India to visit China for first time ever to play international friendly on October 13

NEW DELHI: As part of their preparation for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, the Indian National Team will be playing an International Friendly against China on October 13.

The match which will be held in the scheduled FIFA October window will be played at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium at Suzhou City, Jiangsu province. The kick-off has been slated for IST 5.05pm.

This is the first time ever than an Indian Senior National Team will be travelling to China. The two nations have till now faced 17 times, all on Indian soil — the last being 21 years ago for the Nehru Cup in Kochi in 1997.

For the record, India are yet to win a match against China. Off the past 17 matches, 12 have gone in favour of China while rest 5 were drawn.

However, the Indian National Team has been on an upsurge over the last couple of years, maintaining an unbeaten run of 12 official matches for a span which extended from June 2016 to November 2017.

Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation said that AIFF is looking forward to a “long bilateral footballing relationship with China.”

“Globally India and China are now being looked up to as two of the fastest emerging Football markets. The match will usher in a new era in Asian Football as this is the first-time ever that the Indian National Team will be travelling to play in China. We look forward to a long term bilateral footballing relationship with China in near future,” he said.

“Playing against China in China is a perfect way to gear up for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. China are a supremely talented side and it will provide us an opportunity to further gauge ourselves where we stand prior to the Continental Championships.”

India are currently ranked 97 in the September FIFA Rankings while China are at 76.

The October International Friendly assumes huge importance as it will set the pace for India’s preparatory process for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup (January 2019) in UAE.

National Coach Stephen Constantine stated “this are the kind of games we need.”

“China are a strong team and the match will be a tough test for us. But we need to play these sort of game right now. Getting to play under pressure is important and an away fixture in China is exactly the kind of game we need,” he quipped. “Hopefully everyone stays free from injury as it’s going to be an important game for the build-up to the AFC Asian Cup in January.”

Meanwhile, the India U-16 National Team had visited to China earlier this year for an invitational four-nation tournament as part of their preparation for the ongoing AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018.

Confirming IndiaFooty’s report Jamshedpur sign Arrows duo

JAMSHEDPUR: As reported by IndiaFooty on July 12, 2018, Jamshedpur FC have completed the signing of young prospects Aniket Jadhav and Amarjit Singh from All India Football Federation’s developmental side Indian Arrows. The duo have signed till the year 2021.

Also Read: Jamshedpur FC sign Indian Arrows forward

Both players were part of Indian National Football Team’s FIFA U-17 World Cup squad and have plied their trade for Indian Arrows in the I-League.

Born in Kolhapur, Jadhav was part of the AIFF Elite Academy batch that was preparing for the 2017 U-17 World Cup. After the showpiece event, Jadhav was selected to play for the Indian Arrows, an AIFF owned I-League team consisting India under-19 players. Along with him, Amarjit, who was born in Manipur, plays as a center midfielder and was the captain of the Indian team in the FIFA U-17 World Cup squad as they shared a camaraderie together.

After signing for Jamshedpur FC, Jadhav said, “I am glad to be part of Jamshedpur FC! It was been an amazing time representing India U-17 in the World Cup and Indian Arrows and I am happy to get this opportunity with Jamshedpur.”

Young forward Amarjit also showed his enthusiasm on joining the Tata Steel franchise as he said, “The journey till now (playing for India U-17, Indian Arrows, and now Jamshedpur FC) is like a dream though, and the love for this game surely makes my dream bigger. I am happy to be part of this club.”

Head Coach Cesar Ferrando was happy to see more developmental players joining the squad. He claimed, “Having players like Aniket and Amarjit is a good thing for us. Along with Gourav, Mobashir and Vishal, we hope they form the crux of our future squads.”

Club Chief Executive Mukul Choudhari added,” It is great to sign these two brilliant boys from the squad. We hope they have a long and successful future with the club. I would want to welcome both Amarjit and Aniket to Jamshedpur.”

The youngsters will be loaned back to Indian Arrows for one more season for them to gain more playing time in the I-League.

Minerva Punjab file Criminal Defamation Suite against AIFF

CHANDIGARH: Minerva Punjab have filed a Criminal Defamation suite against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Disciplinary Committee Chairman Usha Nath Banerjee and other AIFF officials in the court of Gitanjali Goel HMIC Chandigarh which is pending for 20th July 2018. In addition to the earlier confirmed Civil Defamation Suit filed on 30th May, 2018 claiming damages for defamation to the tune of Rs. 1 Crore in the court of Sh. Akashdeep Mahajan (CJM) Chandigarh.

Henna Singh Director of Minerva Punjab FC said, “We have not taken the grave accusations levelled against club owner and director Ranjit Bajaj lightly. The language used by the Disciplinary Committee Chairman Usha Nath Bannerjee and others in the order passed against Ranjit Bajaj dated 30.05.2018 is sensational and defamatory, without any real merit or proof. I am sure that any Judge will be able to recognize the motive to malign us, we have faith in the judicial system and are confident that in the end the truth will triumph.”

I-League 2017/18: Arrows Seek Vengeance On Depleted Kerala

0 The only Kerala-based side of I-League 2017-18, Gokulam Kerala FC will now be tested by Indian Arrows, the youngest outfit of the League as the Yellow brigade will host the developmental side of AIFF at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on January 12, 2018.

The I-League debutants are not in the right shape at the moment and their experiment with their roster is continuing. Odafa Okolie who has 100-odd I-League goals under his belt is the newest recruitment to them but he did little justice to his name on his debut for the Keralites.

Coach Bino George didn’t hide his frustration during today’s pre-match press conference too.

“Balwinder has chicken pox. He is admitted to the hospital. I have no idea what is happening”, he could not hide his displeasure as he is still struggling to find the right combination on the half-way mark of the league.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that the foreign signings should contribute more to churn out some positive results.

“The problem with us is the lack of foreign players. We signed Odafa because it was easy to complete the paperwork. He has scored a lot of goals.”

He further added that Arrows boys have a great future ahead as they have their age on their side.

“Indian Arrows are showing a lot of promise for the future. Their possession and passing are all really good. The small mistakes they are committing is due to their age. They will threaten if given space.”

However, the young guns who have taken everyone by surprise until now were on the receiving end during their last outing against Shillong Lajong FC.

The Kerala-based side also had the last laugh against the young guns in the first leg played at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi. Indian Arrows coach Matos recalled that match as ‘a strange game.’

“The match against Gokulam in Delhi was a strange game. They scored the first goal from a corner. Their second goal was from a free-kick. At the end, they got the three points.”

He informed that the team is travelling constantly and it might take a toll on the boys in terms of giving their 100% on the field.

“For us, tomorrow will be difficult. We are not in the best shape. Since December 19, we have played so many matches, so very short time to recover. It was a Lot of travelling. These are not excuses but reality. It is not easy for these young boys.”

Meanwhile, coach Matos tested a new defence setup last day having rested Boris Singh, Sanjeev Stalin and Anwar Ali. Asish Rai, Roshan Singh completely justified their selection with a special mention for goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill who was only playing his third match for the Matos-coached team in the Hero I-League 2017-18.

Matos further informed that Sanjeev Stalin is still nursing the injury and he’s unlikely to play his part tomorrow.

The Portuguese coach mentioned that his team is in a continuous-learning mode and they’ll continue to do so.

“We will try our best tomorrow to win. For us, it is important that the fans and the players are satisfied with the way we play. From every game, we learn”, he concluded.

I Wasn’t Aware That I’m The Youngest Goalscorer: Jitendra Singh

NEW DELHI: 16 years, 6 months and 13 days old defender Jitendra Singh became the youngest goalscorer in I-League when he scored for AIFF’s developmental team Indian Arrows against Shillong Lajong FC in their last match of the Hero I-League, a day after Christmas, a match which the Arrows eventually won 3-0.

Life hasn’t been the same for the sturdy defender since the FIFA U-17 World Cup and moments in I-League has provided Jitendra with ‘impeccable memories’, which he shares in an exclusive interview with the-aiff.com. EXCERPTS:

How does it feel to be the youngest goalscorer in the I-League?

Am I the youngest? I am not aware of that (smiles).

It is every player’s dream to score a goal. I was just in the right place to slot the ball home (against Shillong Lajong) and I did not even think about being the youngest goalscorer at that moment as I was doing my duty for the team.

It feels special to have my name in the record books but I am focused on my job which is to defend and contribute. Goals for defenders are rare and I am happy that I was able to score my first.

How has life been in I-League?

The I-League has been very challenging as it is the football of the next level when we play against some of the best club teams in the Country. Given the potential of players on the pitch, anything can happen at any given time and we need to be constantly on our toes and stay focused. Life has been tough in I-League but as they say – when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Is it hard defending against physically stronger opponents?

Defending against physical opponents is tough but that seldom enters my brain when I am on the pitch. It rarely affects me because when we step out into the arena the only goal is to give our all.

What has been the importance of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in your career?

We faced tough sides in USA, Colombia and Ghana and that helped in my progression as a defender. As a team, we developed more chemistry and more bonding with each other. The FIFA World Cup was a dream come true for me personally and I revere every second spent on the pitch in the mega event.

How helpful was it?

We learnt from our mistakes in the FIFA World Cup and we learnt how not to commit the mistake twice and that has helped us in our transition in I-League. We try to learn every day in training and try to be the best version of ourselves when we play in I-League.

Elvis Gomes hits back at Churchill Almeao, says few can’t digest the fact that a ‘common man’ running GFA

PANJIM: Goa Football Association President Elvis Gomes has blasted Churchill Brothers owner Churchill Almeao after the latter said because of differences between GFA and AIFF Goan players were excluded from the India U-17 World Cup squad. Continue reading “Elvis Gomes hits back at Churchill Almeao, says few can’t digest the fact that a ‘common man’ running GFA”

U-17 World Cup: We are raring to go says India skipper Amarjit Singh


NEW DELHI: “We are ready. We are raring to go,” simple yet very significant words from Amarjit Singh, the first ever Footballer to lead India in the first ever FIFA World Cup played in the country. “We will give our 110 percent on the ground,” he expressed at the pre-match Official press conference at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital on Thursday.

Some minutes later as AIFF President Praful Patel hugged him prior to the official practice session, the shy Amarjit said in an emotional tone: “We will give our 500 percent.” There was passion in his eyes, full of determination.

India take on the USA in their first match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in Delhi tomorrow, the kick-off of which is at 8 pm.

“We have our coach to decide the strategy. They (The USA) are a good team, so we can’t afford to get complacent anytime. We have to be at the top of our game throughout the 90 minutes,” he echoed.

On behalf of the team, Amarjit thanked all the renowned celebrities including cricketers, Bollywood stars, singers, comedians and the Footballing fraternity have shown their support on the social media for the boys in Blue.

“We’re overwhelmed seeing their spontaneous support for us. We’re really feeling great and it unites us more before the opening match.”

Amarjit also preferred to recall his long journey from the AIFF Academy to the FIFA U-17 World Cup and termed it as a ‘dream come true’ for him.

“We have undergone a lot of sacrifices until now. At the end of the day, we’re representing the nation and it matters for us. Really, it’s going to be a historic occasion for us as well as the entire nation. Everyone is backing us and it’s unarguably a proud moment for us.”

He added: “Come what may we won’t let the opportunity go easily and we would go under the skin of our opponents to get a positive result tomorrow.”

MFA & 8one Foundation announce the launch of India’s first structured league for 6-12


MIZORAM: The Mizoram Football Association and 8one Foundation are pleased to announce the launch of the Young Legends’ League (YLL) — a first-of- its-kind football league which will provide a platform for children aged below 12 years to play competitive football every weekend, paving the way for structured development. The league will also be aided by the AIFF. The 5-a-side league will take place in Champhai, the football-obsessed district of Mizoram which has produced several talented players such as Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lalchhawnkima, Lalruatthara and Robert Lalthlamuana and has been a feeder to different football clubs across the country. The league will feature over 500 matches, with each team playing more than 30 games over a period of 6-8 months, making it the longest football league in India. Every YLL team will have a squad consisting of ten players (including one female player), ensuring they get as much on-field exposure.

Announcing the Young Legends’ League, Lalnghinglova ‘Tetea’ Hmar, Honorary Secretary, Mizoram Football Association, said, “The Young Legends’ League will look to provide competitive football matches to children below 12 years to hone their footballing acumen and skills. We intend to increase the time children spend with the ball so as to inculcate both technical and social skills, which in my opinion is the best way to ensure holistic development of an individual. MFA believes in giving exposure to young talent, steadily helping develop players by giving them a platform to showcase their skills.”

The MFA has signed a 10-year MoU with the 8one Foundation for the Young Legends’ League, which will see both the parties organise YLL in Champhai till 2027.

Varun Achreja, Founder, 8one Foundation, said, “Our aim is to leverage YLL as a community mobilising tool that ensures the involvement of everyone in Champhai to execute this league and contribute to the development of kids through football. The initiative will emphasize on disseminating information related to education, nutrition, health as well as stress on the benefits of working collectively in a team.”

The All India Football Federation, has lauded the work of MFA and 8one Foundation in strategising such a concept. “It is encouraging to see that the Mizoram FA, 8one and Football Solutions are the first to work towards a sustainable and organic league that follow our Baby Leagues concept to maximise competitive engagement through the year. The ideal and philosophy for Champhai to now have long-term, self-sustained and intensive youth calendar will speak for itself 6-8 years from today. The foundations for player development will be unshakable as they are addressing the birth and growth of a never seen before playing culture that only a genuine community-driven effort can deliver. Starting the Pre-league Phase at 3-6 years of age will bring through another invaluable dimension to this structure that the AIFF will aid through customised coach education initiatives”; says Richard Hood, Head of Player Development at the AIFF.

MFA and 8one Foundation have also partnered with ISL club North-East United FC who have prior experience of scouting in Champhai. “Me and my team at NEUFC are extremely happy to support India’s first structured baby league which is taking place in Champhai, Mizoram. Through our various initiatives in Guwahati, Shillong, Imphal and now Champhai, we continue to stand by the commitment we have given to the 8 states” says John Abraham, owner of NEUFC.

The first edition of Young Legends’ League will be held at Chhangphut Ground, Champhai, Mizoram, starting from the 11th November 2017 to 23rd July, 2018. Each match will be played for a duration of 40 – 60 minutes with matches taking place on a weekly basis. Prominent football players from the North-East, especially from Mizoram, have voiced their support for the league, calling it an initiative that will be very beneficial for the development of the game in the country. Renowned Mizo Footballer and a role model for upcoming youngsters, Shylo Malsawmtluanga who is fondly known as “Mama”, said “It is a great opportunity for the youngsters to have this kind of organised Football at a young age. I am happy for the boys and thankful to the MFA and 8one for such an initiative”; Indian National Football Team striker Jeje Lalpheklua, who has gone on to become one of the prominent stars of the country expressed his thoughts about YLL. “This is one of the biggest Football news to come out from my state. I myself did not have proper football education when I was young. If the Mizo kids are trained to play competitive matches from Under 12, I am sure they will have a bright future in Indian football”. The foundation stressed on the fact that the country requires initiatives that provide competitive football from an early age, as is the case in European and South American countries.

India have first practice session in Delhi of U-17 World Cup


NEW DELHI: With less than 9 days to go for India U-17s to clash swords against USA in the first ever FIFA World Cup hosted by India, the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India, the Indian Colts had their first training session ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup under the watchful eyes of Head Coach Luis Norton de Matos, in the Capital at the Conscient Football ground in Gurugram, Haryana today (September 27, 2017).

The Indian U-17 National Team had arrived on yesterday’s eve from Goa and Head Coach Luis Norton Matos emphasized on tactical training along with focus on set pieces amongst other technical matters. Meanwhile, morale and spirits are at an all time high in the Indian camp with the young colts registering a 3-0 win over Mauritius in a practice match which the colts had played in Goa earlier.

That was even more evident on the training pitch as one could sense the scent of excitement from the players about to make history for Indian football in less than a fortnight. The players, even rightly so, were all ears to Matos’s commands as the technical staff along with the Head Coach guided them through drills.

“A unique moment is upon us”, said Matos. “It is an amazing moment in Indian Football’s history and everyone associated with it should be proud of it”

India have been draw in Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India with USA, Colombia and Ghana, and incidentally Colombia, the first team to arrive in the nation for the FIFA World Cup, are practising at the same training ground as India.

The Indian Colts face USA on October 06, before locking horns against Colombia and Ghana on October 09 and October 12 respectively at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital. The kick-off for all matches is at IST 8PM.

“The FIFA U-17 World Cup is a very big moment for every player as they will all become heroes. They will become the first Indian players to be part of a FIFA World Cup”

“These players will inspire generations to come, they will motivate posterity and that in itself is a victory”, he informed.

In an effort to field a strong team, the AIFF has provided exposure trips to the India U-17s wherein the colts went to play club teams and national team of Europe including clashes against Benfica, Serbia and Macedonia. The India U-17s also participated in a Four-Nation Tournament in Mexico alongside hosts Mexico, Chile and fellow Group A team Colombia.

“The level of enthusiasm in the camp is very high. We are prepared and the team has grown exponentially in the last couple of months. We plan to show the world that we are on the same page as the rest of the teams in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India”

“The Indian team is raring to go and make history”, Matos added.

We’re reaping the benefits of rigorous youth development program: Bibiano Fernandes


KATHMANDU: Having finished the AFC U-16 Qualifiers 2018 campaign on a positive note, Bibiano Fernandes, Head Coach India U-16 National Team hailed the AIFF for ‘nurturing young talents’ and supporting the youngsters ‘living their dreams from a tender age.’

“The AIFF is doing a terrific work over the years and the Academy is another example of its noteworthy jobs. Tapping on the talents across the nation and nurturing them rightly shows that we have a fool-proof strategy to scale the next level,” Bibiano commented on way back home from Nepal.

The U-16 team who are now unbeaten in 12 matches (including practice matches and official matches) are in a favourable position to qualify for the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 by virtue of finishing one of the five best second-placed teams across the continent and will be knowing their fortune only on September 29 when other U-16 Qualifiers across other venues in Asia finish.

India finished their unbeaten campaign with 5 points from 3 matches, having drawn against hosts Nepal and defending champions Iraq and beating Palestine by a whopping 3-0 margin.

“Drawing against defending champions Iraq shows our boys’ prowess and their temperament while contesting at the bigger stages,” Bibiano exuded. “I would like to thank AIFF for arranging the exposure trips to Egypt and Qatar, which have helped us immensely gauging our abilities and planning our strategies for the next matches.”

He also praised the AIFF highly for the youth development programme which has been started a decade back and the young gaffer termed it as ‘a brilliant initiative.’

“While congratulating the boys, we must not forget the AIFF’s inputs to achieve this feat. As I’m being informed, finishing AFC U-16 Qualifiers unbeaten hasn’t been very common to us but we’ve done it this time. It rightly reflects how we’re improving and I must say that we’re actually reaping the benefits of years’ rigorous youth development program which is nothing but a brilliant initiative, to say the least,” Bibiano said in one go.

“I really feel proud of my boys and they all have a bright future ahead. I foresee most of them playing for the India Senior Team in near future”, Bibiano stated.