Category Archives: Football

Gonzalo Higuain retires from international football

Category : Football , News

Buenos Aires, March 29: Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 31.
Higuain has not played for the Albiceleste since last year’s World Cup in Russia as manager Lionel Scaloni looks to revamp his squad for this year’s Copa America, reported Xinhua news agency.
“My cycle with the national team is finished,” the Chelsea player told Argentine television on Thursday. “A lot of people will be happy to know that, others maybe not so much.
“I’ve made the decision because I want to enjoy my family. I want to spend time with my daughter and at the same time I feel that I gave my country everything I could. I’m fully focused on my commitment to Chelsea.
“The Premier League is amazing and I really want to enjoy it. It’s very competitive indeed,” added the former Real Madrid and Napoli forward who joined Chelsea on loan from Juventus in January.
Higuain is sixth on the list of Argentina’s all-time top scorers with 31 goals in 67 matches in an international career that spanned a decade.
But he has been criticized for missing key scoring chances in the finals of the 2014 World Cup and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.
“People remember the goals I missed and not the ones I scored. I’m sure everyone celebrated the goal against Belgium (the winner in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final),” he said.
“When you criticize someone maliciously, it hurts everyone. I saw how much my family suffered, but I gave everything for the national team. It’s one thing to say that the national team did not achieve our objectives, but when people talk about failure it’s very hard.”


Aussie football legend Tim Cahill officially retires

Category : Football , News

Sydney, March 29: After four World Cups, an illustrious club career and having risen to the rank of Australian sporting icon, Tim Cahill has officially quit professional football.
In November, the 39-year-old announced he will no longer represent Australia at an international level even though he continued to play for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League.
Cahill said on Friday that he would not be seeking renewal of that contract and would instead be spending time with his family and pursuing opportunities in television, reported Xinhua news agency.
“I’m an old man now in football years,” Cahill told Optus Sport.
“I’d love to keep playing, you know 39, had a great stint for six months in India. But I’m interested in TV, going to start my A License and spend quality time with my family and chill out for a bit.”
Cahill’s club career spanned four continents — first making a name for himself in the English Premier League for Millwall and Everton, shining bright in China with Shanghai Shenhua and Zhejiang Greentown, taking on the US with the New York Red Bulls and back home spurring Aussie club, Melbourne City, to a league victory in 2016.
He leaves the game as Australia’s all-time highest goal scorer with a round figure of 50 goals in 108 matches, five of which came at crucial moments in Australia’s World Cup campaigns, making him a player the nation will never forget.


Arrows paving the way for other clubs: Pinto

Category : Football , News

New Delhi, March 29: Sometimes as we all move ahead in life, we tend to forget about the simpler things. Even when you have everything you can wish for, small things like the feel of soft grass under your feet, or the warm rays of the morning sun can bring great joy. A football season can be a hectic affair, both for coaches and for the players. During the course of a season, we all tend to complicate certain things that could actually be solved quite easily. I can say with an amount of certainty that my boys, our support staff, and myself have learnt it the hard way.
The Indian Arrows project was resumed last season, in order to give the next generation of bright footballers a chance to play regularly in the top flight. They could go to other clubs surely, and try to work their way up through the structures. But with so many seniors, and foreign recruits present in a squad, it is often natural for coaches to overlook the ones who are not as experienced in the top level.
A Shaky Beginning
I will not mince words when I say that we have not always been able to get the desired results with the Arrows. We finished bottom of the pile last season. This season too, we did not have the best of starts. We only had one win (against Shillong Lajong FC) in our first seven matches. I have been with this Indian Arrows setup since it was revamped last season, first as an assistant coach, and now as the head coach.
It is all about assessing what you have done. Back when I was the assistant coach, I would always take some time to take a step back and think about what I could do differently. I do exactly the same thing now as well. This is why, when we had a 10-day gap in the I-League, the coaching staff, including Hameed (goalkeeper coach), Mahesh Gawli (assistant coach) and myself sat down with the boys for a long chat. What you have to understand is that we had some rigorous pre-season tours in Spain (Cotif Cup), Serbia and Croatia. But the fact is that the quality of teams that we faced there was so high that we did not have many opportunities to experiment.
After playing these tough tournaments, we had a discussion with the boys, and we all decided to try and play a more attacking brand of football. We decided to try this in the first few matches of the season. We actually got off to a great start and took the lead against Chennai City FC in the first match of the season. But then we conceded four, and that was a hard pill to swallow.
Regaining Control
Mahesh worked on keeping the shape of the team, and I worked on how to turn defence into attack. However, we learnt through the course of time, that it is the little things that help you achieve your goals. It’s all fine to set up a drawing board and tell the players what to do. But you have to hit the ground and work on the finer things that would help you implement these strategies. So I started to work with the players on the basics like what kind of touch to take in different scenarios. This combined effort worked.
The fact that 11 of these guys — some of them as young as 16 — got selected for the India U-23 camp speaks a lot about how much they have improved over the course of the season.
Setting an Example
Yes, we took some time, but I think, we, at the Indian Arrows have shown the rest of the clubs in the country that you can use young Indian players to great effect if you give them the proper coaching, facilities and education. Older players will bring in their own brand of experience in clutch situations, but football is an ever-evolving game, and youngsters generally have a greater capacity to absorb information, and learn new stuff.
If you look at our matches, we have never allowed our opponents to sit, and relax. We may have conceded a goal or lost a match, but we have always dictated the pace of the game. We have our own pace and we play according to it, no matter who the opposition is. Sure, we do make minor changes with regards to the opposition, but our larger goal to dictate the pace of the game remains the same, as we are confident of the fact that we are one of the fittest teams in the country. Not many clubs can match our intensity for 90 minutes and beyond.
I myself have always worked with young players throughout my coaching life — be it at the Kenkre Academy, or the AIFF elite academy, or the Indian Arrows. Of course, it’s a more professionalised setup here at the Arrows as we are playing in the top flight, but developing youngsters and making them ready for the big, bad world out there is something that I have always been doing.
The current Arrows crop is a bunch of extremely talented players with a lot of potential. However, we have often seen good potential getting wasted due to certain wrong decisions in their lives. The players may decide to join different clubs in the future, but at the end of the day, they need to work things out in their head and go to setups where they will be around people who will help them improve — coaches, management, agents.
I believe that our coaching staff has given these boys that education, and wherever they may go in the future, they would go on to make the beautiful game more attractive.


Constantine’s successor must understand players: Bose

Category : Football , News

New Delhi, March 28: India and Mumbai City FC player Subhasish Bose has had a dream journey in his short career at the top level. An integral part of the Indian team during the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, the defender feels that India needs a quality coach to take control after Stephen Constantine left following India’s ouster in the group stages of the Asian Cup.
Speaking to IANS, Bose said that the team needs a coach who will prepare them to compete against the best in the business. While his admiration for Constantine is well known, Bose feels that it is time to move ahead and take the next step forward.
“Now that Constantine sir has left, we need a good coach to replace him and take our national side to greater heights. When the new coach comes in, he needs to understand all the players and hopefully he can teach us new things to help us perform well at the international level,” he said.
Asked if an Indian coach can do the job and carry forward the legacy left behind by Constantine, Bose said: “I feel Indian coaches have improved and are really good now, but if we want to take Indian football to a different level, we need somebody who can teach us new techniques and different strategies followed across the world. We need somebody who can revamp our style of play so that we can gradually compete with anybody in the world.”
India’s next challenge will be the Kings Cup in Thailand, if the AIFF accepts the invite. While Bose doesn’t wish to comment on the participation, he does emphasise on the need to play matches and improve India’s ranking which has once again dropped out of the top 100.
“With a new coach, comes a new philosophy! Now, it’s up to the management whether they can give the new coach enough time. For us, wearing the national colour is a matter of pride and we’re ready to put everything on the line once we are on the pitch while representing a billion people. Whether we play the tournament or not, we’ll try and do good things on the pitch that will help our ranking improve,” he explained.
Mumbai City FC seemed set to win their maiden ISL trophy this season till a heavy loss against FC Goa in the first leg of the semis. Moving on, the defender now wants to focus on the Super Cup.
“After the loss in the first game at home, we bounced back to win the next one, but it wasn’t enough to go through to the finals. We prepared really hard to turn things around, but it was a daunting task after a 5-1 defeat at home. So, we’ve shown signs of improvement and we all will hope to carry that momentum forward in the Super Cup as well,” he said.


Super Cup to get underway from March 29

Category : Football , News

New Delhi, March 27: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday announced that the final round of the Super Cup will kick off at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar from March 29. The tournament will begin with Chennaiyin FC taking on Mumbai City FC in the opening game.
While the cloud of uncertainty still looms large with one of the unified I-League clubs, Mohun Bagan, not registering its players within the stipulated time given by AIFF, the federation is ready to go ahead with the tournament.
Super Cup is the end of season tournament wherein top teams of I-League and Indian Super League (ISL) lock horns. The competition is played on a knockout basis. Penalty shoot-outs will be enforced to decide the winner in case both teams staying tied, despite 30 minutes of extra time.
This is the second edition of the Super Cup. The first edition was won by JSW Bangaluru FC.


Bayern confirm signing France defender Hernandez

Category : Football , News

Berlin, March 28: Bayern Munich have signed France defender Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid, the German record champions confirmed in an official statement.
The “Bavarians” have strengthened their squad for the next season after signing the 23-year-old versatile defender, who has put pen to paper on a five-year deal, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I am very happy that with Lucas Hernandez we have been able to sign one of the best defensive players in the world,” Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said. “Lucas can play both in central defence and on the left wing. He will continue our tradition of outstanding French players.”
Bayern’s new arrival played since 2007 for Atletico Madrid where he played his way through all youth teams. He joined the first team in 2014 and has made 110 appearances since.
Hernandez lifted the UEFA Europa League title in 2018 with Atletico Madrid before clinching the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France’s national team after beating Croatia 4-2 in the final.
“Today is a very important day in my career. Bayern is one of the best clubs in Europe and the world,” Hernandez said.
“I am proud to be able to fight for all titles with Bayern in the future. I would like to thank Atletico for 12 wonderful years. Atletico will be always a part of me. Now I am looking forward to my next step with Bayern.”
Front-runners Bayern Munich will encounter Freiburg at the 27th round in Bundesliga on Saturday.


GISB, SD Eibar in football business knowledge pact

Category : Football , News

Mumbai, March 26: In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Global Institute of Sports Business (GISB) on Tuesday announced its affiliation with LaLiga club SD Eibar.
The tieup will provide a platform for GISB students to deepen football business knowledge through a series of projects and interactions with the Spanish club. It also creates internship opportunities in Spain for select aspiring sports managers.
SD Eibar will leverage the Mumbai-based institute’s extensive network to connect with industry influencers and build understanding of the Indian football landscape.
On the association, Eduardo Valdés Jiménez, International Business Development Coordinator, SD Eibar, said: “We are glad to have partnered with GISB. Our entry point in India is unique unlike any other European football clubs till date and hence we had to choose a partner that fulfils our objectives.”
“GISB ticked all boxes as being a sports industry-oriented educational institute, they are well-placed to help us expand our knowledge of India and build relationships with the right partners,” he said.
As a part of the affiliation, GISB will serve as an on-ground knowledge hub for the LaLiga club. The institute will allocate class time for students to undertake research projects to support SD Eibar with planning, execution and evaluation of India-based programmes and initiatives.
The club will facilitate SD Eibar officials to conduct football workshops for GISB students throughout the academic year and create the opportunity for at least one deserving student to intern at the club’s front office in Eibar, Spain.


Indian football growing exponentially, says Dutta

Category : Football , News

New Delhi, March 26: Hosting two FIFA World Cups within four years and top-notch performances by national teams in international competitions have defined Indian football in the last 5 years.
Speaking on the sidelines of FICCI’s GOAL Summit 2019, AIFF Senior Vice-President Subrata Dutta, said: “Indian football his growing exponentially. It has grown by leaps and bounds. The holistic development of Indian football over the last few years has been a major achievement, and all associated with it should be proud.”
“Indian football is being talked about in the nook and corner of the world, be it in terms of our national teams or the FIFA World Cups that we have hosted, and will host,” he said.
India hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and is slated to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020. The national teams’ performances have been noteworthy as well, especially the senior team’s 4-1 win against Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup, the women’s team clinching the 5th SAFF title in a row, and the U-16 team reaching the quarterfinals of the AFC U-16 Finals, before going down by a solitary goal against Korea Republic.
“We have six FIFA-approved stadiums and plan to add four more by 2022. The National Centre of Excellence, coming up in West Bengal, will be a state-of-the-art centre and help in the training of players, coaches, referees and officials,” the Senior Vice-President said.
“Today we have 60 accredited academies, coupled with youth leagues and baby leagues. There are over 650 baby leagues being conducted with over 30,000 kids participating and this number will double over the years,” he remarked.


My team has the potential to give results: Ashalata

Category : Football , News

New Delhi, March 26: Ahead of the second round of the Olympic qualifiers, India women’s football team captain Ashalata Devi has expressed confidence in her young team and said it has the potential to give results.
The women’s team will be up against Myanmar, Nepal and Indonesia in the tournament, which will begin from April 3 in Mandalay, Myanmar.
Talking to IANS about the crucial event, skipper Ashalata said: “We performed very well in the SAFF tournament and the girls also gave their 100 per cent. In the second round we will face teams against whom we have played in the past. We have played against Indonesia and have also played with Myanmar twice.”
“As we know their game, their strength and weaknesses, we are preparing on that basis. I think Myanmar will be the strongest team of all and we hope to perform well against them,” she added.
When asked how difficult it will be for her team as most of the players are young, the skipper said: “I was nervous before the SAFF final as how my young team will perform but opposed to that, my girls did exceedingly well. Even playing at their (Nepal) home and in front of their crowd, the girls played with confidence and we won.”
“I am sure they will once again perform well in the qualifiers as we have played a lot of international games and my girls enjoy to play in the opposite team’s ground,” Ashalata added.
“As we performed as a unit in SAFF cup, the strategy will be similar in the qualifiers and they know how to deal in any situation,” she said.
Meanwhile, team coach Maymol Rocky said that it will be a bit tough in the second round as both Indonesia and Myanmar are good teams, but also voiced confidence in her team.
“No doubt, it is going to be a bit difficult but again, I believe in my young team as they have given results in international matches. I am sure they will replicate the show in Myanmar,” she opined.
Maymol also thanked the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for giving the team the much needed exposure and said it was due to AIFF that the team has been performing very well in the recent past.


England thrash Montenegro 5-1 in Euro 2010 qualifier

Category : Football , News

Podgorica (Montenegro), March 26: England bounced back from conceding an early goal to beat Montenegro 5-1 and maintain their excellent recent form.
The Group A favorites scored five goals for the second game in a row following their 5-0 win at home against the Czech Republic on Friday, reports Efe news.
Jordan Henderson, Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell were dropped to the bench and Declan Rice, Callum Hudson-Odoi – England’s second youngest starter in a competitive match, behind Wayne Rooney – and Danny Rose were brought in on Monday night.
Eric Dier, who was ruled out of the qualifier against Montenegro due to an injury picked up against the Czech Republic, was replaced by Ross Barkley.
The Chelsea man scored twice to cap an impressive midfield performance, with Michael Keane, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling also getting on the scoresheet.
Montenegro took the lead thanks to an excellent run and finish from Marko Vesovic, who curled a shot past the helpless Jordan Pickford.
Keane, who was at fault for that opening goal, got England’s equalizer when he found space at the far post and powered in a header from Ross Barkley’s deep cross.
England were soon in front when Barkley deflected Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot on 38 minutes to ensure that the visitors went into the changing rooms at half time with the lead.
Barkley scored his second and England’s third goal in the 60th minute after a cut back from Sterling left him in plenty of space to drive the ball into the net.
The City forward was again the provider for England’s fourth goal when he set up Harry Kane for a tap-in.
Sterling then rounded off the scoring with less than 10 minutes left when he was played in by Jordan Henderson.