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Kiren Rijiju launches AIFF Golden Baby Leagues Handbook 2019-20

NEW DELHI: Minister of State (Independent Charge) Youth Affairs & Sports, and Minister of State for Minority Affairs Kiren Rijiju, along with Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation launched the AIFF Golden Baby Leagues Handbook 2019-20 on the sidelines of the Intercontinental Cup in Ahmedabad.

AIFF Technical Director Isac Doru, and CEO, I-League Sunando Dhar were also present on the occasion. The launch also marked the renaming of the ‘AIFF Baby Leagues’ to ‘AIFF Golden Baby Leagues,’ with emphasis being laid for ages under 6 to under 12 as they form the golden age for learning — both for girls, and boys.

“Baby League sounds very cute to me. The actual scouting has to start from a very young age. I have been explained how it’s planned by the AIFF. I’m really interested to see the result of that. We’ll look to put more emphasis on the Golden Baby League tournament,” Rijiju assured.

The Handbook is a guide to help the stakeholder to organize the Golden Baby League. The Leagues aim is to provide access to football in localities irrespective of gender, religion, economic background, or ethnic origin. The League can be organized by anyone, as long as the Handbook guidelines are met.

The AIFF has invited all stakeholders including state associations, clubs, academies, schools, non-government organizations, parents, coaches, football fans to be a part of this grassroots player development initiative. The Handbook can be downloaded from the ‘Document Library’ of the AIFF website, under ‘About AIFF.’

AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das stated that the Golden Baby Leagues “will help more kids to fall in love with the sport.”

“The formative years of a child have always laid the bedrock for a successful footballing culture. The AIFF is now stressing to popularise the sport among the kids. We aim to have every kid playing football under 6 to under 12. The more they play, the more will Indian Football benefit,” Das said.

Isac felt the “completion system is part of the development” for a kid.

“The Golden Baby Leagues, with his new format, and developments is proposing a platform for the Golden Age period players to self-express themselves, and their individual development,” he explained.

“I want to take this opportunity to ask the parents, coaches, and the organizers of the League to understand that the main objectives of playing those games. We need to create a competitive environment in which the players are developing their creativity, self-expression, passion of the game and discovering the value of friendship throughout the team,” the Technical Director said.

“I would also like to encourage the parents or anyone to feel free to contact us for any case of age-fraud activities, and we will act strongly against the offenders.”

Mr. Dhar maintained that the Golden Baby Leagues will further aid the holistic development of Indian Football’s ecosystem.

“The transition of these kids under 6 to under 12 to the U-13 League will now be even smoother. The entire purpose is to present a seamless pathway to the kids and their parents who dream to make it big,” Dhar opined.

Bengaluru FC add Sachin Badhade to Academy Staff

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC have confirmed the addition of I-League winning coach Sachin Badadhe to the Academy staff, the club announced on Tuesday. The 39-year-old AFC ‘A’ License holder joins the Blues’ residential set up in Bellary after guiding I-League side Minerva Punjab to a third-place finish in Group E of the AFC Cup.

Badhade, who completed his AFC ‘A’ License in 2019, brings in valuable experience to the BFC Academy where he will take charge of the U15 squad. Welcoming him to the Bengaluru-fold, Head of Youth Development, Naushad Moosa said, “It’s great to have Sachin as the Head Coach of our U15 side. He is someone who has experience at both the youth and senior level and it will help him deal with all the youngsters in the right way. We’ve had a lengthy discussion about the club’s philosophy and what is expected from him. He sounded comfortable and understands his role. Given that the U15 level is an important phase for the players, he will play a crucial role in getting the boys up to speed with the tactical aspects of the game.”

Meanwhile, Badadhe who signed a two-year deal with the Indian Super League champions, was excited at the prospect of working at the extensive set-up at Bellary, “I would like to thank the club management for giving me this opportunity. I am excited and all geared up to work with the most professional club in the country. It won’t be an easy job, but I aim to always give my best.”

“I believe a lot in discipline, and that’s one of the key aspects I’ll look to imbibe on the youngsters. Discipline is important both on and off the field, and once we achieve a good level, all things will work for us from there on. That’s what I’ve learnt coaching at the top level and that’s the aim as we want to get as many players to the top level as possible,” added Badadhe, who is hoping to bring in his continental experience handy in helping the youngsters move up in Bengaluru’s player pathway.  

Having played football locally in Pune and Mumbai, Badadhe turned to coaching in 2014 with the Maharashtra State Police, before joining Bharat FC (2015-16) as a Youth Coach. The Pune-native went on to train Maharashtra’s U17 (2016) and U18 (2017) teams apart from working with Madhya Pradesh’s Pride Sports FC (2016-17).

His big break came in 2017-18 at Minerva Punjab where he won the I-League title as an Assistant Coach before taking over as the Head Coach in 2019 leading them into the AFC Champions League qualifier and the AFC Cup Group Stage apart from the latter half of the I-League.

While Badadhe takes over as the U15 Coach, Ajay Chorge who guided the team to the Junior League finals last season will take over as the coach of the U13 team which will be fully residential in Bellary starting this season. As part of the youth restructuring, the U18 side will now be based in Bengaluru and will train under Naushad Moosa and Sandesh Bhoite forming a major part of BFC B with a view of getting more competitive action at a higher level. 

ISL 5: NorthEast, Delhi share spoils after thrilling tie

GUWAHATI: NorthEast United FC and Delhi Dynamos FC played out an engaging 1-1 draw at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday. The home team had the better of the chances, particularly in the second-half, but couldn’t take advantage.

The result mathematically rules Delhi out from the top four race, while fourth-placed NorthEast missed the opportunity to go six points clear of the chasing pack.

With both teams taking time to settle in, the match got off to an edgy start without any notable chances in the first 15 minutes. The first big chance of the match fell Delhi’s way and as usual, Lallianzuala Chhangte was involved. The youngster checked back to elude his marker down the left wing and played in a lovely cross to find Vinit Rai’s run inside the box. Rai, however, snapped at it and missed the target altogether.

Delhi squandered yet another golden opportunity on the 24th minute when NorthEast goalkeeper TP Rehenesh’s terrible clearance fell right at Chhangte’s feet. The Delhi no. 7 only needed to beat Rehenesh, but the Highlanders custodian made a good stop to save himself from embarrassment.

With the Lions seemingly taking control of the match, NorthEast head coach Eelco Schattorie made a tactical change, bringing on Gurwinder Singh in place of Redeem Tlang. The personnel swap saw Jose Leudo, who started the match as a centre back, move up to the midfield and the impact was noticeable immediately as the Highlanders looked much more convincing going forward and kept Delhi goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro busy. Delhi, on the other hand, continued their probes into the NorthEast half and forced Rehenesh into making a couple of saves too.

NorthEast could have seized the initiative in the dying minutes of the first-half after new signing Panagiotis Triadis beat Dorronsoro with a lovely curling shot, but only managed to hit the base of the woodwork.

It was goalless at half-time, with everything to play for in the second 45 minutes.

NorthEast’s star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, who was kept quiet by Gianni Zuiverloon and Marti Crespi in the first-half, got his first sniff of goal five minutes after the restart. Robert Lalthlamuana sent Ogbeche through on goal with a through ball and the striker tried to curl one around the massive frame of an onrushing Dorronsoro. The 34-year-old lost his balance slightly and saw his effort miss the far post by inches.

It was the home team dictating the terms after the break with Ogbeche and Federico Gallego looking much sharper than they did in the first 45 minutes. Triadis, too, looked a handful down the left wing with his bag of tricks and almost set up Ogbeche with a cheeky rabona just before the hour mark. Ogbeche’s header, however, was straight at Dorronsoro.

The Highlanders looked the favourites to grab the first goal, but to everyone’s surprise it was Delhi who took the lead against the flow of the match. On the 67th minute, Rehenesh failed to gather a cross from substitute Romeo Fernandes and birthday boy Marcos Tebar was in the right place at the right time to poke the ball into the net. The goal prompted a wild celebration, with Josep Gombau joining in with his players.

The joy, however, lasted just four minutes. NorthEast were awarded a penalty after Narayan Das brought down Ogbeche inside the box and the Nigerian frontman promptly converted the spot kick to draw things level.

The equaliser set the match up for a frantic final 20 minutes, with both teams looking for a winner. Deep into stoppage time, Rowllin Borges found space inside the Delhi box and took his shot on. Dorronsoro got the slightest of touches to the deflected effort and to Delhi’s relief, the ball eventually came out after hitting the underside of the crossbar. The match ended with the score reading 1-1.

Bengaluru FC win Puttaiah Memorial Cup

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC clinched their second Puttaiah Memorial Cup after a 2-1 win over Madras Engineering Group (MEG) in the final of the 2018 edition of the competition at the Bangalore Football Stadium, on Sunday. In an entertaining clash, it was Myron Mendes’ (86’) late winner that handed Blue Colts their first piece of silverware this season after MEG’s Rahul (56’) had cancelled out Lalengzama Vangchhia’s (41’) opener.

Going into the decisive game, Coach Naushad Moosa made one change as Altamash Sayed replaced Ajay Chhetri in the starting line-up. The first close chance fell for Bengaluru when defender Parag Shrivas released Edmund Lalrindika clear down the left flank with a quick throw-in. The attacker raced past his marker while controlling the ball but his low left-footed drive across the goal went inches wide at the far post.

Meanwhile, MEG who were restricted to only a few counter attacks throughout the half, had their close moment midway through the first half. A freekick pumped in from the right flank was headed out by Namgyal Bhutia and fell kindly for MEG attacker Leon who’s attempt on the half-volley sailed just over the horizontal.

The Blue Colts finally broke the deadlock five minutes from the break. Midfielder Myron Mendes was fouled right on the edge of the box. Lalengzama stepped up to take the resultant freekick and curled his attempt perfectly at the far post for his first goal of the competition.

The second half was a completely different story as MEG began attacking with intent. A momentary lapse of defence in the BFC backline allowed them to pull level when winger Rahul slotted home Ramu’s neat through pass to make it 1-1 in the 56th minute.

Thereafter it was an end-to-end affair with both sides creating chances. While the Blue Colts created majority of them, the closest they came was in the 68th minute. Substitute Leon Augustine and Naorem Roshan Singh combined well on the right flank before the former chipped in a ball at the far post from inside the box. Biswa Darjee who timed his run well powered the ball goalward with a diving header but his effort was cleared off the line by MEG defender Reagan.

Bengaluru kept their pressure on and had back-to-back chances through Edmund in the final ten minutes who was only denied by the rival custodian Sharath. First, he somehow kept Edmund’s effort out from the edge of the box after BFC attacked on a quick freekick in the 83rd minute, before blocking his shot at the first post from close range a minute later.

As the Blue Colts pushed ahead, left-back Parag Shrivas was fouled on the left earing a freekick in the process. Altamash fired a low effort from the set piece to find Myron who pulled out of the crowd to fire home a first-time left-footer and seal the game in Bengaluru’s favour with five minutes to go on the clock.

Bengaluru FC B’s Parag Shrivas was among the individual awards as he picked up the best defender of the tournament.

Danilo replace fellow Brazilian Wellington in NorthEast United

GUWAHATI: NorthEast United FC has completed the signing of Brazilian marksman Danilo Lopes Cezario as a replacement of his fellow countryman Wellington Carlos da Silva, who pulled himself out of the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) 2017/18.

The Highlanders has signed Wellington in September along with seven other foreigners. However, just days before the commencement of their pre-season at Turkey the striker informed the club management that he is unable to move outside Brazil due to personal reasons which saw the John Abraham-owned side signing Danilo at eleventh hour.

Danilo began his career at legendary Brazilian club Santos FC before giving his services to a host of lower division Brazilian clubs such as Vila Nova, Parana, Goiás and Rio Claro. The 26-year-old more recently has played for Israeli Premier League side Hapoel Tel Aviv.

The striker has started for NorthEast United in most of their pre-season games and did enough to please the Portuguese Head Coach Joao de Deus.

We understood that NorthEast United has always found it difficult to score goals compared to other teams in ISL. Danilo would offer them a versatile option in attack and could possibly become a focal point upfront.

Bengaluru FC off to a winning start in U13 Youth League

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC’s U-13 side got off to a winning start in the inaugural edition of the U13 Youth League with a dominant 6-0 victory over Stadium Sports Foundation at the Bangalore Football Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. In a game dominated majorly by the Blue Colts, it was Soham Varshneya (25th and 33rd minutes) who opened the scoring in the first half with back-to-back penalty kick conversions.

Meanwhile, striker Ankith P., who fell short of converting a host of chances in the first half, made up for it in the second, scoring four times (37th, 38th, 42nd and 49th) in a twelve-minute spell to seal all three points for the home side.

Speaking after the game, striker Ankith P. shared his joy of getting the important win in the opening game of the campaign. “It was very good experience playing the first competitive match of the season. In the first half we missed a few close chances, but I think we made up for it in the second period. Ozone FA is a professional team as well and the second-round match will be a good one.”

Midfielder Soham who netted twice from the spot was elated to score in front of his parents and said, “I’m really happy to have scored twice in front of the crowd and my parents. The result is a very good one and will help us ahead of our second game.”

North East United FC Signed Marquee Player

North East United Football Club has signed World Cup 2010 & European 2008 Championship Winner; Spanish Defender, Joan Capdevila as their Marquee player for the inaugural season of Indian Super League.

Capdevila who marshalled the left back position for the La Roja, was a prominent member of the sides that won both the World Cup in 2010 and European Championship in 2008. He has played over 400 games with 36 goals in the Spanish La Liga for big Guns like Espanyol, Athletico Madrid, Deportivo, and Villarreal.

Capdevilla last season played for La Liga Club, Espanyol and expressed his delight on recently signing for NorthEast United FC, “At this stage, after winning everything to be won a new challenge was needed. After speaking to John Abraham about the way he is passionately looking to promote football in India and the project of NorthEast United FC, it excited me to take up this challenge.

India is a huge country and it should be a privilege for me to be a small part in popularising this global game here and working with the young talented footballers of North East India.”


David James set to be the marquee signing for Tendulkar’s Kerala Blasters

Former England goalkeeper David James is expected to be the marquee player of Sachin Tendulkar’s ISL Franchize Kerala Blasters FC.

This 44-year old goalkeeper had showed interest to become a part in first edition of the Indian Super League.

According to sources James will serve the frnchize as both player-manegar.

Earlier in the year James decleared himself bankrupt according to reports of English media.

I want to play a key role in helping Dempo win the Airtel I-League title this season.

Jeje Lalpekhlua, the 22-year-old Mizoram striker who signed for Goan giants Dempo SC at the start of the 2013/14 Airtel I-League season has scored four goals so far. Recently named the 2013 AIFF Emerging Player for the Year, Lalpekhlua, feels his Team can go on to win the Airtel I-League this season.


How did you react after winning the 2013 AIFF Emerging Player of the Year?

I’m happy that the All India Football Federation have recognised my hard work and named me as the Emerging Player this year. It’s a moment of joy for me and a drive to perform even better next year and subsequently in the coming years. I’ve got to work even harder from now on. I must add that I was lucky enough not to suffer from any major injuries this year. It was the best possible manner to finish 2013 on a high and as I look forward to 2014, I’m positive.

You have four goals to your name in the Airtel I-League at the moment. How much does that make you confident?

It is definitely a good feeling. I always aim and try my best to score more goals, as many as possible. I’ll try scoring more as well, as it is my aim. Scoring goals enhances one’s confidence and one is eventually rewarded. It feels nice to be back in the National Team once again.

Are you happy the manner in which things have panned out so far?

I hope to keep improving. So far, I’m satisfied with my performances. However, I am looking forward to performing much better than I have done so far.

Which are the areas would you like to improve on?

Football is a Team game. It is all about team work. If that can be performed well, the Team also develops as a whole.

How do you see Dempo’s chances this season?

We are definite title contenders this season, and I’m sure we can go all the way. We definitely can win the title this year!

As of now, we haven’t seen Dempo perform very well this season, and they are sitting in the 10th position in the table. Do you still think you are title contenders?

Of course! We are pretty sure we’ll do a turnaround. It is football after all, and anything is possible. We have a new Coach, and it is like a bit of a transition period for us. We need time to get on with the things, and once we have accustomed to everything, the results will speak! What drives us all is positivity.

Which milestone are you looking forward to achieving this Season?

I will try my best, and look forward to scoring as much as I can. I also want to play a key role in helping Dempo win the Airtel I-League title this season.

Finally, how did you spend your Christmas this year?

Well, it is the time of the year we look forward to! And yeah, a bit of shopping, celebrations, and most importantly, some quality time with my family!

I also wish all of you a wonderful New Year.

United SC likely to disband team

Unable to rope in a sponsor yet, the United SC management fears the lack of funds might lead to disbanding of the team. And if things continue in the same manner, it won’t be long before the decision is taken.

It’s been five months into this season and club officials haven’t been able to get a sponsor for the team ever since the deposit-collection controversy led to its parting ways with the Prayag Group — United SC’s previous sponsor.

The team’s performance, too, has taken a dip as club officials and coach Eelco Schattorie agree it’s mainly due to the financial crisis, which has badly affected the players’ motivation level. “We’re really frustrated over the entire matter.

“It’s not possible to run a club solely on borrowed money. It’s getting difficult each passing day. We want to keep hoping for the best instead of throwing in the towel. But nothing positive seems to be happening.

“If things carry on in this manner, we’ll have to give up,” club secretary Alokesh Kundu lamented, on Tuesday.

“We feel extremely bad for the players. You can’t expect them to deliver every time if you’re not able to pay them properly.”

Another official, too, echoed Kundu’s words. “Day-to-day survival is becoming difficult because of the present circumstances. Before the season began, we had got in touch with some companies to settle our sponsorship issue, but they backed out at the last moment.

“Releasing all the foreign players in the squad and playing only with locals is possible in a tournament like the CFL. But in a tournament like I-League where there’s immense competition, you do need the services of overseas players. You cannot succeed without them.”

After the 0-4 thrashing at the hands of Mohun Bagan the other day, Schattorie had remarked that this was the “toughest condition” he had worked under. After Tuesday’s barren draw against Dempo in the I-League, the coach commented that “a feeling of insecurity” has crept into his players, as a result of which, they are unable to deliver.

“At present, we desperately need a positive energy to get the team back on track. But I don’t see anything around. I’m not blaming anyone because people are trying for a solution..

“You can’t just rely on hope to pull you through. Once the hope vanishes, everyone becomes de-motivated and frustrated. And there’s every reason for the hope to vanish.

“Due to the prevailing situation, I feel there’s insecurity amongst players and that could be the main reason why the team is not performing up to the mark,” the Dutchman said.

Buzz is East Bengal officials have got in touch with Ranty Martins and the latter may make a move during the January window. United SC team director Nabaab Bhattacharya had a meeting with Ranty on Tuesday evening and is confident that the Nigerian will stay with the club.

“I’m not interested if any team has approached Ranty or not. All I can say is that he has promised a better performance in the remaining matches,” Bhattacharya remarked.

But here’s what Ranty had to say. “I can’t comment on offers because it’s my personal matter. But I may have to weigh my options during the transfer window.”