Kamis, 28 Februari 2013

Lalkamal Bhowmick: This team isn't about a specific set of players

"Go Lalkamal go", instructs Wim Koevermans and the pace increases. His hair fluttering, the Prayag United midfielder stays omnipresent in the practice sessions. Later, in an interview to AIFF Media, Lalkamal Bhowmick spoke at length about his views on the 'much more pan-Indian squad', changes brought in by Wim Koevermans, learning to be patient and much more.

What is it like to be a part of the National squad?

It's a sense of pride as much it is an assurance that you have been awarded for your perseverance. It's also a part of your confidence building especially in a country like India. When I sit back and think about it, it gives me goose bumps. We are a vast country but now I'm among the best 23 in the country! I'm better than my neighbour; I'm better than, perhaps my best friend; I'm better than most. It's a feeling which can't be shared but felt.

Is it frustrating to sit out and wait for your debut?

Not at all! I've just broken into the squad and I know I will have to wait. I also know that sooner or later, my chance will come. There's a reason as to why I am in the squad of 23; at the same time, one needs to understand as to why I'm not yet made my debut. The Coach has certain plans for me as he has for everyone. My job is to improve as a player with his inputs and prepare myself for the moment. Life is all about a learning curve. You need to learn to be patient.

Did you find adjusting a bit tough in the National squad?

Not really! My role in my club stays the same as it is under Wim Koevermans. We play the same system. Adjustment hasn't been a problem at all. Instead, I felt much more comfortable from my first day. And as for my teammates, I know all of them as much they know me. It's not an alien land at all.

How much did the camp in Pune help?

It was very good. We have planned a lot for the AFC Challenge Cup. The Camp has helped to build up the sense of belonging and oneness among all. The team spirit is excellent. Besides, the Coach stressed on high intensity practice sessions which were backed by video analysis. It was fun and work at the same time.

How much has the National Team changed over the years?

I have noticed two distinct changes. The long-ball play has been shelved and there's a lot much emphasis on possession football. Today, it's also not all about the ball; rather, it's a whole lot about how and what you do to get it back when you don't have possession. Nowadays, we play modern football.

Moreover, it's not the same set of players in the National squad. Earlier, there weren't many or should I say, any changes. Whatever the result, the same set of players were persisted with. That isn't the case now. There are so many new faces in the squad. Perform and play, stays the new philosophy. This team isn't just about a specific set of players.

Can you elaborate?

Not long back, there was a perception that you need to represent a Big Team to play in the National team. But today if you look around, you notice players from Pailan Arrows, United Sikkim Football Club sweating it out in the Camp with the others. If you go through the squad, you'll find four players from Prayag United in the squad. That was something unheard of in Indian football not long back. There is a pan-Indian presence.

(Interview & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

United Sikkim FC on training visit to Bhutan

A 23-member United Sikkim FC squad on Wednesday, February 27 proceeded for a 10-day camp at Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan. The squad consists of 19 players and four officials including head coach Nathan Hall.

I-League side United Sikkim FC would be playing three friendly matches at Thimpu organized by the Bhutan Football Federation. All three matches are against local Bhutanese club sides at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimpu.

USFC on March 2 take on Drukpol FC, play on March 5 against Zimdra FC and then finally take on Yeedzin FC on March 7.

United Sikkim CEO and co-owner Baichung Bhutia is joining the team at Thimpu on March 6 for the final game.

Besides Nathan Hall the USFC officials travelling with the team are senior manager Arjun Rai, physio Sheril Lepcha and masseur Ranjit Das.

The travelling USFC players are Monotosh Ghosh, Rakshit Kumar, Pawan Chettri, Anwar, Sandesh Jhingan, Ashish Chettri, Sonam Zangpo Bhutia, Munmun Timoty Lugun, Sahenshah Ansari, Syed Farid, Nima Tamang, Nim Tshering Lepcha, Thupden Tshering Bhutia, Linekar Machado, Mashangva Genius Zenith, Nadong Bhutia, Jiten Rai, Sagar Rai, Pablo Rodriquez Aracil.

VIDEO: Kerala 2-1 Maharashtra match highlights

Here the report from IndiaVision on co-hosts Kerala beating Maharashtra 2-1 in extra-time of the first semifinal of the 67th Santosh Trophy this evening.

67th Santosh Trophy: Kerala overcome Maharashtra in overtime

Shimin Lal of Kerala made sure that there would be more people at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium than the picturesque Kerala backwaters on Sunday, March 3 by scoring the 2-1 winner late in extra-time against Maharashtra in the first semifinal of the 67th Santosh Trophy.

The five-time Nationals champions will now face either defending champions Services or Punjab in the summit clash on Sunday.

It was the home side who looked the hungrier of the two to draw first blood in a riveting contest where both the outfits went for the offensive from the word go.

In the opening exchanges, Kannan's shot was ably blocked by the Ranjan Salam of Maharashtra for a corner. The resultant flag kick saw Kannan's partner upfront Usman rise above the visitors' defenders to send a stinging header inches wide.

Every attempt on goal got a loud cheer from the crowd who thronged in numbers to watch their team in action. Kerala came closest to scoring in the final third of the first essay when Usman's angled left footer missed the target with the goalkeeper at his mercy.

The hosts had a moment of scare too. Goalkeeper Jean Christian needlessly came out of his line in the 43rd minute to catch the loose ball. It needed winger Sumesh's alacrity to make up for the custodian’s goof up.The feted Maharashtra ex-international duo of N.P. Pradeep and Mohammed Rafi – both from Kerala – were bottled up expertly too by the Kerala defence.

To make matters worse, Rafi picked up an injury in the first half and had to be replaced by Anas Ibnu Salam in the 36th minute. Kerala started the match without their regular captain P Rahul – ruled out due to injury. His replacement Nazarudeen too could not last the distance, picking up a niggle in the 33rd minute.

Things changed after the break. Usman's powerful strike in the 53rd minute struck the horizontal. Referee Ranjith Bakshi pointed towards the dreaded spot seconds later, due to handball inside the box during the melee that followed the shot. The lanky striker converted with minimal fuss sending the goalkeeper in the wrong direction.

But out of the blue, the visitors equalised through F. Lalrempuia in the 71st minute. Breaking the avalanche of attacks from Kerala, Lalrempuia unleashed a perfect right-footer from outside the box to beat Jean Christian in the Kerala goal to bring the match on level terms. This meant extra-time.

Shibin Lal, brilliantly set-up by substitute Ahammed Malik, set the crowd on fire after letting loose a rasping right-footer from the edge of the 18-yard box in the 118th minute. This meant that Kerala would contest Sunday's final.

Players of East Bengal & Churchill Brothers' join Team India in Myanmar

All the remaining players of the Indian senior national team have joined the rest of the squad in Yangon, Myanmar. While the Churchill Brothers players landed in Yangon late on Wednesday evening, the East Bengal players joined the squad earlier today.

While the four Churchill Brothers players – Sunil Chhetri, Sandip Nandy, Lenny Rodrigues and Denzil Franco arrived directly from Hong Kong, the three East Bengal players – Raju Gaikwad, Mehtab Hossain and Robin Singh arrived from Kolkata via Singapore. All the seven were away for their respective club commitments in the AFC Cup.

"It's nice to have them back," said national coach Wim Koevermans. "They need sufficient rest and at the same time need to acclimatise to the new time zone and recover fast," he added.

Captain Sunil Chhetri who joined Churchill Brothers on loan from Sporting Lisbon said, he's "back with more confidence".

2I got to play two matches and even scored two goals. That makes me more confident. Playing full 90 minutes in two consecutive matches that too one in the AFC Cup has added to my morale" he maintained. "This is a very important tournament for us and we can’t rest back and relax."

Mehtab Hossain, the East Bengal midfielder quipped that it "feels nice to have come back from winning an AFC Cup match".

"After a victory in our first match in the AFC Cup, we head into the AFC Challenge Cup with a lot more confidence. We are fit and raring to go," he informed.

Denzil Franco, sitting next added, "It obviously feels nice to be back in the National squad. We will give our best in the forthcoming Tournament."

All the seven players were part of a limbering session at the Yangon Training Centre, the match venue, even as the rest sweated it all over on the field.

AIFF Player-of-the-Year Syed Rahim Nabi echoed that with the seven players joining the team, the squad now stays 'complete'.

"These seven players add to our strength. We don't have much time prior to our first match against Chinese Taipei. We needed them back badly for the sessions," he pronounced.

"The National Team has always been a special place for me. It's nice to be back again. This is an important tournament in my career," East Bengal striker Robin Singh said.

India play their first match against Chinese Taipei on March 2 at the Yangon Training Centre.

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

The AFC statement on Lebanon match-fixing case

The Asian Football Confederation has received the summary report from the Lebanese Football Association on their investigations and subsequent action against involvement of Lebanese players in match-fixing. AFC has also requested the Lebanese Football Association to provide the full investigation report.

The Lebanese Football Association has informed the Member Associations of India, Malaysia and Indonesia of sanctions on Lebanese players plying their trade in these countries. As per Article 140 of the AFC Disciplinary Code "a sanction imposed by a Member Association has the same effect in each Member Association of AFC as if the sanction had been imposed by any one of them".

The three players who are playing outside Lebanon are: Mahmoud El Ali (Persiba Balipapan, Indonesia), Ramez Dayoub (Selangor FA, Malaysia) and Akram Moghrabi (Churchill Brothers SC, India).

It is interesting to note that Akram Moghrabi just a few days ago left Churchill Brothers SC

The AFC has no knowledge on any suspicion surrounding Lebanon's any of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

The AFC would like to congratulate the Lebanese Football Association for carrying out the investigation and imposing sanctions on its players and would continue to support such initiatives by our Member Associations.

The AFC has also set up an internal task force to educate the Member Associations on ways and measures to combat this menace and monitor and coordinate with everyone involved to fight match-fixing in AFC competitions.

VIDEO: East Bengal vs Selangor FA match analysis

Here the XtraTime match analysis of the opening Group H match between East Bengal Club and Selangor FA of Malaysia at the Saltlake Stadium yesterday. The red-and-gold won 1-0.

67th Santosh Trophy: Humdinger on the cards as Services meet Punjab

In the second semifinal of the 67th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy defending champions Services take on seven time winners Punjab at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi tomorrow. And it will be a battle of wits when two heavyweights cross swords.

While Punjab are likely to play the aerial ball more to help their tall strikers like Amandeep Singh and Prem Kumar make early forays into the Services defence, the defending champions would prefer to string together short passes which suits their fleet footed players like Z.V. Zorin and Shadip Rai.

It will be interesting to see how the two coaches – Sajith Kumar of Services and Harnik Singh of Punjab – strategize to counter each other's different style of play. For the moment though, they preferred to hold their cards close to their chests.

"They play the aerial ball more because of the tall players in their arsenal. Our style is completely different as we play more possession football and ground passes. We like to open spaces as our players are suited to that. Our flank movement is very god and am banking a lot of that. My players are very fast with the ball and without it too. This is our advantage. Well, obviously we have got a plan to counter their game play but let's not get into that too much," Sajith Kumar quipped.

"Punjab are a very strong side and they have done really well to reach this far. They are gelling well and we have to put our best foot forward in order to win," added the Services Coach.

Punjab have won all their three quarterfinal matches in what was a Group of Death with 31-times champions Bengal, last year's semifinalists Manipur and an in-form Karnataka.

For Services, who won the trophy after more than half a century last year, it has been a mixed bag thus far. Starting their campaign with a draw against Railways, they mauled Madhya Pradesh 6-0 before toiling hard to beat Orissa 2-0.

Kumar though does not want to dwell on the past. "We did have a mixed outing in the quarterfinals but I thought my boys showed character to wriggle out of difficulties and played some scintillating football as well, against MP."

The match will kick-off at 18-30 IST and will be LIVE on DD SPORTS.

Mumbai's PIFA name squad for 2nd Division I-League

The Premier India Football Academy (PIFA) from Mumbai have announced their list of 28 players including three foreigners for the 2nd Division I-League. They have been registered as PIFA Sports FC with the AIFF for the tournament.

PIFA Sport FC ,earlier known as PIFA Colaba FC, will be playing for the third time in the 2nd Division I-League. The team will be coached by UEFA A licensed coach Faruk Ahmed and the team has signed three African players in Vincent Asuquo (Nigeria), James Phiri (Zimbabwe) and Emmanuel Okoye (Nigeria).

Also in the team is Varin Mehta, who has had a stint with Belgium side Royal Antwerp and is now back in India.

PIFA Sports FC have been drawn in Group B, to be played in Indore, alongside Aizwal FC (Mizoram), Aryan Club (Kolkata), Bhowanipore Club (Kolkata), Green Valley SC (Guwahati), Josco FC (Kerala), Mohammedan Sporting Club (Kolkata), Royal Wahingdoh FC (Shillong) and Simla Youngs FC (Delhi).


James Swamy, Neeraj Sharma

Field Players
Shabbir Ali, Aavesh Shaikh, Nihal Chandran, Roshan Karmaran, Sam Cruz, Jacky Khaidem, Varin Mehta, Nagesh Swamy, Dashyanng Kachru, Akash Jain, Tushar Poojary, Nishant Rana, Priyo Kumar, Ravindra Tamatta, Ketan Kalgutkar, Neel Shah, Clifford Garette, Sushil Kawade, Kenneth Desena, Ramakant Pawar, Ashish Pawaskar, Titus Uttankar, Roger Sam, Vincent Asuquo (Nigeria), James Phiri (Zimbabwe), Emmanuel Okoye (Nigeria)

Faruk Ahmed (Coach), Nirvan Shah (Technical Director), Manish Dhabliya (Physio), Sudhakar Rane (Manager), Tejesh Sharma (Assistant Manager)

Rabu, 27 Februari 2013

117th IFA Shield: Change in Fixtures, United Sikkim FC replace Mumbai FC

The Indian Football Association has released an updated fixtures list for the 117th IFA Shield which will kick-off on March 3, but the date of the final continues to be open due to continental obligations of East Bengal Club and if they make it to the shield semifinals and/or final, then only will those matches be finalised with the final then likely on March 19.

Also Mumbai FC had to opt out of the tournament due to unavoidable circumstances and their place has been taken by another I-League side in United Sikkim FC.

In Group A, which will be played in Siliguri, East Bengal Club take on Muktijoddha Sangsad KC from Bangladesh, United Sikkim FC and Prayag United SC; while in Group B Mohun Bagan AC, Pune FC, Pailan Arrows and Deportivo Saprissa from Costa Rica face each other in Kalyani and the Saltlake Stadium.

The tournament winner would receive Rs 2,5 Million (25 lakhs), while the runners-up would get Rs 1,5 Million (15 lakhs) and the losing semifinalists Rs 500,000 (5 lakhs). In individual prizes, the Man of the Match in the group stage would get Rs 5,000 and the Man of the Match in the semifinals and final Rs 10,000. The Player of the Tournament would receive Rs 25,000 and the Best Coach Rahim Saheb Award would get Rs 100,000 (1 lakh).

NewsTime Bangla is the television partner of the 117th IFA Shield and will be showing numerous matches live.


Group A - Siliguri
03-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - United Sikkim FC (2.30pm)
05-Mar-2013: Prayag United SC - United Sikkim FC (2.30pm)
06-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - Muktijoddha Sangsad KC (2.30pm)
08-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - Prayag United SC (5.30pm)
09-Mar-2013: United Sikkim FC - Muktijoddha Sangsad KC (2.30pm)
11-Mar-2013: Prayag United SC - Muktijoddha Sangsad KC (2.30pm)

Group B
04-Mar-2013: Deportivo Saprissa - Pune FC (Kalyani, 3.00pm)
05-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Pailan Arrows (Kalyani, 3.00pm)
07-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Pune FC (Kalyani 3.00pm)
08-Mar-2013: Deportivo Saprissa - Pailan Arrows (Saltlake, 3.00pm)
10-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Deportivo Saprissa (Kalyani 3.00pm)
10-Mar-2013: Pune FC - Pailan Arrows (Saltlake, 3.00pm)

1?-Mar-2013: Winner Group A - Runners-Up Group B
1?-Mar-2013: Winner Group B - Runners-Up Group A

1?-Mar-2013: Winner SF1 - Winner SF2

67th Santosh Trophy: Hosts Kerala face inform Maharashtra

In the first semifinal of the 67th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy Maharashtra will have to once again bring to the fore their doggedness that helped them reach the last-four stage when they lock horns with hosts Kerala at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi tomorrow.

Maharashtra peaked at the right time after somehow staying afloat in the qualifying round with just one win from three matches. But there was no looking back for the four-time champions since then. Thrashing the likes of Jharkhand and Goa 4-1 and 3-0 respectively before edging Tamil Nadu 2-1 in the quarters, the N.P. Pradeep's and Mohammed Rafi's showed the appetite for the elusive which they last clinched 13 years ago.

But they will have to brave the acid test in the form of Kerala who will look to reap dividends from their home advantage, which according to their coach M.M. Jacob is the biggest morale booster.

"The home support here is tremendous. Kerala is known for vociferous crowds. They'll yell their lungs out for the locals and in a semifinal clash. I can imagine how it will be. Needless to say this will be our biggest strength and we will look to cash on it. I don't want to disappoint the supporters," he said.

"Having said that, Maharashtra are a good team. They are in good form and will be more than a handful," he added.

"We have conceded some last goals in the last two matches and that is a concern. We need to improve on that and plug the gaps well. I am not particularly happy with the way we played in the last few matches but surely we will pick ourselves up."

Maharashtra Coach Farooq Ahmad echoed his counterpart in the home advantage aspect. "The crowd will be a huge advantage for them going into the clash. We need to on our toes. The fact that we will be travelling from Kollam to Kochi is another factor," he maintained.

"Players will be a bit tired but that cannot be an excuse. We are up against it. Our team is a blend of youth and experience with the likes of Mohammed Rafi and N.P. Pradeep in the team. So we are confident of a good show."

For the hosts, key midfielder Rakesh K. - nursing an injury - will be unavailable for match while captain Rahul P. stays a doubtful starter.

For the visitors, striker Francisco Salin will be missing.

The match will kick-off at 18-30 IST and will be LIVE on DD SPORTS.

Jeje Lalpekhlua: Koevermans has helped me improve my turning

Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua after over a year is back to 'where he belongs' - Team India. Since his ankle injury, Jeje, touted as the most exciting prospect in Indian Football, says he has seen the worst of times. In his first interview since getting a call back into the National squad, the Mizo striker speaks as length to AIFF Media about the phase which he wants to forgets fast, his immediate targets, his improvement under Wim Koevermans and much more.

How is it to be back in the National squad?

Every player sweats hard to be here. It feels nice and makes me more confident as a player that I am back in the National squad after more than a year. My ankle injury had kept me out of the AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal in March 2012 and since then it has been a battle, more within my own self to be back.

I see this as a new beginning and will work harder and wait for my chance.

How did you motivate yourself when you were hit by injury and simultaneously out of the Senior squad?

Football motivated me more than anything else. I just wanted to be back playing again for my club. More than the physical aspect, an injury hits you hard mentally as a player. You start thinking that you won't ever have the strength to be back. Serious doubts kept creeping in. But at the same time, it makes you tougher as a player as you have already seen the worst of times.

This is the first time you are in the squad under Wim Koevermans. How do you see him from close?

The first and foremost thing that will appeal to you is his nature. I'd say, as much he is a Coach, he is simultaneously a true gentleman and a very caring human being. That's an extraordinary and a very rare combination, I must say.

Technically, he has fine-tuned me a lot. He explained to me as to how I could be sharper with my turning and off-the-ball play. I like his style a lot.

What are your targets?

As a striker, I'd say to score as many goals as possible. But the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 (Qualifiers) stay the immediate target - not only for me but for the entire contingent. We are a good unit and need believe in ourselves.

You have played against Chinese Taipei and Myanmar in the recent past. What can we expect from them?

I made my Senior India debut against Chinese Taipei in the AFC Challenge Cup (qualifiers) in Malaysia in 2011. I remember scoring in the match as we won 2-1. Then, in the U-23 Olympic Qualifiers, I scored against Myanmar in Pune as we went on to win 2-1. I can tell you, both of the teams are very competitive ones and would pose a huge threat. And there's Guam too.

The Coach has shown us some videos and we need to stick to his plans!

(Interview & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

VIDEO - AFC Cup: East Bengal vs Selangor match highlights

Here are the match highlights of the match between East Bengal Club and Selangor FA from Malaysia, which includes Lalrindika Ralte long-range winner for the red-and-gold.

Wim Koevermans: Acclimatising fast is very important!

Keeping in mind that in Asia 'you need to travel long', National Coach Wim Koevermans insisted on arriving early in Yangon for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. In an interview to AIFF Media, Koevermans talks about the intensity of his training sessions, challenges of acclimatisation, the couple of injuries in the Preparatory Camp, India's opening opponent in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers and much more.

Are you satisfied the manner the Preparatory Camp in Pune shaped up?

Very much! The boys worked hard and so did the staff. There was a reason for the Camp and we accomplished it. I need to thank the authorities in Pune for their cooperation and also the All India Football Federation for arranging for the Preparatory Camp. Things are working in the right direction and that's important.

What do you make of the players prior and after the Camp?

The players will always have to get used to the tempos of the training sessions. The sessions were of very high intensity and everyone adjusted well.

At the moment we are focusing on Chinese Taipei, our first opponent in the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 (Qualifiers). It's the first game of the Tournament and a really important one for us. We are providing them the information and they are learning about them.

How much have the couple of injuries (to Arnab Mondal and Sandesh Jhingan) in the Preparatory Camp affected your plans?

Unfortunately injuries are always a part of any training camp, anywhere in the World. They were freak ones but we need to move on. That's the reason we had called for a bigger group of players. Even after Sandesh (Jhingan) was ruled out, we called for an extra defender (Rowilson Rodrigues) to ensure we had enough quality players for the Tournament.

India are the first team to have landed in Yangon. How much is acclimatisation important in such a Tournament?

I'd say, most important! The idea stays to get enough rest to overcome and adjust after the hectic travel schedules. Travelling is tiring and takes its toll, especially if you travel to a different time zone; and one needs to remember that in Asia, you need to travel long. Hence, acclimatisation is important. We need to get it out of system. The boys have adjusted superbly so far and we even had a light practice session on the first afternoon.

However, having said that, the boys from Churchill Brothers and East Bengal couldn't arrive together with the Group, courtesy the AFC Cup schedule. They need to recover fast and stay fresh.

You have had a look at the Videos – what do you make of your opponents?

We take every opposition seriously. In a build-up to a match, we need to analyse our rival teams and stay 100 percent prepared. We need to see the players, their qualities, their strengths and weaknesses and prepare accordingly.

(Interview & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

67th Santosh Trophy: Semifinals & Final live on DD Sports

DD Sports will telecast live the semifinals and final of the 67th Santosh Trophy from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, Kerala. The two semifinals are scheduled on February 28 and March 1 while the final will take place on March 3, 2013.

The 67th edition of the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy is being co-hosted by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Kerala with matches played from February 1 to March 3. From the Quarterfinal League onwards the tournament is being played in Kerala only.

Selasa, 26 Februari 2013

AIFF initiates the process incorporating new teams directly into I-League

With an aim to induct a minimum of two new clubs as part of the I-League, the All India Football Federation is conducting an Open House Meeting for interested agencies to discuss and solicit suggestions prior to finalising the Request for Proposal for formally inviting the bids.

The meeting is scheduled on March 5, 2013 from 3 PM at the AIFF Football House, Dwarka in New Delhi.

The winning bidders shall be granted the right to own and operate a new Football Club for competing in I-League from the 2013/14 season onwards and may also have the opportunity (if applicable and subject to qualification) to compete in the Asian Football Confederation organised continental competitions.

AFC Cup: East Bengal face the unknown in Selangor FA

When Kolkata giants East Bengal Club open their AFC Cup Group H campaign against Selangor FA from Malaysia at the Saltlake Stadium today, they will face the unknown as coach Trevor Morgan stated.

Both sides have a lot of respect for each other as became evident at yesterday's pre-match press conference.

"We have not come as a tourist for a holiday trip, the match is very important for us and we will be playing an attacking game with eye on three points," Selangor coach Irfan Bakti said.

He added that East Bengal is a good team with good foreigners both in defence and attack. He also said East Bengal are good in wing play with fast players in these positions. Bakti informed in Malaysian leagues two foreigners are allowed but for AFC Cup they have added to quality Slovakian players in defence and midfield to increase the strength of his side.

East Bengal have had another good local season in India so far, be it Federation Cup, I-League and Calcutta Premier Division; but over the last few years they haven't been able to perform at the Asian level and that is one thing that they would like to set straight.

East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan said he is confident that his boys will put up a good show and added compared to I-League, the AFC Cup is much tougher as higher quality teams participate in these tournaments but he is hopeful of a good show by his players.

Morgan refused divulge his first XI though there are speculations that he could field all four foreigners and that this team would carefully play the first 20 minutes and then see how the match progresses.

AFC Cup: Kitchee win 3-0 against Churchill Brothers

Hongkong side Kitchee SC beat I-League team Churchill Brothers SC in the opening Group E match of the 2013 AFC Cup group stage at the Mong Kok Stadium in Hong Kong. Kitchee took the lead through their left back Chu Siu Kei, while Jorge Tarres scored a brace to round off the scoring.

Churchill Brothers Head Coach Mariano Dias decided to start with Sunil Chhetri and Henri Antchouet upfront, with Lenny Rodrigues and Bikramjit Singh controlling the midfield and with captain Dharmaraj Ravanan and Lamine Tamba at the heart of defence.

In the 28th minute Chu Siu Kei scored from a header from a well placed cross from the left by Yang Huang with the home side doubling their lead in the 31st minute, when Jorge Tarres beat the offside trap and made no mistake in placing the ball past Sandip Nandy. Steven Dias and Sunil Chhetri tried their luck just before the half time whistle, but were thwarted by an alert Wang Zhenpeng.

Churchill Brothers came out stronger in the second half, substitute T. Bineesh Balan injected some much needed pace into the midfield. Yang Huang was sent off in the fifty sixth minute after his second yellow card. Some good defensive play and the woodwork came to Kitchee's rescue to prevent Chhetri, Henri and Bineesh from scoring a much deserved goal for the Goan outfit.

Kitchee SC put the tie to rest in the 66th minute when Jorge Tarres headed home a well placed freekick to get his second of the night. The final chance of the match fell to Amandeep Singh, however his shot from 12 yards out was off target.

Churchill Brothers play their next AFC Cup match in Pune on March 12 againat Semen Padang of Indonesia.

Churchill Brothers SC
42-Sandip Nandy - 12-Denzil Franco, 13-Dharmaraj Ravanan [C], 46-Lamine Tamba, 26-Yumnam Raju Mangang - 23-Steven Benedic Dias, 24-Lenny Rodrigues, 28-Bikramjit Singh, 20-W. Tomba Singh - 47-Sunil Chhetri, 9-Henry Arnaud Antchouet Rebienot

Mohammedan Sporting appoint Sanjoy Sen as new coach

Kolkata side Mohammedan Sporting Club, who will be participating in the 2nd Division I-League, have appointed Sanjoy Sen as their new head coach for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.

After their 1-6 trashing at the hands of East Bengal Club in the Calcutta Premier Division on Saturday coach Aloke Mukherjee resigned for good after he had threatened to do so earlier following poor performances of his team.

The club in their search for a suitable replacement decided to appoint the former Prayag United SC coach Sanjoy Sen.

Sanjoy Sen's aim for the rest of the season will be to gain promotion with Mohammedan Sporting to the I-League from the 2nd Division.

2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers: Team India arrives in Yangon, Myanmar

The Indian senior national football team reached the Myanmar capital Yangon earlier today for the forthcoming 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers which kicks-off on March 2. The squad which left Mumbai late on Monday evening landed early morning at the Yangon International Airport via Singapore.

The boys were greeted by a temperature of 34 degrees even as the forecast predicted a sharp rise in temperature in the coming days. India are the first team from the Group to have arrived in Yangon. Besides hosts Myanmar, Chinese Taipei and Guam are the other teams in the Group.

However, keeping in mind Churchill Brothers' and East Bengal's commitments in the AFC Cup, the squad would be assembling in three batches. The four players from Churchill Brothers – Sandip Nandy, Denzil Franco, Lenny Rodrigues and Sunil Chhetri would be joining the squad on Wednesday, February 27; while the three East Bengal players – Raju Gaikwad, Mehtab Hossain and Robin Singh would be landing in Myanmar the next day, February 28.

"It feels nice to land in Myanmar for the AFC Challenge Cup 2014. It's a tricky Group and all the teams are very competitive ones," National Coach Wim Koevermans, said.

2This is a very important tournament for us - in fact, the most important," winger Clifford Miranda stressed. "We need to play to our potential. The boys are in good shape," he added.

Allrounder Syed Rahim Nabi stays confident the squad will rise to the occasion. "We need to keep our faith in ourselves. We need to back ourselves both on and off the field. We need to behave as a team," Nabi, who was voted the Player-of-the-Year by all I-League Club Coaches, echoed.

Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua who makes a comeback into the National squad after almost a year said the tournament would be a 'challenging one'.

"We have played Myanmar and Chinese Taipei in the recent past and they are very dangerous opponents. Guam would also put up a tough challenge," Jeje, pronounced.

"I'm happy and relieved that my hard work has paid off. Every player wants to be a part of the National squad. This is a new beginning for me. I will have to work harder and wait for my chance," he quipped.

Pailan Arrows defender Shouvik Ghosh maintained the Camp in Pune was a 'fruitful one' by saying, "It was a learning curve for me. The intensity of International Football is what makes a player mature. The Coach did have some specific instructions for me and I'm improving as a player with his suggestions."

India play Chinese Taipei in their first match on March 2, 2013.


Sandip Nandy (Churchill Brothers SC), Subrata Pal (Prayag United SC), Karanjit Singh (Salgaocar FC)

Nirmal Chettri (Mohun Bagan AC), Raju Eknath Gaikwad (East Bengal Club), Denzil Franco (Churchill Brothers SC), Souvik Ghosh (Pailan Arrows), Syed Rahim Nabi (Mohun Bagan AC), Rowilson Rodrigues (Dempo SC), Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh (Prayag United SC), Gurjinder Kumar Singh (Pune FC)

Izumi Arata (Pune FC), Lalkamal Bhowmick (Prayag United SC), Francis Fernandes (Salgaocar FC), Alwyn George (Pailan Arrows), Mehtab Hossain (East Bengal Club), Clifford Miranda (Dempo SC), Jewel Raja Sheikh (Mohun Bagan AC), Lenny Rodrigues (Churchill Brothers SC), C.K. Vineeth (Prayag United SC)

Sunil Chhetri (Churchill Brothers SC), Jeje Lalpekhlua (Pune FC), Robin Singh (East Bengal Club)

Wim Koevermans (Head Coach), Savio Medeira (Assistant Coach), Marcus Pacheco (Goalkeeping Coach)

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

Senin, 25 Februari 2013

2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers: Chinese Taipei name squad

Chinese Taipei have named their 21 players squad for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup Group A qualifiers to be played in Myanmar next month.

Chinese Taipei, who are taking a complete home-based squad to play the qualifiers, are the opening day opponent of Team India with hosts Myanmar and Guam the other teams in the group.


Lu Kun-Chi (Taiwan Power Company FC), Chiang Yung Hsuan (Taiwan Power Company FC), Yang Chun Kuang (Pingtung University of Education football team)

Chen Shanfu (Taiwan Power Company FC), Lin Cheng-Yi (Taiwan Power Company FC), Lee Meng-Chian (Taiwan Power Company FC), Wei Pei Lun (National Sports Training Center), Tsai Sheng-An (Taiwan Power Company FC), Lee Tai-Lin (Taiwan Power Company FC), Yang Chao-Hsun (Shou University SC)

Jiang Minghan (Military Service of the National Training Center), Huang Kai-Jun (Taiwan Power Company FC), Feng Pao-Hsing (Taiwan Power Company FC), Chen Yi-Wei (Taiwan Power Company FC), Chang Fu-Hsiang (Tatung FC), Su De-Cai (National Sports Training Center), Chan Che-Yuan (National Sports Training Center), Huang Han-Sheng (TMNCK University FC)

He Ming-Chan (Taiwan Power Company FC), Chiu I-Huan (National Sports Training Center), Tai Hung-Hsu (Taiwan Power Company FC)

Chiang Mu-Tsai (Head Coach)

AFC Cup: Churchill Brothers await tough opener in Hongkong

Goan I-League side Churchill Brothers play their opening AFC Cup Group E match tomorrow evening at Hong Kong's Mongkok Stadium against local side Kitchee SC. And the Red Machines know that they have a tough task ahead of them.

Head Coach Mariano Dias said at the press conference, "Kitchee SC is the home team, they are well organised and they do have a good side that includes four good foreigners. We are doing well in our domestic league and I'm hoping that our boys out up a good show and get all three points from the match."

But Mariano Dias will only be able to field two of his foreigners in new signing Lamine Tamba and Henry Arnaud Antchouet Rebienot, while Brazilian Roberto Mendes Silva is nursing an injury while Belal Arezou from Afghanistan had visa problems as well as commitments with his national team.

Meanwhile India captain and new on loan signing Sunil Chhetri reiterated what his coach said by saying, "Kitchee are a good side, just watched their match on the 24th and heard about the team through newspaper reports. We are doing great in the domestic league and hope to bring that same form into the AFC Cup, though we will be missing two infuencial players in Beto and Balal Arezou."

"I'm a new member of the squad and hope to gel quickly with the team," Chhetri added.

An away tie is always difficult, but Churchill Brothers have shown away in the I-League that they are a quality side, only now one will have to see if the changes amongst the foreigners and the addition of Chhetri has not disturbed the balance in the squad.

Bayern Munich's incredible Bundesliga campaign

German Bundesliga record champions FC Bayern Munich have had an incredible Bundesliga campaign so far, having lost only one match all season and that against Bayer 04 Leverkusen at home.

The statistics don't really say it all, 23 matches played - 60 points and 63:8 goals, a positive goal difference of +55. Impressive to say the least, but the domination of Bayern Munich over the Bundesliga has been like never before and they have 23 Bundesliga titles to their name.

What makes it even more impressive for the Bavarians is the fact that they last season had finished second in the Bundesliga, German Cup and UEFA Champions League, a treble of runners-up finishes. Many had doubts if this team could regroup and challenge for the title in Germany, but this team with the additions of Dante, Javi Martinez, Xherdan Shaqiri, Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro has surpassed all expectations so far.

In the Bundesliga they are now an incredible 17 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund with 11 matches to play. Indirectly the title is already theirs, but the team wants maximum success and therefore they are continuing to push for the treble with Arsenal FC already more then half beaten through a 3-1 away win in the UEFA Champions League pre-quarterfinals while in the German Cup Borussia Dortmund after the opponents on Wednesday in the quarterfinals at the Allianz Arena.

Ex-Players: I-League teams should send scouts for Santosh Trophy!

Not long back, there was a time when breaking into the West Bengal Santosh Trophy team was more difficult than finding a place in the Indian National Team! Ask Tanumoy Basu, the former Indian international goalkeeper, presently the goalkeeping coach of the Pailan Arrows, who has been part of 14 Santosh Trophies for Railways and West Bengal.

"There are so many such instances when players who represented India couldn't get a place in Bengal's Starting XI," Basu recollects. "A place in the Bengal side was seen as an achievement. We used to play for our respective clubs throughout the season only to get selected for the Santosh Trophy," he adds.

"All of us, used to look forward to the Nationals as that was the opportunity to prove our mettle against the best in the business," Basu quips.

Plying his trade with Railways and West Bengal, Basu tasted success with his native state winning three titles for West Bengal, also Captaining the most accomplished outfit to glory in the 1994/95 edition.

"I'm proud to say that I was the captain of the side which won 31 trophies in total, in the year 1994. I remember Baichung (Bhutia) scoring the winner, then the golden goal, in extra time. We won 2-1 against Punjab. It was euphoric. I cannot put it in words," Basu recollected.

He hadn’t finished yet. Continuing in the same verve, Basu narrated, "In Kerala they used to have temporary bamboo stands for the Tournament. I remember the galleries getting full by morning itself. People used to flock like anything. Tickets used to get sold in no time for big matches, Bengal playing Kerala, for example."

"Icons like I.M. Vijayan, Baichung, Joe Paul Anchery; coaches of the calibre of Pradip-da (P.K. Banerjee), Nayeen-da (Syed Nayeemuddin) were all part of the Santosh Trophy," he concluded.

"I feel scouts should pay a little more attention to the Santosh Trophy. A lot of budding talent goes unnoticed. Club representatives should go and watch these boys play. Indian is a vast country, and states which don't have an I-League team have only the Santosh Trophy to put to the fore their skills."

Former India Captain and talismanic striker Shabbir Ali picked up from when Basu left. "To me, the State Team stays of paramount importance. States who don't have any representation in the I League, get a chance to show what they can offer. If you have I-League coaches or even assistant coaches to watch the Santosh Trophy matches, it will do Indian football a world do good," asserted Ali who played for both Bengal and Maharashtra in the coveted meet.

Ali thanked the AIFF for the timing of the Santosh Trophy. "The fact that Santosh Trophy is starting in February-March is a good thing. Teams like Services and Railways who practice till January stay fresh during this time. Also the weather is conducive for quality football. AIFF should be credited for this move."

"My triumph with West Bengal back in 1979 will remain in my memory forever. We beat Goa by a solitary goal in the final. There were all stars playing for the Bengal Team. It was unbelievable!"

(Report courtesy AIFF Media)

MDFA scraps Mumbai Elite Division due to lack of teams

After months of not knowing if the Mumbai Elite Division would be played or not, the Mumbai District Football Association has decided to scrap the 2012/13 edition of the city league due to lack of teams able to participate as 10 of the 14 teams have other commitments at the time of the league.

Only last week the MDFA had announced that the league would be played from February 25 to March 16 with only seven teams as due to fixture problems there would be no participation from clubs playing in the I-League (ONGC, Air India, Mumbai FC) and 2nd Division I-League (Dodsal FC, Kenkre FC, PIFA) besides the Indian Navy.

This meant the Elite Division would have been played with Western Railway, Central Railway, Mumbai Customs, Union Bank of India, Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers besides promoted outfits Maharashtra State Police and Companeroes SC taking part.

But then the Railway sides - Western Railway and Central Railway - pulled out due to their Inter-Railway Tournament commitments while Mumbai Customs also have an Inter-Customs tournament to play.

As per the MDFA an earlier date was not possible due to the renovation work at the Cooperage ground and non-availability of alternative venues. This left the Mumbai District Football Association with only four teams to play and therefore the MDFA decided to scrap the top tier division of Mumbai football, a sad first for football in Mumbai.

VIDEO: SC Cambuur does the Harlem Shake

There are now 10,000s of versions of the Harlem Shake online on YouTube with more and more being added each day. Here is a nice one from Dutch second division side SC Cambuur.

Minggu, 24 Februari 2013

Bayern Munich's Jupp Heynckes completes 1,000 Bundesliga matches

FC Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes yesterday in the match against SV Werder Bremen only became the second person in the history of German football to complete a 1,000 Bundesliga matches as player and coach.

"It's an imposing total," commented Jupp Heynckes, whose career top-flight total is considerably greater due to coaching spells in Spain and Portugal. In the Bundesliga, he is only behind the legendary Otto Rehhagel, the first individual to pass the 1,000 barrier with 1,033 matches, 201 as a player and 832 as a coach.

Heynckes had started his Bundesliga career on August 14, 1965 as a 20 year old for Borussia Mönchengladbach in a match against Borussia Neunkirchen, which had ended one-all. He played 389 matches for Mönchengladbach and Hannover 96 before hanging-up his boots. Then came his second career having now completed 631 matches as coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Schalke 04, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and at Bayern FC Munich

Yesterday 67 year old Jupp Heynckes completed that magic number of 1,000 Bundesliga matches, over 47 years after he first played in the German Bundesliga.

"It shows you how the years have flown by," said Heynckes, who further added, "as a player, I could never have dreamed of it. It's a long history and I could tell you all kinds of tales. There's enough material to write not just one book but several – although I'm not going to do that."

AFC Cup: Churchill Brothers name squad for opening match

I-League side Churchill Brothers SC, who replaced champions Dempo SC in the tournament, have named their 18 players squad for their opening AFC Cup match against Kitchee SC from Hongkong. The Red Machines play their opening Group E match on Tuesday, February 27 evening at the Mongkok Stadium in Hong Kong.

The Goans would be missing Brazilian Roberto Mendes Silva, but welcome back four India players – Sandip Nandy, Denzil Franco, Lenny Rodrigues and Sunil Chhetri – who have been released by national coach Wim Koevermans for the match.

Churchill Brothers SC

Sandip Nandy, Felix D'Souza

Denzil Franco, Yumnam Raju Mangang, Sudhakaran Naveen Kumar, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Lamine Tamba, Thangjam Saran Singh

Steven Benedic Dias, Lenny Rodrigues, Bikramjit Singh, Jaison Vales, Sanjay Balmachu, W. Tomba Singh, Amandeep Singh

Sunil Chhetri, Henry Arnaud Antchouet Rebienot, T. Bineesh Balan

Mariano Dias (Head Coach), Danzie Ferrao (Manager), Anup Kumar Yadav (Physio), Watson Fernandes (Media Manager)

India coach Koevermans names squad of 23 players for 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers

Indian national team coach Wim Koevermans has named his final 23 players squad ahead of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers to be played next month in Myanmar.

Team India have been drawn in Group A of the qualifiers alongside the hosts Myanmar, Chinese Taipei and Guam with Chinese Taipei the opponent in the first match on March 2.

The squad would be leaving Mumbai late on Monday, February 25 evening and reach Yangon the next day morning. However, the four Churchill Brothers players – Sandip Nandy, Denzil Franco, Lenny Rodrigues and Sunil Chhetri – who would be doing duty for their club in the AFC Cup would be joining the rest of squad on February 27; while the three East Bengal players - Raju Gaikwad, Mehtab Hossain and Robin Singh - would be joining the squad on February 28 in Yangon.

Those omitted from the final squad include Subhasish Roy Chowdhury (Dempo SC), Peter Carvalho (Dempo SC), Asif K. (Prayag United SC), Shylo Malswam Tulunga (Prayag United SC) and Sushil Kumar Singh (Shillong Lajong FC); while Sandesh Jhingan (United Sikkim FC), Arnab Mondal (East Bengal Club) and Joaquim Abranches (Dempo SC) had to leave the camp due to injury.

Meanwhile Karanjit Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Rowilson Rodrigues make a comeback into the squad.


Sandip Nandy (Churchill Brothers SC), Subrata Pal (Prayag United SC), Karanjit Singh (Salgaocar FC)

Nirmal Chettri (Mohun Bagan AC), Raju Eknath Gaikwad (East Bengal Club), Denzil Franco (Churchill Brothers SC), Souvik Ghosh (Pailan Arrows), Syed Rahim Nabi (Mohun Bagan AC), Rowilson Rodrigues (Dempo SC), Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh (Prayag United SC), Gurjinder Kumar Singh (Pune FC)

Izumi Arata (Pune FC), Lalkamal Bhowmick (Prayag United SC), Francis Fernandes (Salgaocar FC), Alwyn George (Pailan Arrows), Mehtab Hossain (East Bengal Club), Clifford Miranda (Dempo SC), Jewel Raja Sheikh (Mohun Bagan AC), Lenny Rodrigues (Churchill Brothers SC), C.K. Vineeth (Prayag United SC)

Sunil Chhetri (Churchill Brothers SC), Jeje Lalpekhlua (Pune FC), Robin Singh (East Bengal Club)

Wim Koevermans (Head Coach), Savio Medeira (Assistant Coach), Marcus Pacheco (Goalkeeping Coach)

Goa Pro League: Vasco SC relegated for first time ever

Vasco Sports Club stand relegated from the Goa Professional League after relegation rivals Goa Velha SC won 1-0 against Wilred Leisure SC yesterday, the first relegation of the people's club from the top tier of Goan football since its inception in 1951.

The demise of Vasco SC, which was formed in 1951 by residents from the port town of Vasco da Gama in Goa which included the Portuguese garrison stationed there formed the club called Clube de Desportos Vasco da Gama, has been happening for years with the club struggling since the 1980s with patches of success in-between, especially around the millennium when the club made it to the old National Football League (now I-League).

This season the club officials hoped by roping in a sponsor in the NRB Group and a foreign coach in Serbian Davor Berber, but things went wrong from the start with the team never ever able to settle in with interim coach Richard Sanchez not given time and even under Subrata Bhattacharjee Jr the club wasn't able to regroup and finished with only four points from 13 matches.

Interestingly though relegated from the local Goa Pro League, Vasco SC will play in the preliminary round of the 2nd Division I-League's Group C alongside Dodsal FC (Mumbai), Eagles FC (Kerala), Hindustan FC (Delhi), Kalighat Milan Sangha (Kolkata), Luangmual FC (Mizoram), South United FC (Bangalore) and Southern Samity (Kolkata).

One can only hope for Vasco SC and Goan football that the club regroups next season in the Goan First Division to be back a year later in the Goa Pro League.

PFL/JFL: Saturdays in Mumbai will never be the same

The Premier Football League (PFL) and the Junior Football League (JFL) concluded yesterday at the JBCN International School artificial turf football pitch at Parel in Mumbai. The league was played over 12 Saturdays since November 17, 2012.

214 boys between the ages 5 to 17 years participated in six age categories and 42 girls played in the two age groups. There were one to two of talented underprivileged boys from the PIFA Foundation youth development program in most of the teams. Most of the teams were formed randomly by mixing the players.

The participants were offered free training during this period by the league training partners - Premier India Football Academy (PIFA) at any of their 14 centres in Mumbai.

This League is the second edition, the previous edition being played in 2011/12 at the Western Railway ground in Parel.

Director Anjali Shah had this to say about the league, "The league was designed for young children to show case and improve their skills, to stay fit and healthy, to socialize and play with new team mates and finally, for parents to spend some quality time with their young ones."

The league had parents as coaches and managers. The league was played 4v4 for age 5-6 years and increased depending on their age category upto 7v7 for 12years and above. This was primarily to let the players get more touches of the ball and enable them to develop their skills.

The Winners and top scorers of the league were as follows

JFL 1 (5-6 yrs) : Falcons (Raj Solanki)
JFL 2 (7-8 yrs) : Alligators (Jordan Naronha)
JFL 3 (9-10 yrs) : Titans (Sidh Surana)
JFL 4 (11-12 yrs) : Bombay Bullets (Abhishek)

PFL 1 (13-15 yrs) : Buca (Manas Maniar)
PFL 2 (16-17 yrs) : Black Panthers (Vaugn Menezes)
PFL Jr Girls (8-12 yrs) : Ballerina (Saaya Mehta)
PFL Sr Girls (13-17 yrs) : Spice Girls (Rhea Jaffer)

The top scorers won prizes from Nike.

The league's technical Director Nirvan (UEFA/AFC B lic. coach) was excited by what he saw, "Simply amazed to see the improvement in the ability of these young boys and girls over the 12 match days. They are now passing and creating opportunities. They are all enjoying their game, it is not about winning, it is about challenging themselves to get better. India's got talent, our next step as India coaches and parents is to nurture the talented cubs into world class players."

At the conclusion of this edition of the league Mrs Sunita Narohna (parent) exclaimed "Saturdays will not be the same any more!"

The next edition of the League will be in October 2013, registrations will open shortly on .

VIDEO: Crystal Palace cheerleaders do the Harlem Shake

The cheerleaders Crystal of English Championship side Crystal Palace are one of the best known in world football. They have now done their own version of the YouTube sensation, the Harlem Shake dance!

Here is the VIDEO: Manchester City does the Harlem Shake .

Sabtu, 23 Februari 2013

117th IFA Shield: Change in Fixtures, Mumbai FC replace Shillong Lajong

The Indian Football Association has released an updated fixtures list for the 117th IFA Shield which will now kick-off a day earlier on March 3, but the date of the final continues to be open due to continental obligations of East Bengal Club and if they make it to the shield semifinals and/or final, then only will those matches be finalised with the final then likely on March 19.

Also Shillong Lajong FC had to opt out of the tournament due to unavoidable circumstances and their place has been taken by another I-League side in Mumbai FC.

In Group A, which will be played in Siliguri, East Bengal Club take on Muktijoddha Sangsad KC from Bangladesh, Mumbai FC and Prayag United SC; while in Group B Mohun Bagan AC, Pune FC, Pailan Arrows and Deportivo Saprissa from Costa Rica face each other in Kalyani and the Saltlake Stadium.

The tournament winner would receive Rs 2,5 Million (25 lakhs), while the runners-up would get Rs 1,5 Million (15 lakhs) and the losing semifinalists Rs 500,000 (5 lakhs). In individual prizes, the Man of the Match in the group stage would get Rs 5,000 and the Man of the Match in the semifinals and final Rs 10,000. The Player of the Tournament would receive Rs 25,000 and the Best Coach Rahim Saheb Award would get Rs 100,000 (1 lakh).

NewsTime Bangla is the television partner of the 117th IFA Shield and will be showing numerous matches live.


Group A - Siliguri
03-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - Mumbai FC (2.30pm)
05-Mar-2013: Prayag United SC - Mumbai FC (2.30pm)
06-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - Muktijoddha Sangsad KC (2.30pm)
08-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - Prayag United SC (5.30pm)
09-Mar-2013: Mumbai FC - Muktijoddha Sangsad KC (2.30pm)
11-Mar-2013: Prayag United SC - Muktijoddha Sangsad KC (2.30pm)

Group B
04-Mar-2013: Deportivo Saprissa - Pune FC (Kalyani, 3.00pm)
05-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Pailan Arrows (Kalyani, 3.00pm)
07-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Pune FC (Kalyani 3.00pm)
08-Mar-2013: Deportivo Saprissa - Pailan Arrows (Saltlake, 3.00pm)
10-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Deportivo Saprissa (Kalyani 3.00pm)
10-Mar-2013: Pune FC - Pailan Arrows (Saltlake, 3.00pm)

1?-Mar-2013: Winner Group A - Runners-Up Group B
1?-Mar-2013: Winner Group B - Runners-Up Group A

1?-Mar-2013: Winner SF1 - Winner SF2

India Camp: Rowilson Rodrigues replaces an injured Sandesh Jhingan

United Sikkim FC defender Sandesh Jhingan who sustained a groin injury during a training session at the Indian national team's preparatory camp for the forthcoming 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers has been released from the ongoing India Camp in Pune.

Dempo SC defender Rowilson Rodrigues has been named as his replacement with Rowilson having joined the India Camp today.

In the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup - Group A qualifiers in Rangoon, Team India are scheduled to play their first match against Chinese Taipei on March 2 followed by a game against Guam on March 4 and then play their final match against the hosts Myanmar on March 6.

VIDEO: 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers | India, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, Guam

Here a nicely made video of available footage from the participating teams of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup - Group A qualifiers in India, Chinese Taipei, Guam and hosts Myanmar next month.

Paris Saint Germain to sport new logo next season

French Ligue 1 club FC Paris Saint Germain will sport a new logo from the 2013/14 season ords as the club from Paris continues to strengthening its brand identity and further push to become a bigger player amongst Europe's football elite.

The club is a press release stated, "Paris Saint-Germain has chosen to capitalise on the strongest element of the brand, namely Paris itself.

The city of light, which is an undisputed icon throughout the world, represents unparalleled leverage to propel Paris Saint-Germain up among the greatest global sporting brands. The new logo thus has the name "Paris" clearly brought to the fore, with the Eiffel Tower at the heart of the logo. The base of the logo has the name "Saint Germain" which continues to be associated with the brand, along with the fleur de lys emblem.

The logo has a greater synthesis of ideas and a more immediate impact, and is now ideally placed to capture the imagination of football and sports fans around the world."

Here the old PSG logo

Following in the footsteps of international football's major clubs and under the impetus of its President Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Paris Saint-Germain has chosen to prioritise continuity for its new identity. The new concept brings the brand up to the level of the standards of excellence set by Paris itself, respecting its DNA and its history.

The font is inspired by Paris' major brands, the colors have been made more luminous and highlighted with a hint of gold, while the Eiffel Tower is the veritable heartbeat of the logo. The result is a timeless brand which is resolutely Parisian yet totally international.

"The evolution of the Paris Saint-Germain logo marks an important stage in the implementing of our ambition," said Nasser Al-Khelaifi, "namely making Paris Saint-Germain one of the world's greatest sporting brands."

VIDEO: Manchester City does the Harlem Shake

Gangnam Style was yesterday, now the Harlem Shake is the new YouTube sensation. Here is what English Premier League champions Manchester City FC did as a Harlem Shake!

Jumat, 22 Februari 2013

VIDEOs: East Bengal reactions after 7-1 against Aryan Club

Here the reactions from East Bengal Club coach Trevor James Morgan and striker Andrew Barisic on KEBTV following their 7-1 trashing of Aryan Club on Wednesday afternoon.

The AFC & German FA renew partnership deal

The Acting Asian Football Federation President Zhang Jilong and German Football Association (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday to intensify and continue the partnership between the two bodies in the technical and management areas.

Thanking the DFB for their continuous support, Jilong said the partnership would help AFC's Member Associations in a big way.

"Asian football is on the rise but we need the latest knowhow to get where we want to. I believe this agreement will help us achieve our goals. It will provide us with technical support, which could bridge any existing gap," he said.

"What is really good about this arrangement is that the DFB will be making available their experts directly to our Member Associations. I am sure our Member Associations will be eager to avail of this particular benefit."

Niersbach said it is a continuation of the cooperation between the two bodies.

"I must say it's a continuation of our cooperation as we have been working partners traditionally and now it became more official after signing the MoU," he said.

"We are thankful to AFC for their support to German football in the past and I hope after the signing this MoU, it will continue as we share the same organisational philosophy."

Under the MoU, the DFB will invite coaches appointed by the AFC for the DFB International Coaching Courses for foreign coaches, coaching and technical development course and send experts for courses or seminars organised by the AFC or its Member Associations.

Both the bodies will also exchange information on football management and development, including coaching and mentoring programmes, grassroots and youth development, marketing, media, and information technology.

Ambassador of Germany to Malaysia, His Excellency Dr Guenter Gruber; AFC General Secretary Dato' Alex Soosay and DFB Head of Coach Education and International Relations, Markus Weidner were also present on the occasion.

Delhi Senior Division - Super League to kcik-off from Sunday

The Super League of the Delhi Senior Division will be played from Sunday, February 24 to Saturday, March 2 with the semifinals slated for March 4 and the final on Wednesday, March 6.

In Group A, former champions Hindustan FC face Indian Air Force (New Delhi), Goodwill Club and Veterans SC; while in Group B defending champions Delhi United take on Garhwal Heroes, Tarun Sangha and Shahdara Club.

The top two teams from each group of four will reach the semifinals with the winners of these playing the final of the Delhi Senior Division.


Group A
Hindustan FC, Indian Air Force (New Delhi), Goodwill Club, Veterans SC

24-Feb-2013: Hindustan FC - Veterans SC
24-Feb-2013: Indian Air Force (New Delhi) - Goodwill Club
27-Feb-2013: Hindustan FC - Goodwill Club
27-Feb-2013: Indian Air Force (New Delhi) - Veterans SC
01-Mar-2013: Goodwill Club - Veterans SC
01-Mar-2013: Hindustan FC - Indian Air Force (New Delhi)

Group B
Delhi United, Garhwal Heroes, Tarun Sangha, Shahdara Club

25-Feb-2013: Delhi United - Shahdara Club
26-Feb-2013: Garhwal Heroes - Tarun Sangha
28-Feb-2013: Delhi United - Tarun Sangha
28-Feb-2013: Garhwal Heroes - Shahdara Club
02-Mar-2013: Tarun Sangha - Shahdara Club
02-Mar-2013: Delhi United - Garhwal Heroes

04-Mar-2013: Winner Group A - Runners-Up Group B
04-Mar-2013: Winner Group B - Runners-Up Group A

06-Mar-2013: Winner SF1 - Winner SF2

Services' Coach Sajith Kumar: We had a good Preparatory Camp for 25 days!

An almost full squad to choose from, fresh legs raring to go and almost a month's preparation time! What more can a team ask for before heading into a tournament, that too for the final stages? Defending champions Services can tick all the above mentioned boxes ahead of their first Group A quarterfinal encounter against Railways in the 67th Santosh Trophy. The other two teams in their Group are Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

Speaking to AIFF Media, coach Sajith Kumar, the man under whom Services won the coveted crown last year, said, "We have a full strength squad at our disposal. Gordon (Zormachane) and Sandu (Subba) are missing due to injuries but otherwise everyone is fit. The players are fresh and we had an excellent Preparatory Camp for 25 days prior to coming here."

Services have so far won two Santosh Trophy titles – if the first happened way back in 1961 in Kozhikode, the second crown came in the last edition in Cuttack.

Sajith added, "But at the same time we have to remember that nothing comes easy at this stage of the competition. We have been clubbed in a very tough group, especially with Railways. The first match will be very crucial in determining our fate. We have to win it in order to progress to the semifinals."

Kumar made no secret about the fact that for his side, the Santosh Trophy stays the main tournament and they prepare for it throughout the year. "Though we had a 25-day camp before the quarterfinal stage, I would be candid enough to admit that the Santosh Trophy stays the main focus for us. We look forward to it throughout the year. The boys feel this is the only opportunity for them to make a mark," he pronounced.

Is there any pressure of being the defending champions? "It was indeed euphoric last time round. Our confidence level scaled heights and we are still carrying it. I would not say that we are basking in the glory but the boys are upbeat and they don't feel any sort of pressure. They want to hit the greens and continue from where they left last year."

That certainly won't be music to the ears of all other rival coaches.

(Interview & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

The AFC sets up internal task force against match fixing

The Asian Football Confederation has set-up an internal task force in line with FIFA's initiative to coordinate fight against match-fixing in the continent.

The AFC General Secretary Dato' Alex Soosay informed that the objectives of the task force will be to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to achieve the objectives, to educate the Member Associations on ways and measures to combat this menace and monitor and coordinate with everyone involved to fight match-fixing in AFC competitions.

The task force will also introduce and implement mechanisms to fight match manipulation in line with the objectives set out in AFC Statutes, AFC Code of Ethics and AFC Disciplinary Code.

"The two-day conference - 'Match fixing – The ugly side of the beautiful game' – which was held in Kuala Lumpur with the help of Interpol and FIFA raised awareness about the seriousness of this threat in our game. By setting up this task force, we would like to coordinate the education, training and implementation of measures through one platform," he said.

"Some of our Member Associations, who have been facing this threat for long, have come up with novel ideas to combat match-fixing and have succeeded in controlling the threat," he said referring to initiatives taken by Chinese Football Association (CFA), Football Association of Singapore (FAS), Korea Football Association (KFA) and Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

"The CFA banned 33 people, including two officials, club owners, referees and several star players for life recently which will surely send a strong message to the negative elements," he added.

"The FAS initiated polygraph tests for players and this had a positive impact in their fight against match-fixing."

Dato' Alex asked all the Member Associations to join the fight against match-fixing and corruption.

"I would like all our MAs to follow the examples of these MAs and join this fight to strengthen the fair play in this game."

"I would like to thank Interpol and FIFA for the successful organisation of the two-day conference in Kuala Lumpur," Dato' Alex added.

Under-20 I-League Fixtures out!

Jamshedpur will be hosting this seasons Under-20 I-League tournament, which is set to be played from March 5 to 24. The fixtures for the group stages and final round are now out.

This season 15 club youth teams and academies would be taking part with matches to be played at the JRD Tata Sports Complex and the Gopal Maidan in Jamshedpur. Pune FC go into the tournament as defending champions.

In Group A Prayag United SC, Pune FC, Salgaocar FC, Sporting Clube de Goa and United Sikkim FC have been grouped together. In Group B - Dempo SC, East Bengal Club, Mumbai FC, ONGC and Tata Football Academy face each other; while in Group C - Air India, Churchill Brothers SC, Mohun Bagan AC, Sesa Football Academy and Shillong Lajong FC face each other.


Group A
Prayag United SC, Pune FC, Salgaocar FC, Sporting Clube de Goa, United Sikkim FC

05-Mar-2013: Pune FC - Prayag United SC
05-Mar-2013: Sporting Clube de Goa - United Sikkim FC
07-Mar-2013: Salgaocar FC - Pune FC
07-Mar-2013: Prayag United SC - Sporting Clube de Goa
09-Mar-2013: United Sikkim FC - Salgaocar FC
09-Mar-2013: Pune FC - Sporting Clube de Goa
11-Mar-2013: United Sikkim FC - Prayag United SC
11-Mar-2013: Sporting Clube de Goa - Salgaocar FC
13-Mar-2013: United Sikkim FC - Pune FC
13-Mar-2013: Prayag United SC - Salgaocar FC

Group B
Dempo SC, East Bengal Club, Mumbai FC, ONGC, Tata Football Academy

06-Mar-2013: Mumbai FC - Dempo SC
06-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - ONGC
08-Mar-2013: Tata Football Academy - Mumbai FC
08-Mar-2013: Dempo SC - East Bengal Club
10-Mar-2013: ONGC - Tata Football Academy
10-Mar-2013: Mumbai FC - East Bengal Club
12-Mar-2013: ONGC - Dempo SC
12-Mar-2013: East Bengal Club - Tata Football Academy
14-Mar-2013: ONGC - Mumbai FC
14-Mar-2013: Dempo SC - Tata Football Academy

Group C
Air India, Churchill Brothers SC, Mohun Bagan AC, Sesa Football Academy, Shillong Lajong FC

06-Mar-2013: Shillong Lajong FC - Churchill Brothers SC
06-Mar-2013: Air India - Mohun Bagan AC
08-Mar-2013: Sesa Football Academy - Shillong Lajong FC
08-Mar-2013: Churchill Brothers SC - Air India
10-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Sesa Football Academy
10-Mar-2013: Shillong Lajong FC - Air India
12-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Churchill Brothers SC
12-Mar-2013: Air India - Sesa Football Academy
14-Mar-2013: Mohun Bagan AC - Shillong Lajong FC
14-Mar-2013: Churchill Brothers SC - Sesa Football Academy

Final Round

16-Mar-2013: Winner Group A - Runners-Up Group C
16-Mar-2013: Runners-Up Group A - Winner Group C
16-Mar-2013: Winner Group B - Runners-Up Group B
18-Mar-2013: Runners-Up Group C - Runners-Up Group B
18-Mar-2013: Winner Group C - Winner Group B
18-Mar-2013: Winner Group A - Runners-Up Group A
20-Mar-2013: Runners-Up Group A - Runners-Up Group C
20-Mar-2013: Winner Group B - Winner Group A
20-Mar-2013: Runners-Up Group B - Winner Group C
22-Mar-2013: Runners-Up Group C - Winner Group C
22-Mar-2013: Winner Group A - Runners-Up Group B
22-Mar-2013: Runners-Up Group A - Winner Group B
24-Mar-2013: Winner Group B - Runners-Up Group C
24-Mar-2013: Runners-Up Group B - Runners-Up Group A
24-Mar-2013: Winner Group C - Winner Group A

Kamis, 21 Februari 2013

I.M. Vijayan: I can't believe Santosh Trophy is back in Kerala!

Hot on the heels of the international friendly between India and Palestine on February 6, football has returned to 'God's Own Country' again. This time, for a longer period, and in the form of the prestigious 67th edition of the Santosh Trophy.

The Qualifying Round of the National Championships did kick-off in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi along with Kerala's Kollam and Kochi, but come February 22, the quarterfinal round would be held only in Kerala, an event which everyone in the State has been waiting for long - even I.M. Vijayan and Joe Paul Anchery!

Hear it from them, and you will feel the pulse.

"Back in 1999-2000 (Santosh Trophy) in Thrissur, I remember we played Maharashtra and I was then the captain (of Kerala). We played in front of a packed stadium and the feeling was surreal," Ancheri recollects with AIFF Media.

"Playing in front of a full house stays the dream for any player. When I lead the team out of the tunnel, I felt princely," his grin stays evident even over the phone.

"We lost the match 0-1, (Mohammed) Najeeb-bhai scoring the match-winner. But irrespective of the result, the crowd cheered the winners and even the brand of football which Maharashtra played on the day. That's Kerala. They will support you but also appreciate if the visitors play well," he adds.

The last time Kerala hosted the Santosh Trophy was at Kochi in 2005.

I.M. Vijayan, arguably the greatest footballer of his generation echoed Ancheri's feelings. "I need to pinch myself. The Santosh Trophy is back in Kerala!" he opines. "Kerala has a lot to offer to Indian football," he adds.

"I remember Ancheri was the captain in 2000 edition, and we played in front of a full house. It was a great feeling. Then in 2005 (in Kochi), it happened to be my last Santosh Trophy. The response was excellent and the interest level is amazing."

"It's like the Kolkata Derby when Kerala play here. You'll witness it for yourself if they reach the final. I keep my fingers crossed," he smiled.

The Black Pearl of Indian football went on, "Previously National Team players used to play in the Santosh Trophy. Nowadays the Tournament plays the perfect platform for youngsters as the I-League players don't play. It's the perfect grooming ground," the only footballer to have won the AIFF Player-of-the-Year Award thrice, pronounced.

Ancheri who had won the AIFF Player-of-the-Year twice, in 1994 and 2001 adds, "The state has been starving for top-quality football. You saw the response when India played Palestine. People will come out in numbers for the Santosh Trophy. It is a boon for us."

Defending champions' Services Coach Sajith Kumar, also a Keralite, concluded on a perfect note. "The glamour of the Santosh Trophy is still the same in this part of the country as it was in the 80's. It means a lot to the locals that Santosh Trophy is taking place here."

(Report & Photo courtesy of AIFF Media)

FIFA launches e-learning ethics tool

World football governing body FIFA has launched a new e-learning tool designed to help football officials across the 209 member associations become more familiar with the provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics 2012 (FCE).

The initiative was presented at a meeting of the FIFA Ethics Committee in January 2013 and represents another important step in FIFA's on-going reform process.

Published on, the e-learning tool provides an overview of the scope of the FCE, the consequences of violating it, and a review of the Rules of Conduct.

In addition to promoting general education and awareness, the e-learning tool will be used by the Ethics Committee as part of settlements with individuals who may have committed minor or unintentional violations. For example, the Ethics Committee may require an individual to undergo training, to answer test questions and obtain certification before agreeing to close a case without bringing formal charges.

The updated FCE came into effect in July 2012. It includes provisions for protecting the integrity and reputation of football and covers all officials and players, as well as match and players' agents.

The e-learning tool follows on from the recent launch of a new reporting mechanism on February 6, 2013, in which individuals can notify FIFA – with the strictest confidentiality – of potential violations relating to match manipulation and infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics and violations of FIFA’s regulatory framework.

Sunil Chhetri scores twice in Churchill Brothers' dream debut

India captain Sunil Chhetri made a dream debut for Churchill Brothers SC by scoring both goals against his former club Dempo SC in a Goa Pro League match at the Raia Panchayat ground.

Sunil Chhetri like Lamine Tamba made his first start for the Red Machines, and he scored his first goal in a Churchill Brothers shirt in the 42nd minute off a Bineesh Balan pass as the striker hit the ball beautifully from just outside the box into the bottom corner of the net.

After the break Bineesh Balan was brought down inside the penalty box and Sunil Chhetri calmly converting the resultant penalty in the 56th minute to give the Red Machines a 2-0 lead. It remained 2-0 until the end for the title race in the Goa Pro League hotting-up even further.

The win takes Churchill Brothers tally to 19 points from 10 matches, while Dempo remain on 21 points also from 10 matches.


Dempo SC 0-2 Churchill Brothers SC - Goals: 0-1,0-2 Sunil Chhetri (42',56' pen)

Dempo SC
Laxmikant Kattimani - Valeriano Rebello, Selwyn Fernandes, Rowilson Rodrigues, Nicolau Borges - Joy Ferrao, Godwin Diogo Franco, Aniston Fernandes, Romeo Fernandes - Nickson Castanha (Koko Sakibo), Clifton Gonsalves (Myron Fernandes)

Churchill Brothers SC
Felix D'Souza - Denzil Franco, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Lamine Tamba, Yumnam Raju Mangang - Hasten D'Costa (Biswajit), Richard Costa, Bikramjit Singh, Alesh Sawant (Jaison Vales) - T. Bineesh Balan, Sunil Chhetri

Frenchman Mikael Silvestre decides to join Portland Timbers, not Dodsal FC

Former French international Mikaël Samy Silvestre is joining MLS side Portland Timbers for their 2013 season and will not be joining I-League Division 2 side Dodsal FC as had been stated earlier by the player himself.

Silvestre had created quiet a stir by announcing in October that he is set to come to India to play for Dodsal FC, but the newly formed club never confirmed the transfer though talks had taken place between the two sides.

Silvestre in his illustrious club career has played for Stade Rennes, Inter Milan, Manchester United, FC Arsenal and Werder Bremen. He who has 40 caps for France to his name had been released at the end of last season by Bundesliga side Werder Bremen after a disappointing two years in Germany and he had been searching for a new club in Europe to sign. He initially kept himself fit at former club Arsenal with a hope to sign for West Ham United which didn't happen and then he returned to Manchester to keep himself fit at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, where Silvestre had his mosts successful stint.

The Timbers rivals Seattle Sounders, who also had looked to sign Silvestre, held the rights of first refusal for Silvestre, and Portland sent a first-round pick in the 2014 Supplemental Draft and a conditional 2015 draft pick to their rivals in exchange for the opportunity to land their man.

"Mikaël will bring a tremendous amount of experience and a presence on the field and in the locker room," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said in a statement. "He is a quality player on both sides of the ball and his impact will certainly go a long way in helping to solidify our backline. Mikaël made a very positive impression on the players and our coaching staff during his two-week trial and we are very excited to welcome him to the Timbers organization."

While it is a gain for Portland and the MLS, it is a loss for Dodsal FC and Indian football.