Posts Tagged ‘Football’

Armando Colaco

According to a report in Times of India today, Dempo SC Head Coach Armando Colaco has been appointed as Interim Coach of the Indian National Football Team by the All India Football Federation. Thus, the Indian Team will train under Colaco prior to their 2014 World Cup Qualifier matches against UAE. Colaco is regarded as one of the best Indian coaches, transforming Dempo SC into regular I-league contenders and leading them to an AFC Cup Semi Final in 2008. Mr.Colaco will be temporarily incharge until the AIFF finalises a foreign coach for the National Team

Source: Times of India


Liverpool Football Club’s primary sponsor Standard Chartered Bank stated that they would prefer the club to sign Asian players so as to capitalize on the huge opportunities available in the Asian Market. On 31st March 2010, Standard Chartered Sponsorship Chief Gavin Laws stated that the Club should figure out ways to exploit the prosperous Asian market by nurturing and signing Asian players.

He cited the example of Manchester United winger Ji Sung Park and the impact he has had for the club.

He also stated that the Bank wasn’t too concerned with Liverpool not qualifying for European Football next season as its primary target market (Asia) is asleep when the matches are played.
Following this statement Liverpool Football Club announced its partnership with Premier Indian Football Academy (PIFA) Mumbai to help train and organize camps with the Liverpool Academy in Kirkby and also maybe bring coaches from Liverpool to India.
Along with the planned opening of the Abhijit Kadam Football Development Centre in Pune in association with Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Liverpool Football Club is certainly making its presence felt on Indian Shores.

Barcelona.  The club is on the lips of every football coach in the world. “Move in triangles, Press off the ball, Keep Possesion”, a few examples of how coaches everywhere are using the phenomenon that is Barcelona to teach football. My aim with this article is to explain how and why it is necessary for Indian coaches to get onto the bandwagon to coach football the “right way”- The Barcelona way.

Jeffren Competing with Chygrynskyy

Having trained in Luton for 6 weeks with coaches who work at the Tottenham Hotspurs academy, it is clear to see the influence Barcelona has had on their coaching methods. Every drill I was put through in those 6 weeks was to make me one with the ball. All my fitness, agility, tactical movement was done with a ball at my feet. The idea behind this was if you can do it over and over again in training imagine what you’ll be able to do in a game. Ryan Hall, One of the Under 12 coaches at Spurs, said that English Clubs had realized that football wasn’t just about being fast and physical, you need a brain to play as well.

Almost every club in the world is training their Under 5 to Under 16 teams to play the way Barcelona does. By the time these kids develop, the ball is second nature to their feet, every turn and every skill engraved into their brain and carried out like reflex. Passing is sharp, control is accurate and believe me, you need to be really fit to play the Barcelona game.

Coming to why Indian clubs need to adapt these techniques, it really is a simple and logical fact, Indian players are physically(Size) not the same as European or even American players. It was clear during the Asia Cup that physically our senior team was not a match for the Australians and not as fast as the Koreans. I myself am 5’7 and was playing against 5’10-6’2 opponents. However, due to the way the coaches taught me to play I was able to match up to their larger size and really compete with them. Yes, you do need speed and strength to play, but the amount of space intelligence and reading of the game provides can make you a genius of a player. Xavi and Scholes are not the fastest players but the sheer intelligence in their movement makes them always seem to be a step ahead of their opponent and in so much space to play the ball.

To develop Indian Football so that we can make it a global stage, we need our coaches to stop propagating the “running an hour a day continuously will make you fit, doing weights will harm your growth ideology” and really keep up with the coaching methods prevailing through the world. Indian academies focus only on  fitness without the ball, not realizing the same amount of fitness can be developed by doing drills with the ball and by coaching movement into the players. Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest players ever to grace football, used to touch a ball 500 times a day. Players at Indian academies barely do 100-200 touches a day.

Possesion Drill

We need to identify our weaknesses, and develop a strategy which nullifies these weaknesses. These days, short height and lack of physical presence do not count as excuses for a poor ranking in world football, Barcelona have shown that what counts is your technique and your intelligence with the ball. Visit to discover Indian blogs

At the AFC Asia Cup 2011 in Qatar, the Indian National Football Team Bus said

“11 Players, A Billion Heartbeats”

India-Australia (AFC Asia Cup 2011)

Can you imagine the invincibility and the passion a player backed by a billion people would feel? Sadly, for most National athletes in India, the support of a billion countrymen is a far off dream and they have to make do with the handful of supporters they do get. Let’s face it. Indians will only support their Cricket team because we are seemingly successful in it. The number one ranked test playing nation, Number 2 ranking in ODI matches, in a game played by 16-20 nations.

Why are most Indians so happy with this statistic? Content in being mildly successful in a sport which is barely played by 7% of the world. I’ve reached the conclusion its because we’re favorites in most games, the surety of a win guaranteeing the support of a billion fans. I think the mindset of most Indians is,

“Why support the football team when you know their going to lose most probably? At least we have a chance of winning in Cricket”

It’s a hypocritical attitude and one which is spread by the major media organisations as well. They will all criticize the Indian team when we lose a match in Hockey or in football but none of them will come forward to cover the time India wins.

Most Indians will support you as long as your the favorite to win. They will not give a damn if you are an underdog. I feel sorry for myself and other athletes in these sports, where you play for the country solely and not because your name will come in bold as the winner (cite individual sports such as Golf, Badminton,Tennis, etc. where the individual’s name comes first rather the nation’s), how do we motivate ourselves? We know no one will give us any appreciation in our own country if we do well but will be the first one to jump on our backs and criticize us for a fighting but ultimately futile performance (AIFF, Times of India bashing the Indian Team’s performance in the Asia Cup).

The Indian National Football Team celebrating their 4-1 victory over Tajikistan in the Final of the AFC Challenger Cup 2008

I respect countries like Australia, South Africa because their fans come out completely in support of each and every team they put out no matter what the sport, but we cant even get our AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel to attend the National football team’s match in Kuala Lumpur because god forbid he miss the India-Australia cricket match.

Yes most people don’t know when the football team or hockey team plays because of a lack of coverage but will more coverage really help that much? And with India winning the 2011 Cricket “World” Cup, does it spell another era on the sidelines for India’s athletes?

Maybe Chris Daniels is right (Indian Football, Just a waste of Time? ),  maybe we athletes and supporters of niche sports are just hopelessly supporting the wrong sport in the wrong country.

Right now, if I come out on the pitch to represent India, I’ll play for me, for my love of the country, not for the hypocritical hearts back home who are selectively patriotic.