Thursday, 28 August 2014

Indian Super League officially launched in Mumbai!

The 'Hero' Indian Super League, the much-awaited football extravaganza, unveiled its' official emblem in a grand fanfare event in Mumbai today, thus presenting India with its very own high-profile footballing competition.

As a show of strength behind the Indian Super League, Nita Ambani, Founding Chairperson, Football Sports Development led the eight League Partners to a pledge – committing to the League's vision in bring a footballing revolution across the country.

Joining her on stage were Sachin Tendulkar (Kerala Blaster FC), Ranbir Kapoor (Team Mumbai), Abhishek Bachchan (Team Chennai), Samir Manchanda (Delhi Dynamos FC), John Abrahim (North East United FC), Kapil Wadhawan (FC Pune City), Varun Dhawan (FC Goa) and Utsav Parekh (Atlético de Kolkata) along with Sanjay Gupta, COO, Star India and Praful Patel, AIFF president.

'Let's football' – the League's official line is an apt fit to its ambition in connecting with today's youth and creating interest in millions to play the sport professionally. The emblem with hexagons combined to form a football symbolises collaboration of passion, energy and enthusiasm among its stakeholders. Colours chosen to represent the League convey the values and emotions, with red signifying the energy, passion and action, while blue exudes confidence, trust and responsibility; both seamlessly combining to represent the League's values.

Speaking on the occasion, Nita Ambani said, "It's a momentous day for us as we set ourselves in building a grand coalition among all stakeholders to develop football in the country and take it to its deserving space in the Indian sports. ISL hope to act as a foundation in creating an eco-system to nurture talent and make our own national football heroes, through its ambitious grassroots development program."

"It's a beginning of a long journey and today we have taken baby steps. I am happy to have equally enthusiastic League Partners', committed to the League's vision."

Commenting on the official launch of the league, Sanjay Gupta, COO, Star India, said, "Football is much more than a sport. It is an international phenomenon. And yet, India as a country has not joined this global community. Which is why, today marks a historic turning point for the future of football in this country. With the launch of the Hero Indian Super League we take our first steps to join the world community. This I believe is the birth of a footballing nation."

"We plan to attract and nurture the best of Indian talent to play with marquee players selected from 20 countries, spanning 5 continents. What you will experience is a world-class spectacle – in stadia, on television, on your mobile screen and across all digital devices," further added Mr. Gupta

Andy Knee, VP, Football at IMG, "We are delighted to mark the official launch of the Hero Indian Super League. The potential for football in India is truly immense, and the ambition for the League is to spark a revolution for the game in this great country—to encourage tens, even hundreds of millions of Indians to start playing, following and watching the sport."

"Certainly, the world of football has started to take notice. Since the League first became known, IMG has received expressions of interest and support from players, managers and administrators at the highest levels. The global game wants India as a major footballing power," further added Mr. Knee.

Scheduled for kick off on October 12, 2014, the Hero Indian Super League will see some great players in action from the world of football.

With the likes of footballing greats David Trezeguet - World Cup Winner, Euro 2000 Winner; David James (MBE) - 3rd on the list of all-time Premier League appearances, Luis Garcia - former Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool player with the FA Cup & the Champions League all won; Spaniard Joan Capdevilla - Winner of the Euro in 2008 & The World Cup in 2010; Robert Pires - Winner of 3 FA Cups & 2 Premier League Titles with Arsenal and Freddy Ljungberg - Former Captain of the Swedish National Team having confirmed participation in the Indian Super League, the league will provide an ideal platform for the Indian players to hone their skills and bring it at par with the international talents.

AFC inspectors visit East Bengal Club grounds in Kolkata!

Kolkata giants East Bengal Club was visited by AFC inspectors who carried out checks as part of the AFC club licensing criteria on Thursday.

The experts took a close look at the training ground facilities at East Bengal ground, Age-Group teams before heading to the East Bengal Club tent to carry out interviews of the staff and coaches.

The criteria which was being assessed was Infrastructure, Sporting, Youth Development (Age-group teams), financial, and personnel/administrative.

Head of AFC research and support services Steve Kim presented AFC's new regulations for participation in AFC competitions. He was accompanied by AFC Manager of Accounts Kevin Org and AFC Head of Club Licensing Mahajan Nair.

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar was also present on behalf of the AIFF.

Asian Games bound India Women lose 0-3 to Shanghai mixed team!

The Asian Games bound India Women's National Team went down 0-3 to Century Park FC in their first practice match in Shanghai, China on Thursday, August 28.

India conceded on both sides of halftime with their best chance coming in the second period when just appointed captain Bembem Devi failed to convert from the penalty spot.

India took time to adjust to the conditions at the Century Park stadium in Shanghai. The hosts, a mixed bag of U-16 and U-18 girls and boys – mostly European – training at the Park facilities, took advantage of their counterparts' initial jitteriness to surge ahead in the 20th minute. A well taken free-kick flew past goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan and into her right top corner.

Stung by the early goal, the twice SAFF champions pressed the accelerator. Striker Bala Devi missed a gilt edged chance shooting over from Sasmita Malik’s in swinging cross from the right. Moments later the Women’s Nationals highest scorer fluffed again from close, this time dragging her effort wide after good work down the middle by Bembem and Premi Devi.

Changing over, India had their best chance to draw level. Winger Kamala Devi cut inside two markers to dart inside the box only to be felled by the last stopper back. The referee pointed to the spot but Bembem uncharacteristically put her take over the frame.

The hosts doubled their tally against the run of play with India on the prowl. A swift counter attacking down the left channel provided the second goal for the Shanghai outfit.

India refused to throw in the towel as coach Tarun Roy made the most of endless number of substitutions' rule in friendlies, ringing in a host of changes.

But best efforts fell flat as they went further down with ten minutes to go India's day was summed up when keeper Aditi’s double save to deny the rival striker from appetizing angles went up in smoke as on the second rebound the ball was poked home mercilessly.

India next play Shanghai SVT on September 2.

INDIA: Aditi Chauhan - Romi Devi (73' Suprava Samal), Ashalata Devi, Umapati Devi (73' Radharani Devi) , Tuli Goon (81' Supriya Samal), Bembem Devi (81' Indumati), Premi Devi (66' Amoolya Kamal), Kamala Devi, Sasmita Malik (73' Mandakini Devi), Prameshwori Devi (66' Dangmei Grace), Bala Devi

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

AIFF president Praful Patel chairs Executive Committee meeting in Mumbai!

The President of the All India Football Federation Praful Patel Chaired the AIFF's Executive Committee Meeting in Mumbai on Thursday, August 28.

Besides, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, Senior Vice-President Subrata Dutta, Treasurer Hardev Jadeja, Vice-Presidents K.M.I. Mather, Larsing Ming and all other Members except Vice-Presidents Shrinivas V. Dempo and Subhash Chopra; Ms. Sara Pilot and Commodore Pushpendra Kumar Garg, attended the Meeting.

The Executive Committee welcomed Kalyani Group as the new Member in the forthcoming edition in the I-League and wished them success. "I believe they will bring in more professionalism in the League. Let's not forget the manner Bengaluru FC came as a breath of fresh air in the I-League last season. The value of the I-League can be gauged from the interest it has generated among top Corporates of India, that too for two years in succession," Mr. Patel said.

The Committee endorsed Mr. Patel's decision and discussed at length India's preparations for the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup. It was agreed the Coach of the Indian National Team for the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup will be signing a Contract soon for him to have a look and scout probable Indian Players for the World Cup from the final phase of the Coca Cola Cup which is to be held in November-December 2014.

The venue/dates for various upcoming Domestic Tournaments which were finalised in the Meeting stay as follows:

i. Federation Cup to be held in Goa from December 28 to January 10, 2015.

ii. Senior Women's National Championship to be held in Orissa.

iii. Final Round of the Santosh Trophy to be held in Uttarakhand.

Furthermore, as proposed by A.R. Khaleel, the Committee decided to name the Winners Trophy of the proposed Under-15 League as Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy champions.

Meanwhile, the Committee confirmed the minutes of the last AIFF Executive Committee Meeting which was held on May 14, 2014 at Football House in Dwarka, New Delhi.

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

Pune FC capture Sporting Goa captain Matthew Gonsalves

I-League side Pune FC has completed the signing of Sporting Clube de Goa captain and defender Matthew Gonsalves for the upcoming season.

The highly-experienced Goan joins Pune FC after spending ten years with Sporting Goa and will be a valuable addition to Karim Bencherifa's squad.

Matthew thus becomes the sixth new player signed this season after Ryuji Sueoka, Luciano Sabrosa, Snehashis Chakraborty, Raju Yumnam and Jessel Carneiro.

Pune FC Head Operations, Chirag Tanna said, "Matthew gave us a torrid time when we played against him last year. He is an versatile defender with 'a never say die' attitude and he will be a valuable addition to our squad."

Thirty-five-year-old Matthew spent his early days as a footballer playing for various local teams. However, his career really took off when he was signed by Sporting Clube de Goa from Mormugao Port Trust in 2004. Since then, the Goan has been the mainstay of Sporting Goa for ten seasons in a row while also captaining the side.

During his long stint at Sporting Goa, Matthew has represented Goa in the 2008 Santosh Trophy and was also a part of the India team at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific.

At Pune FC, Matthew becomes the fourth Goan in the squad this season joining state-mate Anthony D'Souza, Velington Rocha and the recently signed Jessel Carneiro.

(Report & Photo courtesy Pune FC Media)