Tag: Indian national team

Intercontinental Cup 2018: Blue Tigers focusing on getting the job done

MUMBAI: Two back to back victories in the ongoing Intercontinental Cup seem to have made the Indian National Team more determined to “keep the ball rolling.”

“We have started off in an exquisite manner but now the challenge is to get the job done in the same fashion. The momentum needs to be sustained and we have to overcome New Zealand next, and then the final,” defender Subhashish Bose utters,

India who sit pretty on 6 points from 2 matches play New Zealand in their next league of the tournament tomorrow at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Striker Balwant Singh, who has been a revelation in the National Team since his return to the squad last year at the tri-nation tournament also at the Mumbai Football Arena also stays aware the “fresh challenge.”

“We have pulled off back-to-back wins but a fresh challenge lies ahead. We have to keep our head down and continue working. We are a confident bunch of lads and we hope we continue the job,” he maintains. Singh came off the bench the other night to lay it for Chhetri to score India’s third goal against Kenya in the last match.

Speaking at a media interaction prior the team’s practice session, winger Halicharan Narzary said, “Obviously we will be playing for a win against New Zealand, but it will not be easy. It will be remarkable if we win all of our three matches going ahead into the finals of the Cup and keep the winning momentum alive till the finals”

Post the two back to back victories, the team was involved in a recovery session at the pool and team meetings. The squad also went through a practice session at the Mumbai Football arena this evening.

“We are working as a unit and I, personally, feel confident to score more. As a striker, utilising opportunities and scoring goals is of paramount importance and I won’t compromise with that,” Balwant informs.

Subhashish feels the AFC Asian Cup will be a “huge platform” for the team.

“The AFC Asian Cup is going to be a huge platform for us where we have to be absolutely at the top of our game. This tournament has been going well so far and hopefully, we’ll leave Mumbai with some extra baggage,” he smiles.

Narzary adds: “The Intercontinental Cup is a very important tournament for us and before the AFC Asian Cup it will be a good platform to test ourselves against some of the teams of different playing styles of the elite level, that we don’t come across often”

Barely a veteran of two International matches, Subhashish is happy to having contributed for the team’s cause. “It’s so satisfying to have played my heart out to help us register back-to-back clean-sheets. But it was the defence line led by Sandesh-bhai and Anas-bhai who made it possible. Not to forget that had not Gurpreet-paaji not pulled off those marvellous saves, clean-sheets wouldn’t have been possible at all,” he quips.

Halicharan lauded skipper Sunil Chhetri as a motivation for every young football in the nation and said, “Sunil bhai is an inspiration in himself and he has been a role model for every young player in India. It is a joyous moment for Indian football that a legend has played 100 matches and I wish he will play even more in the coming years”

“We wanted to give Sunil-bhai a gift on his 100th International Cap and that gift was qualifying to play in the final of the Intercontinental Cup and defeat Kenya. Now we will take one match at a time and aim to win the Cup”, he further added.

I haven’t reached the stature to inspire international players: Chhetri

MUMBAI: Even as Chinese Taipei coach Gary White feels that his “youngsters will look up to Sunil Chhetri someday,” the Indian National Team Captain felt he hasn’t yet attained the stature where International Footballers will “look up to him.”

“I feel I haven’t yet reached that stature where International Footballers will look up to me,” he smiled. “At this moment, I am more concerned about myself and my career. Maybe 20 years from now with me having retired, I may reflect back whether I have inspired someone or not. But right now, it’s too premature,” the man with 99 International caps sounded humble.

Sitting pretty at 59 goals in International Football, Chhetri on Friday, also became the first-ever Indian Footballer to have scored three hat-tricks in International Football surpassing Appalaraju and IM Vijayan, both of whom had two hat-tricks to their credit.

Speaking about his telepathy with fellow striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, Chhetri who has scored 15 goals in the 25 matches under Coach Stephen Constantine attributed it to the duo having “played together” for long.

“The understanding comes from the fact that we have played many games together. Jeje is a supremely talented player. He really works hard on his game and is one of our best players. I try my best to help him and vice versa,” Chhetri said in one breath. “Two of my goals today (against Chinese Taipei) came off Jeje’s pass. He is a very strong player who can hold defenders. My job becomes easier when he is around.”

There’s however, a sentiment that Chhetri doesn’t celebrate his goals as much as his fans would love him too. “I feel extremely happy when I score. I am very fortunate to have played and scored for teams, both at the International level and at the Club level. I value my goals very much,” he reflected.

“Right after the game Udanta (Singh) was in the ice-bath and I congratulated him for scoring his first-ever International goal. Yeah, I am very fond of him but I told him: ‘Congrats boy. But 58 more to go.”

Ready to offer Chhetri a Myanmar passport – Gerd Zaise

MARGAO: Myanmar coach Gerd Zaise praised Indian National Team skipper Sunil Chhetri highly during the pre-match press conference held at the Pandit JLN Stadium today.

Referring to Chhetri’s goal making the difference between the two Teams in the first leg, the German Coach described Chhetri as the “most dangerous player.”

“The Indian captain is a cool customer and he’s the most dangerous player. We must take care of the counter attacks and the defence line must be cautious when it involves him,” Zaise stated.

The veteran Coach even went to the extent saying: “I am ready to give him a Myanmar Passport,” a comment which the Coach even made to Chhetri when the two met post the press conference.

“India are really good at defending and we have to absolutely on our toes to penetrate them. I would like to congratulate them on their success but tomorrow we have to take our chances to go back with a positive result,” Zaise stated. “We have come to Goa to play good football and take some points.”

“Our first target is not to lose. We were the better side in the first leg but eventually ended up on the losing side.”

He further added: “We need to score. Sometimes, you will get only one chance in the entire match and you need to utilise that.”

Captain Yan Aung Kyaw, nevertheless, dismissed talks of any “extra pressure on his side.”

“After 15 years we stand with a realistic chance to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup. We come out every day to get a win. Tomorrow is no different and we need nothing less than a win. There’s no other alternative.”

We are satisfied with the win says Constantine

MACAU, September 5th 2017: On a day when Indian National Team accomplished their Mission Macau with a 2-0 victory over the hosts, coach Stephen Constantine was satisfied and happy with the win.

“Congratulations on the victory. It was very difficult to break down their defense. It is a very valuable win for us. And we stay on top of Group A with 9 points,” he said.

“It was very hard to break them down as they were defending with 8 or 9 men. So we are happy with the 2-0 victory.” Constantine mentioned.

Constantine’s boys have now remained unbeaten in eleven games on the trot since the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Playoff Round 1 match against Laos on June 2, 2016.

Stephen was also happy with Balwant’s effectiveness after he came on as a substitute to score the winning goals.

“Balwant scored two goals tonight. He did what he was asked to do. He could have scored four but I will take two,” stated Constantine.

India are scheduled to face the same opponents on October 10 in the return fixture in India.

CFL: East Bengal face Peerless in a top-of-the-table clash


KOLKATA: East Bengal will be up against Peerless Sports Club in what promises to be a thrilling top-of-the-table clash in the CFL Premier Division – A at East Bengal Ground on Saturday.

Both teams come into this game on the back of four successive wins thus making it a crucial one as they will be eager to maintain and build on their individual records. However, East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil wants his team to be at their best and focus just on the game at hand.

Speaking ahead of the game, Jamil said, “It will be a tough clash. Peerless are a strong team. They have put on a great show till now so we need to be cautious in our approach.”

“We are taking one match at a time. I am happy with the way the boys are playing in spite of such a hectic schedule,” he continued.

On the team news front, East Bengal has been boosted by the availability of a full strength squad, apart from those who are in the Indian national camp.

“We showed good character against Customs and the important thing was to win. We will apply the suitable strategy against Peerless and do whatever it takes to win this match.”  Jamil added.

On the other hand, Peerless who put together one of the strongest squads in the CFL Premier Division – A, will rely on Ivorian Leonce Dodoz for goals upfront. The former Mohammedan Sporting Club striker has already done it twice this season and holds the key against East Bengal.

Apart from Dodoz, Lancine Toure, Alexandre Tabillon, Atinder Mani, Imran Khan and Dipankar Das — all played for Mohammedan last season — are other prominent features for the Fuja Tope-coached side.

“East Bengal is a big team and we have respect for them but we are neither afraid nor intimidated. We have our brand of football and we will play our game. I am confident about my team and looking forward to a good match.” said Fuja Tope.

Bengaluru FC sign Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC have completed a major signing for the 2017-18 campaign, roping in Indian National team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu from Norwegian side Stabaek FC for an undisclosed transfer amount, the club announced on Thursday.

While securing the services of India’s No.1 goalkeeper, the Blues have also completed the official paperwork in time for him to be part of the 2017 AFC Cup campaign. The lad from Chandigarh will be available for selection for the home leg of the crucial Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side April 25 SC on August 23.

Gurpreet who completed formalities on a one-year deal on Wednesday night, becomes the first Indian player to be signed from a European club by an Indian club in a move involving a transfer fee.

The keeper, who arrived in Bengaluru on Thursday, was ecstatic ahead of the newest chapter in his career. “I’m extremely delighted to have signed for Bengaluru FC. While the experience of playing in Europe was fantastic, lack of game time was an important factor in making the decision of moving back to India. I had an offer from another top-flight club in Europe, but the need to play regularly ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 was something that was on my mind.”

“The fact that Bengaluru FC was interested in me was encouraging considering what they have achieved over the last few years. With BFC playing on the continental level this season as well as the next one will provide the perfect platform for me,” he added.

Club CEO Parth Jindal was pleased with the Blues’ latest acquisition. “It’s a matter of pride that Gurpreet has chosen to play for BFC. For us, he as big as an European signing. His presence and leadership will add immense stability to the team. While he is with us we will provide him with all the support he needs to be back among Europe’s elite.”

Having already played in front of the Blues’ faithful on a number of occasions while representing India, Gurpreet is eager to take the field at the Fortress. “The fans here are fantastic. The atmosphere we had at the Kanteerava was unbelievable and probably one of the best I’ve seen. I’m now excited to be playing in front of them on a regular basis and hope we can achieve something special.”

Turning pro in 2010 where he had a brief loan spell with AIFF’s developmental side Pailan Arrows (2010-11), Gurpreet returned to East Bengal, going on to become the first-choice custodian in the latter part of his three-year spell. At East Bengal, Gurpreet won the 2012 Federation Cup apart from topping the Calcutta Football League on numerous occasions.

Standing tall at 6’ 4”, Gurpreet moved to Europe as a 22-year-old, signing for Norwegian club Stabaek in August 2014 where he featured in a number of cup games, including the entire 2016 Cup run. He eventually made his League debut in May 2016 in an away match against IK Start, and in the process, became the first Indian footballer to play in a European top division league. In June 2016, the Punjabi lad put another feather in his cap, becoming the first Indian footballer to feature in a UEFA Europa League match by playing against Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads FC in the competition’s qualifiers.

Having represented India (U19 & U22) numerous times at the youth level, Gurpreet was called up to the senior national team for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, and made his debut couple months later in the AFC Challenge Cup. After playing second fiddle to Subrata Paul, Gurpreet finally cemented his position as India’s number one during the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers while even skippering the side on a few occasions.

CFL: East Bengal look to carry winning momentum against Customs


KOLKATA: Defending champions East Bengal will be keen to build on their impressive start to the 2017-18 Calcutta Premier Division – A campaign when they take on Calcutta Customs at East Bengal Ground on Wednesday.

Having defeated Rainbow Athletic Club 4-1 on this past Saturday, the Red and Golds will be riding high on confidence but the task on hand will not be easy for the Khalid Jamil-coached side.

The Red and Golds will have to do it without the services of their skipper Arnab Mondal and Mohammed Rafique as both are in the Indian national team camp at Mumbai.

“We began with a win but we can not be complacent. The league has just started and there is a long way to go. We need to remain focused on the task at hand,” said Jmail on the eve of the clash.

“There are no easy games for any team.  It’s is a very tight tournament and I see many teams that have the qualities. What I seen till now is that all the teams here are almost the same. It’s going to be a difficult game as all the other games and I hope we can win,” he added.

Facing Customs, East Bengal will be depending heavily on Suhair V.P, who scored a hat-trick on the other day against Rainbow AC, and Willis Plaza to fire upfront. Joining them will be the likes of Brandon Vanlalremdika, Mahmoud Al Amna and Laldanmawia Ralte who will provide options in the attack.

The defense will be led by Trinidadian Carlyle Mitchell alongside Gurwinder Singh, who fills in for Mondal.

“After the performance against Rainbow AC, the spirit is high in our camp. Though we will be missing a few players, but I have full faith on our bench strength. I am hopeful for a positive result tomorrow,” Jamil continued.

“We respect all the teams as they do with us. Our target is to win the tournament, but we are taking one game at a time.” he concluded.

The match at East Bengal Ground kicks off at 3:00 pm on Wednesday.

CFL: East Bengal target winning start against Rainbow

KOLKATA: Defending champions East Bengal will be seeking nothing less than a win against newbies Rainbow Athletic Club when the sides clash in the 2017/18 Calcutta Premier Division – A opener on Saturday.

The match at East Bengal Ground will be crucial to either team for distinct reasons. East Bengal will be aiming to begin their title defense without any hiccups at their own ground, while Rainbow AC will be eager to make a strong statement on their Calcutta Premier Division debut.

“We intend to approach the match with the mentality to get all the points from it, in a short league such as this every point is useful,” said coach Khalid Jamil.

Starting well in the first fixture in their Calcutta Premier Division – A  campaign would be important according to Jamil.

East Bengal will start the game with almost full strength squad, the 2016/17 I-League winning coach will rely on his Indian recruits like Laldanmawia Ralte, Gurwinder Singh, Garbriel Fernandes, Cavin Lobo beside three foreigners in Mahmoud Amnah, Willis Plaza and Carlyle Mitchell, who are expected to play a important role in the game.

However, the Red and Golds will be missing the services of their defensive mainstay Arnab Mondal along with Mohammed Rafique, Salam Ranjan Singh and Nikhil Pujary, all of whom are called to the Indian National Camp in Mumbai.

“We are not walking into this match thinking we are favorites and that Rainbow AC are the underdogs. It does not matter to us because football has and is changing a lot. With many teams improving always, it is a negative thing to over duel on a supposed advantage because of pedigree. It always comes down to 90-minutes for both teams and it is exactly how both sets of players will do within that time.” Jamil concluded.

Interestingly, these two teams faced off couple of days back in a pre-season game which ended in a 1-1 draw. Therefor the Red and Golds will be looking to make amends.

New coach, new chant! Team India wants to ‘payback’ Maymol


KUALA LUMPUR: New Coach, new chant! “Discipline” stays the key word under Head Coach Maymol Rocky as the Indian Women’s Team gears up to take on Malaysia in the International Friendly on Monday (July 31), the kick-off of which at the MP Selayang Stadium is at IST 6.15pm.

“We have introduced fines in this camp. Whenever someone commits any wrong, she is fined,” Maymol, the first ever Indian woman coach in charge of the Senior Women’s Team informs. “Imparting discipline within the squad stayed a priority. Unless you get the pinch, you never learn,” she adds.

The girls don’t mind it as they understand “it’s for a cause.”

Defender Dalima Chhibber, former Captain Indian U-19 Women’s Team smiles. “It unites us. The team bonding becomes better. It makes you more disciplined. It’s fun, but at the same time, it pinches your pocket. It’s up to us to avoid the fines,” she says in one breath.

Keeping in tune with not taking things lightly off the field, Maymol wants the same kind of a smooth transition when the girls play on Monday (July 31). “We won’t be taking them lightly. They are a strong side. Once you are complacent, you will pay the price,” you had to agree with Maymol. “They are playing at home. It’s a big stadium. It’s advantage Malaysia.”

Maymol’s squad has been a conglomeration of exuberant youth and experience.

“Around 10 players have come up the ranks through the age groups. The average age of the side has gone down considerably. Barring around three, all the rest are below 25,” she informs.

As the cars zip past you on the KL Highway, the relaxed bunch of “disciplined” girls, most of whom are from small towns, gaze at the lighted skyscrapers from the window panes of the Team Bus.

“We wanted to take their minds off the game a bit. Hence, we took them to the Petronas twin towers. You also need to relax a bit,” Maymol, flipping through her snazzy mobile utters.

Jabamani Tudu, still a teenager, but already a part of the Senior Indian National Team, like all others, couldn’t stop admiring the might of the twin towers. “We need to repay Maymol-Maam. Despite the hectic practice schedule, she was kind enough to allow us to visit the towers.”

“Payback time,” that’s the buzz word at the Camp now. The new chant under the new Coach needs a perfect take-off.

At the Official press conference, Maymol wasn’t much willing to read into the FIFA Rankings. ”Not that we are a weak Team. But I never go into FIFA Rankings. We are aware of the development made by Malaysia. But we are confident as a Team,” she said.

Pointing at Captain Bala Devi, sitting next, Maymol further stated: ”She has a habit of scoring goals in almost every match.”

‘Will you score tomorrow?’

”It’s not about who scores as long as we score. We have specific roles assigned to us and we need to execute it to perfection,” the India skipper opined.

India is scheduled to lock their horns with Malaysia tomorrow (July 31, 2017) 06:15 PM IST.

Aizawl FC ropes the ‘Godfather’ of Mizoram football 

AIZAWL: I-League champions Aizawl FC, on Thursday, announced the signing of Shylo Malsawmtluanga for the new season. Popularly called ‘Mama’, the 32-year-old has been widely regarded as the ‘Godfather’ of Mizoram football and has a wealth of experience behind him.

Though some might say signing of a 32-year-old winger, who went unsold in last week’s ISL Draft, should not be celebrated by a club that won the I-League not very long ago, but Mama is still capable enough to cope with the younger talents and proved that while playing for Kolkata-based Southern Samity in the 2016/17 I-League 2nd Division.

Mama also gives Aizawl FC the experience boost they clearly need as most of the players from their I-League winning squad including coach Khalid Jamil has already left the club.

The diminutive winger started his career in 2002 with East Bengal, where he spent the better part of his 15-year-old career. He also turned out for the likes of Mohun Bagan, Salgaocar FC, United Sports Club and Bhawanipore FC.

Mama also appeared for Delhi Dynamos in the first two seasons of Indian Super League and has been capped 3 times for Indian national team since 2005.