Posts Tagged ‘Indian Football’

With Bob Houghton resigning on Saturday evening,  Indian Football is at a crossroads again as to who will be the next man to try and take the game forward in the country. Sources say that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) will again look for a foreign coach to take over but after the fiasco surrounding Houghton’s resignation, will anyone actually come forward?

We take a look at some of the candidates in the running for the job:-

1.) Philippe Troussier

Philippe Troussier

The 56 year old former French footballer nicknamed the,”White Witch Doctor” is known for his astonishing success with African Club teams such as Asec Abidjan and the national teams of Nigeria, South Africa and Bukina Faso. He has experience of coaching in Asia as well as the Head Coach of the Japanese National team from 1998-2002, a period in which they won the 2000 AFC Asia Cup, 2nd in the FIFA Confederations Cup and reached the round of 16 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Troussier, if appointed, will definitely provide a sense of excitement to both players and fans of the Indian Football team. However, after the controversies surrounding Indian Football in the last year, he might be wary of taking the job.

Troussier was linked with the job after the 2011 Asian Cup when some AFC officials allegedly recommended him to AIFF officials.

2.) Karim Bencherifa

Karim Bencherifa

The ex-Churchill Brothers and Mohun Bagan coach and current Salgaocar SC coach has been extremely successful in the I-League with each club he’s headed. He’s turned I-League struggler’s Salgaocar into Championship contenders and is very highly thought of by the AIFF. His strong connections with players India and familiarity with the facilities available will give him an advantage. He has also unearthed some hidden gems like R.Vashum and Robert Lalthamla who will be future stars for the National team.

3.) Armando Colaco

The current Dempo SC coach is one of the most successful coaches in India. He’s transformed Dempo into the top club in India and has even led them to the AFC Asia Cup Semi-Finals in 2008.

Sunil Chetri and Baichung Bhutia, the two icons of Indian Football, reacted with disappointment and shock to Bob Houghton’s resignation last night. Bhutia was distressed by the news and called Houghton the “best coach he had worked under”. He also stated that the allegations of racism leveled against Bob Houghton were completely baseless.

AFC Challenge Cup Winners

Bhutia believes whoever comes in next to become the Head Coach of the Indian Football team will have a hard time stepping into Bob Houghton’s shoes because of the success enjoyed under him.

Bob Houghton resigned on Saturday evening, ending a 5 year tenure which brought India 3 trophies and put them back on the Asian stage by playing in the AFC Asia Cup after 27 years.

Bob Houghton’s roller coaster ride as Indian football coach came to an abrupt end on Saturday  after a bitter stand—off with the AIFF, which had charged him with racism.

A press release from the AIFF said that the racial abuse charges against Houghton have been dropped due to lack of concrete evidence. The coach has decided to quit due to personal reasons.

Nothing has been said about the compensation due to Mr. Houghton as his contract was due till 2013.

Bob Houghton with Bhutia

Under Bob Houghton, the Indian team has been very successful winning two Nehru Cups, an AFC Challenge Cup but most importantly qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup 2011 for the first time in 27 years where they showed glimpses of brilliance.

Houghton’s final assignment was a successful one with India qualifying for the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 in style, topping their group.

Houghton was one of the most popular Indian coaches with both fans and players supporting him and his resignation has left them fearing the worst.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) released a press statement today stating that the federation has taken “strong exception” to Sunil Chhetri’s remarks against the National Federation on the issue of Nation Team Coach Bob Houghton via twitter. AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das condemned Chhetri’s statement and said, “The AIFF is extremely perturbed and concerned that National Team players are making such unnecessary comments relating to AIFF’s functioning and on the issue of coach Bob Houghton as well.”“The matter will certainly be discussed at AIFF’s next Executive Committee meeting and action may be taken, if necessary.”

Sunil Chhetri

On Tuesday Sunil Chhetri tweeted:  “thinking and analysing everyt. that bob has done for us,infact football in india, can’t thank him enough!it ll be a shame if he has to leave N even worse,we charge him for racism, havnt seen a gentleman like him,leave behind d world class coaching n vast knowledge…sorry bob!”

Sunil Chhetri has been at the center of the support Bob Houghton enjoys with the National players and staff and his outburst condemning the AIFF has not gone unnoticed by the authorities.

East Bengal take on South China in their AFC Cup Group H encounter tonight at the Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong. Both teams have got off to poor starts in the tournament by pickup up just one point in 2 matches thus making this tie a must win for both teams.

Nicky Butt

South China have former English Premier League stars Nicky Butt and Mateja Kezman in their ranks but the two haven’t been able to drive South China to victory. With their last match having been played 9 days ago, South China will definitely be the fresher team and the favorites to win.

East Bengal meanwhile come into this tie after a magnificent victory over arch rivals Mohun Bagan in the I-League, narrowing the gap on leaders Salgaocar to just 2 points. Coach Trevor Morgan will look to his star player Tolgay Ozbey to provide inspiration to his side.

Tolgay Ozbey

The match kicks off at 17:30 IST.

I-League champions Dempo SC will face off against Uzbeki outfit FC Nasaf Qarshi in the AFC Cup at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi in Pune.

The FC Nasaf coach Anatoliy Demyanenko said,”Dempo, despite their modesty, are a strong side and we know that they will come hard at us. We are not leaving anything to chance, Our philosophy has always been to win all games and we will continue to do just that.”

He also expressed concern over the hot and humid weather in India.

Dempo coach Armando Colaco said, “They (Nasaf) possess a strong character, which was evident when they reversed a 0-2 deficit to win 3-2 against Al Tilal (Yemen) in an away match. We know what we are up against. We have to play well to stay in the race.”

The Goan outfit have begun their campaign with a mixed bag of results  including a 2 -1 home win against Al-Tilal of Yemen and a 2-0 away defeat against Al-Ansar of Lebanon in Beirut.

The Uzbek side, on the other hand won both their home and away leg games 3-0 and 3-2 against Al-Ansar and Al-Tilal respectively and top the group.

The match is being held in Pune due to the lack of availability of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa. Colaco will have the full squad at his disposal as there are no injury worries.

The match kicks off at 18:45 IST.

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.