Category: Domestic

I-League clubs proposed a new league format

CHENNAI: I-League clubs held a meeting in Chennai in sidelines of Chennai City FC’s crowning event and worked-out a new League structure involving 36 clubs. The restructuring plan is sent to AIFF on 18th March 2019 and 9 I-League clubs wants to meet AIFF president, Praful Patel to discuss I-Leagues future.

In the restructured League 20 clubs will play in the top tier and will pay 2 crore fees instead of 13-18 crores franchisee fees paid by Indian Super League Clubs at present. 2 teams will be relegated and 2 will be promoted from 2nd Division every season.

Concern Areas

I-League clubs have been the backbone of the development of Indian football and is now facing an uncertain future.

All ISL Indian players have their roots in some I-League Club or the other but that fact is being overlooked.

There is no marketing of the league whatsoever.

The question arises why is these new franchises being protected over heritage clubs of the country.

As per the current format, the Franchises of ISL are incurring huge loss every year and there are absolutely no chances or a roadmap to recover the losses in the near future. Hence the sustainability of the League falls under a big Question.

Way Forward

A 20 team professional league i.e. – IFL (Indian Football League)

Duration of the league: 9 Months, September to May.

Cup games to be played between game weeks. (European format)

Providing players with approximately 40 matches which is a minimum requirement for their development.

Marketing of the league to be done centrally.

All matches to be broadcasted live.

Promotion and Relegation to be implemented with no exemptions. (2 teams promoted and 2 teams relegated)

Parachute payment to be made to relegated teams.

Maximum number of 4 foreigners in each team (More focus on domestic players + reduced overall budget.)

Mandatory signing of players from home states. (Developing local talent and maintaining community connect)Strong Youth Development Projects of all teams.

Financial Suggestions

At present ISL clubs are paying franchise fee of INR 13-18 Crores and receiving INR 8-12 Crores from the central pool.

FSDL effectively raised net 150 Crores by marketing the 95 games in the season.

The proposed 20 team revamped League, would have 380 matches. (4X the current number)

We can take a conservative/ practical approach and generate a total net sponsorship revenue to the tune of INR 325 Crores (Slightly more than 2X increase).

This revenue can be divided in the following way:
                           20 teams X 12 crores = 240 Crores
                           Pool amount to AIFF = 50 Crores
                           16 teams of 2nd Division X 2 crores = 32 Crores
                           Parachute payment (2 relegated teams) X 2 crores = 4 Crores 

Investments can be done by the clubs in youth development, Infrastructure development (floodlights, various rooms, etc), fan and community engagement, in-stadia experience enhancements and improve overall home match organisation.

The additional funds available with the clubs would help them to fulfil various AFC club licensing criteria in its true spirit.

Mandatory 10% of team’s budget to be spent on youth development in line with  AFC Club Licensing Criteria.

Each team to pay INR 2 Crore participation money to AIFF / FSDL and no other franchisee / participation fee.

ISL 5 Final: Stunning Rahul Bheke header wins title for Bengaluru FC

Mumbai: Rahul Bheke wrote the last lines in a script that saw Bengaluru FC crowned Indian Super League champions with a 1-0 win over FC Goa in the final, held at the Mumbai Football Arena, in Andheri, on Sunday. The Blues’ defenders 118th minute header from a Dimas Delgado corner sealed the title for Carles Cuadrat’s men, who secured their sixth trophies in as many seasons.

In keeping with the build-up to what was touted as a battle of equals, Cuadrat and Lobera both started with a 4-2-3-1. The Bengaluru boss paired Rahul Bheke and Juanan Gonzalez in the centre of defence, while Harmanjot Khabra dropped back from the midfield to right-back and Nishu Kumar kept his position on the left in defence. Alex Barrera, playing only his third game for the club, had Dimas Delgado for company in the midfield. In attack, the trio of Miku, Udanta Singh and Sunil Chhetri had Xisco Hernandez sitting just behind them to orchestrate chances.

The Blues had the first whiff of goal when Miku, picking a pass from Chhetri, weaved his way into the Goa box only for ’keeper Naveen Kumar to get to the ball before the Venezuelan looked set to pull the trigger. Miku had another big chance in the 26th minute when Udanta’s shot on goal ended up at his feet. The striker brought the ball under control, got past an advancing Kumar but couldn’t do much with an angle that was tight.

Goa survived the first half without conceding given Bengaluru had the better of the chances in attack, but were dealt a blow when captain Mandar Rao Dessai had to be substituted with Saviour Gama, after the left-back pulled a hamstring, with minutes to the break.

After a cautious re-start to the game, Goa began finding their feet in attack, but kept running into Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who saw off a few half-chances without much fuss. Ahmed Jahouh had the best chance, picking up a lay-off from Jackichand Singh only to see his attempt on target with the side of his foot, fly straight at Sandhu.

With a little more than twenty minutes to regulation time, Cuadrat made his first change, replacing Barrera with the more attacking Luisma Villa.

Bengaluru had the chance to stick one leg in the door when Xisco picked Miku with a deft touch in the box in the 81st minute. The striker beat the last line defence and poked past an outstretched Kumar, only to see the ball come off the post. Goa then survived another Bengaluru attack in the third minute of stoppage time when Miku looked to hook the ball beyond Kumar from in the box. But Mourtada Fall was at hand to head the attempt out for a corner as referee Taqi Jahari blew his whistle to take the final into extra time.

The first half of extra time looked like passing by with only Xisco’s rasping drive from 30 yards that Kumar kept out, worth talking about. But that was till Jahouh lashed out at Miku and caught the striker in his midriff on the follow through of a challenge. Already booked in the first half, the Moroccan midfielder was sent off by Jahari, reducing Goa to ten men with fifteen minutes to play for.

Looking to make the most of the numerical advantage, Cuadrat made his second change, bringing on winger Boithang Haokip for Nishu Kumar while also sending on Kean Lewis in place of Udanta Singh. Bengaluru broke the deadlock just two minutes from the final whistle.

Having won a corner off Gama, Dimas swung in a set piece that found Bheke unmarked in the area. In space and with time at his mercy, the defender looped a header wide and clear of Naveen in the Goa goal, as the ball shook the net off the upright to send the traveling Bengaluru supporters into delirium. Bengaluru then sent on Albert Serran in place of Xisco as Cuadrat put a lid on things to secure the Blues’ first ever Indian Super League crown.

Rainbow dent Mohammedan’s final round hopes

KALYANI: Rainbow Athletic Club dented Mohammedan Sporting Club’s hopes of qualifying for the final round of the 2018/19 Hero 2nd Division League after beating them 2-0 in an Preliminary Round Group C clash on Sunday.

In a tight game which could have gone either way, Rainbow AC scored on the either side of the pitch through Joel Sunday (4′) and Sourav Roy (90+2′) to hand Black Panthers their fourth defeat of the campaign.

Going into this clash, Mohammedan SC (13 points) were on second place in Group C. But now must beat Jamshedpur FC Reserves in their last Preliminary Round match and at the same time hope TRAU FC (14 Points) and Rainbow AC (13 Points) drop points in their respective matches in order to qualify for the final round first time since 2015/16 season.

Mohammedan SC, enjoying good support in the stands, started the match on the front foot and had a few promising moments early on, but were kept in check by Rainbow AC’s defense of Emmanuel Chigozie and Enjamul Haque. 

It was at the other end, however, where the opening goal arrived and it was Sunday who scored to give Rainbow AC the lead in the 4th minute.

Rainbow AC’s lead, overall, seemed a deserved, though, for the manner in which their pace at times embarrassed Mohammedan SC defence, such as in the 11th minute where, with Mohammedan SC defenders scattered on the ground, Sunday’s shot thundered off the upright.

Mohammedan SC though created many chances but failed to equalize, as they failed to stick to their passing game policy. The players seemed to be more keen on playing direct football sending long balls from the centre-line as the Rainbow AC defence held firm and ensured that they retained the advantage going into the break.

In the second-half, the sides came out of the changing rooms with different tactics. Mohammedan SC were the first to surge forward, once again with the blistering pace of Philip Adjah, but Rainbow AC’s defence were up to the standard and managed to clear.

Mohammedan SC had most of the possession as the game wore on. But Rainbow AC intelligently and stubbornly defended their lead.

And with the home team pressing forward, their could always be the chance the other way, materialising when Sunday’s pass picked out Sourav to produce a fine strike into the top-right corner to put the game beyond doubt.

ISL 5: Bengaluru FC take the floor with Goa for one final dance

Mumbai: It’s been touted as the perfect pick for a showpiece event by fans and neutrals alike, as Bengaluru FC take on FC Goa in an Indian Super League final that holds the promise of going down as a game for the ages. The sold-out Mumbai Football Arena will see a new ISL champion by the end of Sunday night and Blues’ Head Coach Carles Cuadrat hopes that his men come out victors in what he’s labelled as a battle of heroes.

The game also presents Bengaluru FC and FC Goa a chance at redemption after both teams fell short at the final hurdle once before. The Gaurs went down 3-2 to Chennaiyin FC in the 2015 final, while Bengaluru went down to the same opponents by the exact same scoreline in last season’s summit clash at the Kanteerava.

While results in the League stages count for little in a format that needs you to have one perfect performance if you’ve made it to the end, Bengaluru will draw confidence from the fact that they have beaten Goa both home and away, this season. The Blues nicked a 2-1 win in Fatorda early in the competition and followed it up with a rousing 3-0 defeat of Lobera’s side last month. However, Cuadrat refused to buy suggestions that the results made his side favourites ahead of Sunday’s final.

“In what is a very genuine and honest opinion, I think both teams are favourites. There are a lot of factors that go on to determine a final and as far as the build-up to it is concerned, Bengaluru and Goa have reached this moment with similar numbers on so many fronts. Both teams possess quality all over the pitch and we both like to play football that flows,” said Cuadrat, at the pre-match press conference, on Saturday.

The Blues had dominated the League stages last season only to falter in the final and Cuadrat said that while his boys were keen to set the record straight, playing without pressure will be the key. “I know my boys are eager to win titles, and this one in particular. But I want to stay calm, play well and manage the game in a way that will help us instead of putting pressure on us.”

Both, Bengaluru and Goa possess game-changing individuals all over the pitch and it could well be one of those names that decide the way the night ends.

In Ferran Corominas, Goa have the top scorer of the League (16 goals) for a second season running. And while he has struggled to show any of that form against Bengaluru, the Blues know better than to let their guard down with the Spaniard around the box. Coro has been ably supported by Brandon Fernandes on the left and Jackichand Singh on the right, in attack. The duo, relying on pace, have chipped in with vital goals and regular assists and the Bengaluru defence will have their task cut out.

But the back four on the other end of the pitch will also be making notes of their own, given they will be coming up against the attacking trio of Miku, Udanta Singh and Sunil Chhetri. The Bengaluru skipper has a penchant for turning up on the big stage and with Miku showing more than just signs of a full return to fitness and form after a long injury lay-off, Bengaluru could well be calling the shots in the battle of the final third. Udanta too has been a vital cog in Cuadrat’s wheel this season where he has scored, assisted and even tracked back to help out with defensive duties.

“Finals, in general, bring out one special performance. It’s happened in games all over the world. Some players shine spectacularly in big games. We have players like Sunil, Gurpreet, Udanta and many others who can shine. The problem tomorrow is that Goa also have many players who can have a great game. Let’s see what happens, hopefully we can stop the Goa players from being heroes,” said Cuadrat.

The teams had contrasting routes to the final. While Goa romped home with a 5-2 aggregate win Goa, Bengaluru overturned a 2-1 deficit at the Kanteerava to go through 4-2 on aggregate against NorthEast United. And the Blues know well enough that they will have to dig deep and come up with another inspired performance in Mumbai on Sunday if they are to lay the ghost of last season to rest.

Raghu Nandy warns against complacency ahead of Rainbow clash

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club may be on their best run of form in months, but technical director Raghunath Nandy has cautioned his players about getting overconfident when they face Rainbow Athletic Club in an crucial Hero 2nd Division League Preliminary Round Group C fixture on Sunday, kick-off 3 pm.

Nandy’s side head into the encounter on the back of a morale-boosting 6-0 win over TRAU FC, while Rainbow AC suffered a 0-3 loss against Jamshedpur FC Reserves.

The former defender reminded his outfit about the fine line between confidence and arrogance as they look to secure maximum points against their Calcutta Football League rivals.

“There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence – we need to stay confident without being too arrogant,” Nandy said ahead of the clash.

Although Mohammedan SC have been invisible in their last three games, scoring 13 goals and conceding none, but Nandy is fully aware that anything less than three points against Rainbow AC, who are winless in their last five outings, will invalidate all their previous hard work.

“We are highly focused, we are concentrating on the match and we will treat it like a match as if we have not been having the run that we are on. We appreciate the run, we are thankful about it. We are getting results, but we have to be careful,”

“Rainbow will be up for playing an open game and will approach the fixture in a carefree fashion. We must be aggressive in order to beat them. We will need to be better than them from a technical aspect and also remain patient for our scoring opportunities,” he added.

Going into the match, Mohammedan SC will be without the services of Ivorian striker Desmos Arthur Kouassi, who is suspended for the match. While his absence may be a concern to supporters, Nandy has no such fears and insists no one in his squad is irreplaceable.

“Obviously this will be a blow for us given the goal threat that Arthur has been here. But we have players who can replace him and we will manage that,” said Nandy.

Bengaluru FC B held to a goalless draw by LoneStar Kashmir

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC B were held to a goalless draw by LoneStar Kashmir FC in a Hero 2nd Division League encounter at the Bengaluru Football Stadium, on Friday. The stalemate brought an end to Blue Colts’ four-match winning run in Group A, but Naushad Moosa’s boys stay unbeaten and on top of the group with 13 points from five games.

Playing their game after a long gap, Moosa started the game with six players from the first team with Aditya Patra returning in goal alongside Gursimrat Singh Gill, Sairuat Kima, Parag Shrivas, Myron Mendes and Edmund Lalrindika.

The Blue Colts began the game aggressively and created more than five close chances in the opening twenty minutes. The closest chances fell for Naorem Roshan Singh, Myron Mendes and Edmund. However, none was as clear as the one that fell for Altamash Sayed in the 12th minute. The playmaker was unmarked and at the end of an inch-perfect ball in from the left by Roshan at the far post. However, Altamash somehow missed the attempt failing to get a clean touch.

LoneStar Kashmir struggled to create any real danger for major part of the first half but had a glorious chance right before the break. Duleep Menon found himself clear in the box but his effort from close was saved by BFC custodian Patra.

The second half saw both teams struggle in creating clear goal scoring chances. While the Blue Colts saw majority of the possession, LoneStar Kashmir sat back, defending deep in their own territory, only pushing ahead on counter attacks.

It was Bengaluru who came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the 83rd minute when Altamash unleashed a powerful left-footer but his effort from distance was tipped over by Muhammed Nalakath in the rival goal. The Blues kept the pressure on and pushed up with most players but couldn’t find the breakthrough as the game ended 0-0.

Bengaluru FC B play ARA FC next at the Bengaluru Football Stadium on March 20.

Bengaluru FC B host LoneStar Kashmir in 2nd Division League

Bengaluru: Group A leaders Bengaluru FC B will be keen to build on their winning momentum when they take on LoneStar Kashmir FC in their fifth game of the Hero 2nd Division League at the Bengaluru Football Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Friday.

Having set the pace at the top with four successive wins in their group, three of which came on the road, the Blue Colts will look to make the most of the second half of the group games which takes place over the course of the next two weeks.

“The players had a short break after their last game in Delhi. We have been training regularly and some of our players were part of the first team for the ISL’s final League stage game against Jamshedpur. While it is not easy to push players without competitive games, we played a friendly in between which has helped us during this break,” said BFC B Head Coach Naushad Moosa on the eve of the game.

While Bengaluru’s away game in Srinagar was postponed, they have already faced their opponents earlier in the season. Back in October, the Blue Colts ran out 7-0 winners over LoneStar Kashmir in the J&K Invitational Cup. However, with the visitors having improved their team since then, Moosa expects his side to avoid complacency.

“We played against LoneStar in Srinagar at the start of the season. But I don’t want my players to be casual in their approach for this game. It’s important to stay focused and take this game seriously. It’s been five months since then and they have added two foreigners and a few Indian players to strengthen their squad. Which means they will be a different side to the one we faced. Our objective is to stay on top of the group and we will have to be at our best to take anything away from this game,” added Moosa

On the team news front, the Blue Colts will miss the services of midfielder Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha after the youngster picked up an ankle injury in training. Meanwhile, a few key players have returned to the squad, having been part of the first team in the ISL.

The game kicks off at 3.30 pm at the Bengaluru Football Stadium tomorrow.

Stephenson Pale’s hat-trick spurs Mohammedan to 6-0 win over TRAU

KALYANI: Mohammedan Sporting Club thrash TRAU FC 6-0 on Wednesday to keep their Hero 2nd Division League final round hopes alive.

The big win at Kalyani Stadium was powered by Stephenson Pale’s (43′, 71′, 90+1′) hat-trick. The winger was well supported by skipper Philip Adjah (45+5′ & 66′) who scored a brace along with Mohammad Amirul’s (86′) lone strike.

As a result of this win Mohammedan SC have moved to second spot in Group C standings on the basis of goal difference in head-to-head with 13 points from their 8 matches.

Mohammedan SC dominated proceedings from the very beginning and kept the ball in the rival half itself during the opening quarter, however, struggled to break down a well-organised TRAU defence.

On the other hand, TRAU who were pressed back for the majority of the half, did well to absorb the pressure and looked dangerous on the few times they attacked. Goalkeeper Priyant Singh had to make a number of fine saves to keep Mohammedan SC in the contest.

Nonetheless, Mohammedan SC almost took the lead when Satyam Sharma pumped up a ball from the midfield in the 28th minute. The perfect pass found Adjah on the run just outside the box, but the Ghanaian’s effort narrowly missed the target.

However, Mohammedan SC continued to push forward and were rewarded with the opening goal in the 43rd minute when Pale head past TRAU goalkeeper Mithun Samonto from Satyam Sharma’s free-kick to give his side the well-deserved lead.

The rampant Black Panthers added their second goal five minutes into first-half stoppage time when Adjah converted a penalty after TRAU’s Prem Singh committed handball inside the box.

Mohammedan SC started the second-half like a house on fire, and it was evident from the very beginning that Black Panthers were going to collect full points as TRAU players were outclassed in all departments.

Mohammedan SC duly added the third through Adjah in the 66th minute. TRAU defense gave the ball away carelessly and Adjah burst through into the area on the left hand side and deposited the ball past the helpless Mithun for a 3-0 lead.

It was 4-0 five minutes later when Pale grabbed his second of the day after slotting home a left wing cross from Satyam.

The scoring spree did not end there as substitute Amirul increased the lead further after striking home in the 86th minute. The pass came in from Arthur Kouassi for Amirul who produced a good strike from the edge of the area to find the left hand side of goal.

Meanwhile, TRAU had a couple of good opportunities to reduce the margin but the visitors were unlucky and Mohammedan SC well at the back.

Mohammedan SC didn’t take their foot off the accelerator and continued to dominate proceedings but had to wait till injury time to get their sixth when Pale scored from close range to complete his hattrick.

The Black Panthers will now prepare for Rainbow AC in their last home game on Sunday at Kalyani.

ISL 5: Goa set final date with Bengaluru despite loss against Mumbai

GOA: FC Goa booked their place in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 final despite a 0-1 loss in the second leg of their semi-final encounter against Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Tuesday. The Gaurs’ 5-1 victory in the first leg in Mumbai ensured their progression to the grand finale on March 17 with a 5-2 aggregate scoreline.

Goa will face off against Bengaluru FC for the title on Sunday at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Mumbai needed an early goal to have any chance of overturning the massive 5-1 first leg deficit and Rafael Bastos did exactly that on the 6th minute. Arnold Issoko rode a challenge, carried the ball forward and rolled the ball in perfectly for an onrushing Rafael Bastos. The Brazilian calmly slotted it in to open the scoring. Incidentally, it was the same Issoko-Bastos combination which led to the first goal of the first leg at Mumbai.

Goa, however, didn’t look even slightly rattled by the early goal and continued to exhibit their attacking brand of football, pressing high for an equaliser. Despite trailing the possession stats in the early stages, the Islanders carved out another big opportunity on the 23rd minute. Ahmed Jahouh, uncharacteristically, kept hold of the ball for a little too long, allowing Bastos to nick possession. The Brazilian sent Modou Sougou through on goal. Goa goalkeeper Naveen Kumar came out quickly to block the striker’s effort and Mourtada Fall swept up after him to clear the danger. The Mumbai players appealed for a handball by Fall, but the referee wasn’t interested.

After the 25-minute mark, the balance of the match switched towards Mumbai as the Islanders upped the ante and started pushing the Gaurs on the back foot. With Jahouh picking up a yellow card, the Moroccan was taken off on the 39th minute to avoid a second booking, which would have ruled him out of the final. Edu Bedia came on in his place.

Goa did manage to wrestle back the reins in the final 10 minutes of the first period, but the half ended with the away team one goal to the good.

The home team started as the brighter of the two sides in the second half, with Ferran Corominas getting an early look at goal. But his shot from distance was dealt with Amrinder Singh without too much difficulty. On the 56th minute, Coro found himself on the end of another opportunity to grab the equaliser, this time from inside the box. The Spaniard’s shot, however, came off the crossbar.

The Gaurs kept up the pressure, pegging the Mumbai defence back and even had a penalty claim turned down after Anwar Ali seemed to have blocked off Hugo Boumous inside the box.

With the clock ticking down, Mumbai created a few chances of their own to score. First, Sougou’s shot eluded the far post by inches and then Naveen Kumar pulled off a brilliant save to keep out substitute Matias Mirabaje’s dipping free kick. Sougou did get a second bite of the cherry from the rebound but blasted it high.

Philip Adjah: TRAU showdown a six-pointer for Mohammedan SC

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club skipper Philip Adjah believes their midweek Hero 2nd Division League Preliminary Round Group C clash with TRAU FC is worth six points. The match at Kalyani Stadium will kick-off at 3:00 PM on Wednesday.

Although, Mohammedan SC currently lying on 4th position in Group C table with 10 points from 7 points but a victory over TRAU, who are on 13 points from 7 matches as well, could send them to second behind Chhinga Veng FC and establish as firm contenders for a final round berth, however, anything less than a win and it could be over.

“Both teams are desperate for the three points. A draw won’t be enough and that makes this game a six pointer. For us we will go out there and just play our normal attacking game,” Adjah said.

“We know that we won’t have it all our way because there is so much at stake for both teams, it’s a must-win six-pointer for us. If they sit back and wait for a counter attack we have to make sure we are tight at the back as well while we attack them. Such games between such two teams are not easy ones but we want three points at any cost,” the Ghanaian striker explained.

During their past two matches, the Black Panthers were convincing winners and managed to score a combined total of seven goals in two matches without conceding any. Adjah himself scored thrice in those two matches and believe that they can beat TRAU for the first time in Hero 2nd Division League, based on their performances against ATK Reserves and Chhinga Veng.

“We are in a good momentum, getting the results, playing well. Both the teams want to play and win. I remember we lost to them on away, we were leading and then allowed them to come back into the match. So now we just want to win and kill it off here in Kalyani,” he added.

Nonetheless, defender Kamran Farooque who played a crucial role in victories over ATK Reserves and Chhinga Veng is not avalaible for selection against TRAU as he got a straight red Chhinga Veng.

Though Adjah has stated that the absence of Kamran will be a major loss for the side, but ensures that rest of team will soldier on and do the business against TRAU.