego Bernaglio to allow André Schürrle to reduce the deficit in the 64th minute. But on the other side four minutes later young keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen missed the ball for Stephan Lichtsteiner to simply tap in.

Only four minutes later Germany once more reduced the deficit with substitute Marco Reus pushing in the rebound, but the final goal of the night again came after another four minute gap as Admir Mehmedi also scored of another rebound. The Swiss had the last chance of the day but Gelson Fernandes' header hit the crossbar just two minutes from time.

It ended 5-3 for Switzerland, but what was most worrying about Germany were the mistakes in their defence. Surely it could be seen that Germany has been working on their physical fitness over the last couple weeks as they were not as quick as they will need to be in Poland and the Ukraine.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen - Benedikt Höwedes (78' Sven Bender), Per Mertesacker, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer - Semi Khedira (46' Ilkay Gündogan) - Mario Götze (78' Lars Bender) - André Schürrle, Mesut Özil (46' Marco Reus), Lukas Podolski (62' Julian Draxler) - Miroslav Klose [C] (78' Cacau)

Tamil Nadu to meet Services in Santosh Trophy final

Tamil Nadu won their semifinal to reach the finals at the 66th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy after beating Manipur 2-0 and now face Services on Monday in the final. The tournament is being played from May 11 to 28 across Orissa in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Baragarh.

The Tamilians on the field at the Barabati Stadium answered all the prayers as Tamil Nadu held onto a first-half lead to beat Manipur 2-0 and book a summit clash with Services in the final of the 66th Santosh Trophy. Striker A. Reagan scored the first goal in the 35th minute and substitute M. David sealed the fate in the 85th minute.

Tamil Nadu are coached by former India striker Syed Shabir Pasha, who has been an assistant to Colm Joseph Toal for age-group National Teams, the 'Shape' stayed an integral part. Tamil Nadu started on a cautious note and stayed willing to play the waiting game. They allowed their opponents to come to them but never opened their goalmouth. Their penchant for counters also worked wonders for them.

After a series of attacks on the rival citadel, Tamil Nadu eventually gained the lead in the 35th minute. Jayakumar's defence-splitting pass opened up the Manipur defence and striker A. Reagan beat rival stopper James Singh for speed and tapped it past an onrushing rival goalkeeper Sanasam Basant Singh.

Tamil Nadu who looked more purposeful in the first half, should have gained the lead much earlier. In the 20th minute, Nirmal Kumar broke free as James chased but his tap from the top of the box went wide. Nirmal had all the time to go past goalkeeper Basant Singh but he wasn't willing to. And then, four minutes later, Jayakumar after being set in the clear by John Paul, shot straight to Basant from a hand-shaking distance. Manipur fizzled out a bit as the game progressed in the first half. But a Govin Singh header off a corner and a Boy Singh free-kick from just outside the box deserve mention.

Enjoying a one-goal cushion at the interval, Tamil Nadu went into a defensive shell in the second half. The strategy allowed the Manipuris that extra bit of space in the midfield. Manipur's best chance went abegging in the 61st minute – Boy Singh failing to trap a centre from the left and Tamil Nadu goalkeeper Akhil Soman thwarted the danger. That apart, there were quite a few anxious moments in the Tamil Nadu box and Manipuri striker Thoi Singh's diving header even entered the net only to be disallowed for off-side. Tamil Nadu sealed the fate in the 85th minute, a counter-attack doing the trick for them. Substitute M. David finished it off as he slotted past Basant Singh.

Now Tamil Nadu will try to win their first-ever Santosh Trophy title, but Services are in the way of the young team from down south.

The final, which kicks-off at 18.00 IST on Tuesday, April 28 will be telecast live on DD Sports.

Hill All Stars vs Share FC on June 2 in Kalimpong

The Hill All Stars take on local side Share FC on June 2 at the Mela Ground in Kalimpong (District of Darjeeling) to raise funds for Share FC. The Hill All Stars will see I-league stars like Nirmal Chettri and Sanju Pradhan taking part in the match. The match will kick-off at 14.00 IST on Saturday, June 2.

The organisers say they want to use the funds generated from the match for the development of football in the Hills, especially for the development of local Kalimpong club Share FC, which was formed only in May 2010 and a month back created history for football in the Hills by offered legal contracts to all its 26 players as the first club in the region.

The organisers of the match are promoting the game in a big way with hoarding and posters all over Kalimpong town to get as many fans to come to the game as possible with local radio station Red FM helping in the promotion of the match.

The Hill All Stars team will feature players like Nirmal Chettri (India/Mohun Bagan), Sanju Pradhan (Captain, East Bengal), Nim Tshering Lepcha (Captain, United Sikkim FC), Bijendra Rai (India Juniors/Pailan Arrows), Ashish Chettri (India U-16) and host of other professional footballers from the Hills.

Former India captain Baichung Bhutia has also given his full support for the match and has donated his India and United Sikkim FC Jerseys for auction. Sanju Pradhan and Nirmal Chetri will also do the same and the organisers hope to raise funds from the auctions of these jersey's.

Alvito & Gouramangi complete Level 2 Coaching License

Former Indian international and East Bengal Club legend Alvito Rolando Correia D'Cunha besides current Indian international centre-back Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh have both completed the first step in their Level 2 Coaching License held at the FC Middlesbrough Academy in Darlington, UK over the last few days. They will return in few months for the assessment to complete their UK Level 2 Coaching License.

Both the players repeatedly said that were very happy about the course as they learned a lot of things which will help them progress in the future as coaches. The course instructor Ian Kerr took special care of his Indian students who were very thankful for the help provided.

They were also delighted by the fact that many other professional footballers did the course with them, amongst them numerous EPL player including former England international Jonathan Woodgate.

The standard of learning and teaching was good although it was long days of learning, which are unusual for football players, but still both Alvito and Mangi enjoyed it and learnt a lot in the course. The two will be back somewhere between three months to one year to sit for the final assessment test and complete the Level 2 Coaching Licence. Both are planning to start their 'B' Coaching License by next summer and build on what they have learned in this course.

The UK Level 2 Coaching License course has been made possible for Alvito and Gouramangi by the English 'Professional Footballers Association', who have tied-up with the Football Players Association of India to provide courses for Indian footballers from now on and in the future. The hope of the FPAI/PFA is to develop quality coaches from the pool of former Indian players.

VIDEO: Funny Ad with Netherlands Euro2012 team

A Dutch supermarket company has made a funny ad with the Netherlands Euro2012 team which includes a funny song, some really nice comedy and action in a supermarket.

Jumat, 25 Mei 2012

FC Bayern Youth Cup: India finish fifth

The final of the inaugural FC Bayern Youth Cup was played yesterday (May 24) at the clubs Allianz Arena infront of 800 mainly school students with teams from Austria, China, India, Italy and host nation Germany taking part. The FCB Youth Cup is for boys in the 14 to 16 years age group with country/regional qualifiers held over the last few months to decide who would represent their country at the finals.

The format of the FC Bayern Youth Cup finals was round robin and teams of eight players out of squads of 10 took on each other with each team playing four matches of 20 minutes duration each. In the end the Italians won ahead of the Austrians, who both finished on the same number of points. China, Germany and India finished in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

The Indian team finished last following two draws and two defeats in their round robin league matches though the Indian boys played a good tournament, but after losing 0-1 in a close encounter against Germany they drew two-all against China. A talented India missed numerous scoring opportunities in the tournament which in the end resulted in the Indians finishing last, but the experience should help the boys in their overall football development.

The Indian representative team was put together from close to 1,100 boys who showed themselves to the FC Bayern Munich scouts at the Indian-leg of the FC Bayern Youth Cup in New Delhi and Mumbai last year before the best 10 were chosen from a 11 A-Side match ahead of the India vs Bayern Munich friendly on January 10 in New Delhi.

The FC Bayern Youth Cup has been made possible by FCB partners and sponsors adidas, Audi, Lufthansa, Trentino, UniCredit and Yingli Solar.

Services scrape past Kerala to enter Santosh Trophy final

Services are the first team to reach the finals at the 66th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy after beating Kerala 2-1 and now await the winner of the second semifinal Manipur and Tamil Nadu. The tournament is being played from May 11 to 28 across Orissa in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Baragarh.

Services surged into the lead as early as the fifth minute when Kerala stopper Mohammed Marsook failed to clear a Sanju Subba cross in the box and Subrata Sarkar was agile enough to capitalise – chipping it over Kerala custodian Joby Joseph. After the early set-back Kerala tried to regroup. But they weren't allowed the space in midfield to manoeuvre as the nippy Services recovered faster than their rivals. Upfront Kerala striker R. Kannan with his deft touches and positional sense did catch the rivals unaware a couple of times, but he didn't get much support. Maybe that prompted Kannan to go solo. In the 19th minute, his ambitious over-head kick sailed over and then in the 34th minute his long-ranger was fisted over by Services goalkeeper Nanao Singh.

For Services, Captain Gordon Zoramchhana who preferred to fall down and operate from the deep, played the pivotal role. He often fed Santu Subba, who broke through quite a few times down the right. The goal apart, Services' best chance came in the 36th minute when Subrata failed to beat Joby from close after being set in the clear by a Horin through pass. Five minutes later Kerala striker Usman missed an easier one. Off a corner, Kannan soared above all to head it to an unmarked Usman P. who blasted wide even as Nanao stayed out of position.

Changing over, Services doubled the lead in the 50th minute. A harmless P.S. Sumesh cross was back-headed into his own net by Kerala defender Mohammed Marsook. But Kerala didn't give-up. In the 55th minute, Kannan broke down the right and his low centre needed a tap from Usman; but the latter failed. Kerala did attack relentlessly as Kannan wrecked havoc in the Services box for most part of the second half. But even he failed to reduce the margin when he blasted out from inside the box in the 70th minute. Services goalkeeper Nanao's reflexes further denied Kerala within a span of two minutes. First in the 75th minute, he denied Shibinlal’s first-timer and then in the 77th minute, he palmed away Usman's tap to frustrate Kerala. However, Nanao pulling down Usman in the 83rd minute in the box with substitute Vineet Anthony converting from the spot.

With a few minutes remaining Kerala went all out. But Services survived some anxious moments and managed to hold on to reach the finals.

Standard Chartered Corporate Soccer 5s 2012 - CEOs/Celebrities v/s NGO Kids

Mumbai's top CEOs and Celebrities are set to play a friendly football match against the kids from Go Forward football training camp in the Standard Chartered Bank Corporate Soccer 5s 2012.

Standard Chartered Bank, India's largest international bank, is sponsoring this seasons Standard Chartered Corporate Soccer 5s 2012, an inter-corporate soccer championship at the Western Railway Sports Stadium (Mahalxmi OPP Phoenix Mills, Tulsi Pipe Road) on May 26/27 and the tournament bring together Mumbai's leading corporate houses.

Tomorrow, Saturday evening a special highlight will be an exhibition match between India Inc's bigwigs/leading Celebrities including Sunil Kaushal, Regional Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Bank and a feisty team of kids from Go Forward, Standard Chartered's football training camp for BMC School kids. The match will kick-off at 6.30 p.m.

The CEOs taking part are Sunil Kaushal (Regional Chief Executive, India & South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank), Nitin Paranjpe (CEO and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd), Rajeev Piramal (Executive Vice - Chairman, Peninsula Land Ltd), Ashwini Kakkar (Executive Vice Chairman, Mercury Travels & Chairman of VIA Ltd), Rajnish Narula (CEO at Canara Robeco and Country Manager,India at Robeco), Partha Chatterjee (Executive Director, Keys Hotels), K. Sudarshan (Managing Director, EMA Partners, Sumeet Singla (Regional Head, Corporate Affairs, India & South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank).

Further the Celebrities taking part are Cyrus Broacha (TV anchor, theatre personality, political satirist, columnist and author. He is also a stand-up comedian and prankster, best known for his show The Week That Wasn't on CNN-IBN), Viren Rasquinha (former Indian Hockey Captain), Mini Mathur (Indian actress & television personality. She was a video jockey on MTV India. She is also a co-host of the Indian reality singing contest Indian Idol), Sheena Chohan (Indian actress & model, Won the "I am voice" title at Miss India Universe, Face and Brand Ambassador of Youth for Human Rights India and The Way to Happiness Foundation-India), Bunty Walia (Film Producer), Sachin Sharma (Television Actor).

Manipur await Tamil Nadu youngsters challenge

The 66th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy is being played from May 11 to 28 across Orissa in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Baragarh. Tomorrow in the second semifinal in Cuttack, Manipur take on Tamil Nadu.

For a state which has been the nursery of Indian football for the last decade, Manipur, who are still to have an I-League club from the state look up to the Santosh Trophy to make a mark. "When you look around, you will see footballers all over – on the streets, on the fields, on the grounds. The ball stays an inseparable part of our lives," Premakanta Singh, Manipur's Assistant Coach, a former Senior Women's National Team Coach says in one breath. "To break into an I-League Club, you need the exposure. Santosh Trophy stays the platform for us," he quips.

Kiron Khongsai, Gunabir Singh, Renedy Singh, Tomba Singh, Gouramangi Singh – the list of Manipur players stay endless. It seems to be in the blood not only of the Manipuris but of the entire North-East region. After all, the first National Team Captain of Independent India Dr. T. Ao also hails from the region, from the state of Nagaland.

"We know they will be nippy and come hard at us," former India international Syed Shabir Pasha, presently the Tamil Nadu coach, maintains. "The average age of our side stays 24 and for 85 percent of our boys, this is their first major Championship," he informs.

"It's futile to expect a boy to stick to state team when they have offers from I-League teams. Sadly, we don't have any I-League team from our state. So the Santosh Trophy stays of utter importance to us," Pasha, coach of Indian Bank - Chennai who also works as an assistant coach to Colm Toal, adds.

Speak to Pasha and his eyes lit up about his association with the Santosh Trophy as a player. "During our days (in the 1990s), it was different. Santosh Trophy was all about glamour. West Bengal were the toughest to beat. They had almost the entire India XI line-up playing for them," he goes nostalgic. "Nowadays, the concept is different as the tournament is all about development and for us; it stays our I-League."

"None of the four semifinalists in the tournament boast of an I-League club (Chirag Kerala have just been relegated). This proves there is talent all over. Give them the platform and they will entertain you," Pasha ponders.

The historic Barabati Stadium awaits the kick-off at 18.30 IST.

Interview with Sunando Dhar (I-League CEO)

I have had the chance to speak to I-League CEO Sunando Dhar about the I-League, the current scenario and its future besides the problems the league is facing especially with the club forming their own Indian Professional Football Clubs Association.

First of all congratulations for your contract extension! What would you name as your biggest achievements as I-League CEO in the more then two years you have been in the job?

Thank you so much. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciations to the Executive Committee of AIFF, specially Mr. Patel and Mr. Das for having the faith in me and extending my contract. I would also appreciate the efforts put in by all my colleagues in the Football House for the past 2½ years.

One of the biggest thing that we have been able to achieve is implementation of the AFC Club Licensing Criteria, something that would help all the clubs to set up a professionally managed unit which will be beneficial to each of them in the long run. We have been able to set up the I-League department at the Football House which has worked tirelessly throughout the year towards the smooth conduct of the League.

I would also like to thank the AFC for the role they played in helping India to take the first few steps forwards being a professionally managed unit involving AIFF and I-League to be part of the elite Pro League Committee, which helped us to learn and adapt from all the best practices used in Asia.

One of the first thing, we wanted to do was to come out with the full I-League Fixture which helped the club to plan properly and also helped us immensely as far as the logistics were concerned. With all my colleagues at AIFF, we have been able to finalize the calendar for the 2012-13 season well in advance so that everyone associated with football in the country would have the details in regard to the tournaments and their exact dates. Few small steps have been taken but I am sure with continued support from everyone we can achieve a lot more.

The fifth season of the I-League concluded earlier this month, but there is a lot of confusion about the future of the I-League. Baichung Bhutia spoke over the weekend about a league expansion from 14 to 16 teams. Is this on the cards?

We definitely plan to extend the League from the existing 14 clubs and make it ultimately a 20 team I-League. But as of now there are no plans to change the format for the 2012-13 season which would consist of 14 teams like last year.

Also everyone is looking forward to the long awaited plans from IMG-Reliance. What do you as the league's CEO expect from the IMG-Reliance plans?

IMG-Reliance came on board little more then a year back and we have had some discussions in regard to making the I-League a bigger and a better property. We are awaiting the final plan from IMG-Reliance which would be discussed in the near future and once approved by the AIFF, we would take it to the clubs. One of the areas of concern as far as the I-League is concerned, has been with the League being restricted in few pockets only. Obviously one of the plans that we are working on is to see how we can expend the game and take it to different parts of the country and give it a more national feeling. It would not be right for me to say anything more at this point as IMGR as well as AIFF is working very closely on a master plan which would be shared with everyone at the earliest.

The clubs have formed their own organisation in the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association. They say their interests aren't taken care off, they spend crores on their teams but can't recoup most of their money. What do you say? What needs to change?

I have been given to understand that the I-League clubs have formed an association but they have always maintained that the same has been done with an aim to work closely with the AIFF for the overall development of Indian football. Both the clubs as well as Federation and IMG-Reliance are a part of the big football family in India and I have no doubt that we all need to work together closely if we need take Indian football forward. The clubs form an integral part of the football fraternity in any country and definitely their contribution is second to none. We all have our problems and shortcomings but the secret of a happy family is to work together and help each other overcome these shortcomings so that the family can become shorter.

I sincerely hope that this new association would work closely with AIFF, I-League and IMGR to take Indian Football forward!

The overall budget of organising the I-League has gone-up considerably over the last few years. Where does it stand now and with what budget are you calculating next season?

The overall budget of everything in India is going up and so is that of the I-League too. We had obviously increased the daily allowance along with the prize money for the teams last season which increased our overall budget appreciably from around Rs. 12,5 to Rs. 15 Crores. A major chunk of the budget goes towards the cost towards airline tickets. Hence the budget for the season 2012-13 would surely go up by another 10-15%.