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Igor Stimac’s reign as India coach begins with stiff test at King’s Cup

Jaydeep Basu



India will begin their King's Cup campaign against Curacao on June 5.

New Delhi: India have often lost by big margins in international football, the worst being the 10-1 defeat against Yugoslavia in 1952 Olympics.

But what happened in 1981 King’s Cup in Bangkok was simply unacceptable – India were hammered by a South Korean army side 6-0.

So poor was India’s performance in the four-team group that it took the organisers 38 years to invite them to play the King’s Cup once again.

Prasanta Banerjee, a member of the 1981 side and now a part of AIFF technical committee, puts the blame on the then coaching staff.

“Since the 1982 Asian Games was just a year away, our chief coach PK Banerjee decided to bring in few fresh faces in the playing eleven. The experiment proved disastrous,” said Banerjee.

Skipper Bhaskar Ganguly was not played under the bar. Worst hit was the defence. Manoranjan Bhattacharya did not travel with the team because of injury. The other central defender, GS Parmar was benched.

Banerjee doesn’t “remember” who took their places. “It cost us dear”, was all the legendary midfielder had to say.

The King’s Cup will be Igor Stimac’s first test as the new India coach and Sunil Chhetri will be leading the attack.

Needless to say faithful fans of the King’s Cup, which started in 1969, won’t have many good things to say about the last time they watched India in action.

But there are reasons to believe the fans would watch a completely different India when Igor Stimac’s boys start their campaign against Caribbean nation Curacao at the Chang Arena Stadium in Buriram on Wednesday.

If the reports are to be believed, then Curacao, 82 in the FIFA ranking, are a formidable side having footballers, who play for top European clubs.

They will be led by Everton star Cuco Martina. Former Aston Villa player Leandro Bacuna is also in the squad. The opening match is not going to be easy before India aspire to play the winners of Thailand and Vietnam.

Indian fans are bubbling with enthusiasm, especially after Stimac has taken over. He has also brought in goalkeepers’ coach Tomislav Rogic and fitness coach Luka Radnan with him.

All three are believed to have done commendable jobs in the camp. But then, it remains to be seen what is Stimac’s actual plan with the team.

Like any other European coach, the Croatian does not compromise on fitness. Sources said he was not too satisfied with the fitness level of some footballers. He made them work harder in the national camp.

The coach was probably keen to hand over young Anwar Ali his senior team debut but the under-17 World Cup defender is out with an injury.

Young Nishu Kumar’s last- minute hamstring pull is yet another jolt to the defence. To add to it, there will be no Jeje Lalpekhlua in the striking line.

It remains to be seen how Balwant Singh, Farukh Chaudhary and Manvir Singh manages to assist Sunil Chhetri upfront.

Members of the Indian Team arrive in Buriram, Thailand, for the King’s Cup.

With players like Adil Khan, Rahul Bheke, Brandon Fernandes, Michael Soosairaj waiting in the wings, there is a good chance that a new-look India might be seen in the King’s Cup, where India will get the chance to play two matches.

However, it depends upon how much changes Stimac wants to make in his first tournament as the coach. He has few options since both matches in Thailand would essentially be knock-out encounters.

For the moment, India can forget about what happened in 1981. Instead they can take satisfaction from the fact that Gurdev Singh’s boys played spirited football when India were first invited to play the King’s Cup in 1977.

In the round robin tournament involving six teams, India finished third. India won two matches against Singapore and Indonesia and drew against hosts Thailand and mighty South Korea.

The only match they lost was against Malaysia and finished with six points. The team was coached by the ever-smiling Sahu Mewalal, the legendary striker, who scored India’s match-winner against Iran in the 1951 Asian Games final.

Football Lounge

Unique Model Academy win big in their Subroto Cup opener



Action in the Subroto Cup on Wednesday.

New Delhi: Defending Champions Unique Model Academy, Manipur, defeated Ashokenagar Boys Secondary School (H.S.), West Bengal, 4-0 in the Subroto Cup football tournament here on Wednesday.

S Annaroy scored a brace with goals in the 37th and 44th minutes to help his team win the Pool D match.

In another match of the pool, Our Lady Mount Carmel High School, Goa won 2-0 against Air Force School. Our Lady Mount Carmel School scored via Reniel D’ Mello in the 4th Min and Sanford in the 18th minute.

In Pool E, KV Maithon Dam, Ranchi won with the help of goals from Rohit in the 9th min; Aniuet in the 23rd and a brace from Abhilin Kumar in the 36th & 38th min. The score line stood at 4-0 at the end of full-time against Dr YSR Sports School, Andhra Pradesh.

In the second encounter of the pool, it was goals galore as Saidan Secondary School, Mizoram thrashed Tripura Sports School 8-0. Hunmawia scored four goals at the 11th, 18th, 34th & 49th min, F Lalth and B. Romalawma scored a brace each with goals at the 7th & 5th min and 45th & 47th min respectively. Jeremia also chipped in with a goal at the 41st min.

In Pool H, District War Sepngi Christian HSS (DWSC), Meghalaya ended level against Brajbhoomi International School, Gujarat with a score line of 2-2. For DWSC, Shaniahshem – 18th min and Wansmlang – 28th min were the scorers.

Brajbhoomi International School’s goals came from a brace by Rudra Patel in the 36th & 49th min. Major Dhyan Chand Sports College, UP had an easy win against The Sanskaar Valley School, MP as they won by a margin of 6-0. Yash Dwivedi – 08th & 41st min; Suraj Kumar -30th & 39th min and Arjun Yadav – 19th min were the scorers for the team from UP.

In Pool F, NCC NER won by a solitary goal against SAI Kolkata. The goal came from the boot of Raghvender in 44th min. The match ended 1-0 in NCC NER’s favour. In the second match of the pool, Govt. Model High School, Chandigarh defeated MP Sports College, Uttarakhand 3-1.

For Chandigarh, Thongbam Lanchenba scored a brace with goals in the 38th & 40th min. The third goal was added by Thokchom Surjakanta in the 49th min. For Uttarakhand, the only goal was scored by Hemraj in the 22nd min.

In Pool G, It was all level as Govt. Orient HSS Edathanathukara, Kerala played out a 1-1 draw against Betkuchi High School, Assam. Kerala scored through Jangminlal Haokip in the injury time (50+2’ min) whereas, Assam scored with the help of Hari Rabha at the 29th min.

In the second encounter, Mamta Modern Sr. Sec. School, Delhi defeated Sainik School Goalpara, IPSC 2-1 with goals from Abhimanyu – 5th min & Kushagra – 24th min. For Sainik School, Sangeetam Mahanta scored the solitary goal in the 15th min.

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Football Lounge

‘Ronaldo paid money to settle sexual assault claim against him’



current sports news 
Cristiano Ronaldo had been accused by Kathryn Mayorga of sexual assault in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.

Las Vegas: Cristiano Ronaldo’s lawyers have revealed for the first time in court documents that the football superstar paid an amount to settle allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel in 2009.

According to a CNN report, Kathryn Mayorga said Ronaldo paid $375,000 in a settlement and confidentiality agreement after she accused him of sexual assault. current sports news 

Ronaldo’s legal team acknowledged that the Juventus forward paid $375,000 “to maintain the confidentiality of their dispute” in a motion filed on Friday asking to dismiss Mayorga’s lawsuit. current sports news 

Earlier, Mayorga had claimed to have reached an out of court settlement with the star in 2010, and revealed that she had chosen to speak out against Ronaldo after being inspired by the #MeToo movement.

Ronaldo has always maintained that the encounter was consensual.

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Football Lounge

Mohun Bagan, East Bengal to stay out of I-League clubs’ alliance against AIFF?

Jaydeep Basu



Mohun Bagan
I-League clubs, led by Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, earlier threatened to move court against the AIFF.

New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has reasons to feel happy. At last. The club alliance formed to “fight” the “injustice” meted out to them by the national body seems to have shrunken further. If the sources are to be believed, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are now reluctant participants in the group. football news

The suspicion was always there though vehemently denied by officials of all six clubs. There was, however, further confirmation on Tuesday evening. The club officials were in the capital to chalk out a strategy on the proposed legal battle against AIFF. football news

Officials of Churchill Brothers, Minerva FC, Gokulam FC and Aizawl FC were present. There was no sign of the two Kolkata clubs. East Bengal claimed they did send a message expressing their inability to attend. Mohun Bagan maintained a golden silence.

The two century old clubs are not ready to talk. For obvious reasons. But there are people in Indian football, who always love to do the taking. Even on behalf of others. According to them, the “firebrand” officials of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are allegedly working overtime to join the franchise league bandwagon. Sooner or later.

Hence the latest attempt to keep a safe distance from the I-League club alliance. football news

“The two Kolkata clubs have met the franchise league officials in Mumbai and Kolkata recently. More than once and separately. Mohun Bagan were first to meet, followed by East Bengal. Then a senior official of the franchise league flew in to Kolkata for some other work. There were more meetings,” confirmed a senior official.

The I-League is in danger of losing its relevance in Indian football.

What exactly transpired in the meetings is not known. But it was something more than exchanging pleasantries. Sources said both clubs made it clear they were not against joining ISL. One of them would love to see it happen immediately. The other is ready to wait, to weigh the pros and cons. The approach is different, but they are looking for the same result.

Not that they receive any definite assurance. But century-old experience has made them learn that patience is a virtue.

Going by the latest development, the AIFF must receive a compliment. At least a left-handed one. In July, when it bowed to the wishes of the franchise league and virtually made I-League a non-entity, it knew it was in no danger. The rebellion will die down soon. The bigger the tradition of a club, the faster it will crawl back!

I-League club officials are not ready to accept their alliance is as fragile as an egg. “We have no reason to believe our unity has been broken. It is intact. We are in regular touch with each other. Just because some people did not turn up for one meeting does not mean they have deserted the group,” claimed one of them.

Well, not many in Indian football is ready to buy the theory. Big brothers have left you in the lurch, they say. With a hearty laugh.

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