Category: Football

AIFF Announces Indian team for FIFA U17 World Cup

GOA, 21st September, 2017: History beckons for Indian football as twenty one players have been selected for the first ever Indian squad to participate in a FIFA World Cup, the Indian U-17 World Cup Squad, which will participate in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India.


India have been drawn in Group A alongside USA, Colombia and Ghana, and will face USA on October 06, followed by Colombia and Ghana on October 09 and October 12 respectively at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.


“We believe that we are prepared for the FIFA U-17 World Cup”, said Head Coach of the India U-17s Luis Norton de Matos. “We have worked hard and made progress, but at the same time we go directly to a high level competition against some of the best teams in the world”


“We will fight to win each match even if there is only five percent chance of winning. We will not give up and nothing is impossible in football”


“We plan to show the world that we are on the same page as them”, Matos added.


In an effort to field a strong team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) provided exposure tours for the India U-17s wherein the Indian Colts faced Macedonia, Serbia and Benfica amongst other teams. The Indian Colts had also participated in a Four-Nation Tournament in Mexico where they lost against Mexico and Colombia, but held Chile to a 1-1 draw with ten-man.


“Against Chile and Macedonia we registered good results but the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be a competition and competitions are different from friendly matches”, Matos informed.


“However, the level of the players is very high and we plan to give it our all once the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks-off”, Matos quipped.


The list of the 21 selected players follows below:


GOALKEEPERS: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal

DEFENDERS: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Hendry Antonay, Namit Deshpande

MIDFIELDERS: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Md. Shahjahan

FORWARDS: Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav

Minerva colts invited to play a friendly against Columbia U-17 World Cup team.

After being the only team from the entire country to have been invited to play India U-17 World Cup team in Goa few months ago, Northern powerhouse and India’s largest football Academy Minerva Punjab FC add another feather to their cap as they are invited to play Columbian U-17 World Cup team in a friendly match in Gurgaon on 27th September. 
Colombia sealed their entry into the U-17 World Cup in dramatic style with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Paraguay in the last group match of the South American U-17 Championship (Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-17) could be tournament’s dark horses and are no stranger to the FIFA U-17 as they previously made it to the FIFA U-17 World Cup on five occasions, their best finish came in Finland 2003 and Nigeria 2009, when they finished third.
The Los Cafeteros U-17 team have already undergone three training camps ever since sealing qualification, with one of them happening in the seaside city of Barranquilla, where temperatures are closest to what the team will experience in India.
Meanwhile Minerva Punjab FC Owner & CEO Ranjit Bajaj fell short of words to express how fortunate he was to have been getting a chance to test his Academy products against the finest talents of International Football. 
Ironically, Columbia are placed in Group A with the likes of United States of America (USA), Two-time champions at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Ghana and Host country India which comprises of 5 Minervan players namely defending strong holds Anwar Ali and Narender Gahlot, Midfield general Jackson Singh and strikers Nongdamba Naorem and Shubhan Sarangi. 
Match Details : 
Minerva U-17 vs Columbia U-17 
Venue : Heritage College Academy Grounds. 
Date : 27th September 
Time : 6.00pm 

Bengaluru FC sign Eduardo Garcia; finalize squad for Indian Super League

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC completed their quota of foreign signings and finalized their squad for the upcoming season with the addition of Spanish winger Eduardo ‘Edu’ Garcia Martin, the club announced on Saturday. Having penned a one-year deal, Edu becomes the eighth overseas player and the fifth Spaniard in the squad for the Blues’ maiden season in the Indian Super League.


Head Coach Albert Roca welcomed his fellow countryman to the Blues’ fold and said, “Edu is an exciting young winger. His versatility down the flank will provide us with great options in terms of personnel as well as our game plan. He will be a great addition to our squad and fits in well with our philosophy.”


Twenty-seven-year-old Edu, who joins the Blues from Spanish side Real Zaragoza, shared his excitement ahead of his first overseas stint, “I’m very excited for joining the club. From the first time, I liked the idea of playing for Bengaluru’s team in the Indian Super League. Football in India is growing a lot and it’s an important challenge for me. I hope I can help the club to reach the objectives for the season. I can’t wait to start!”


Born in Zaragoza, Edu joined his home side Real Zaragoza’s youth setup in 2002, aged 12. He progressed through the ranks at the club before making his debut with the reserves during the 2009–10 campaign, in Tercera Division.


In 2012, Edu joined CD Ebro before moving to fellow league team SD Ejea the following season. In July 2014, he returned to Ebro and scored career-best 16 goals during his first season, helping his team gain promotion to Segunda Division B, before adding a further eight in his second season.


The winger then sealed a return to Real Zaragoza in at the start of the 2016-17 season and made 27 appearances for the Los Maños helping them finish 16th with 50 points in the Segunda Division.


NEW DELHI: Six players from India’s AFC U-23 campaign in Doha were named in the 24-member squad for India’s forthcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifier match against Macau on September 5, 2017. The squad will be departing for Macau from Mumbai via Bangkok on Friday (September 1, 2017).

India currently stay on top of Group A with 6 points, courtesy back to back victories against Myanmar and the Kyrgyz Republic.

However, National Coach Stephen Constantine felt there is “no reason to underestimate Macau as a Team.”

“Macau will be playing at home and in front of their home crowd. There’s always a marked difference between playing at home and playing an away match but we are aware of the challenge,” Constantine said on arrival.

The Team has been camping in Mumbai since August 12, 2017 during which they played two International matches against Mauritius and St. Kitts and Nevis in the Hero Tri-nation Football series as part of the preparation.

“The matches provided us with the much-needed match practice ahead of our challenge against Macau,” Constantine mentioned.

Legendary Footballer IM Vijayan who will also be travelling to Macau as an observer said the “team looks to be in great shape.”


“The body language is positive but ahead of such matches, there’s always a tendency of taking it a bit lightly against lower ranked opponents. The boys need to keep working hard on the ground against Macau,” he stated.


The squad for Macau stay as follows:

GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subrata Paul, Albino Gomes.

DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Lalruatthara, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Arnab Mondal, Salam Ranjan Singh, Narayan Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala.

MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Rowllin Borges, Md. Rafique, Germanpreet Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Halicharan Narzary.

FORWARDS: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Balwant Singh.

Bengaluru FC strengthen attack, sign Venezuela International Miku

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC have added more firepower to their frontline with the signing of Venezuelan International striker Nicolas ‘Miku’ Ladislao Fedor Flores ahead of their debut Indian Super League season, the club announced on Tuesday. The 32-year-old who signed a two-year deal, arrives to Bengaluru from Spanish side Rayo Vallecano with whom he spent the last two-and-a-half seasons.

The 6’ 1” attacker will team up with Spaniard Braulio Nobrega at the front and becomes the Blues’ seventh foreign signing for the season and the first ever South American player at the club.

Head Coach Albert Roca was delighted with the newest addition to the squad and said, “I’m extremely happy to have secured the services of Miku. He is an exciting player with some great skills and his playing style will help us a lot. Miku has played for several top clubs for a number of years now, and the experience he brings in will be very crucial for us this season.”

Having completed formalities, an excited Miku said, “I have heard a lot about the club and the city. We have some great players in the club who always fight for titles, so I hope it will be a good season for every one of us in Bengaluru. I spoke to Albert Roca about the club, the league and the team. He’s a very good and experienced coach and explained to me what he wants from me for this season. I can’t wait to join my teammates and begin training.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela to a Hungarian father and a Venezuelan mother, Miku began his football career in Spanish powerhouse Valencia’s youth system. Turning professional in 2004 with the Mestella-side, the striker turned out for CD Alcoyano (2004-05, 2nd B), UD Salamanca (2005–06, 2nd B), Ciudad de Murcia (2006, 2nd), Valencia ‘B’ (2007, 2nd B), Gimnastic de Tarragona (2007–08, 2nd), UD Salamanca (2008–09, 2nd) in the Spanish league system. His highlight during this period was striking 18 goals in the promotion winning campaign at Salamanca during the 2005-06 Segunda ‘B’ season.

The striker returned back to parent club Valencia for the 2009-10 La Liga season, before moving in the heart of Spain to Getafe. His four-year spell with the Madrid-based club saw him amass 26 La Liga goals in 90-plus appearances. Miku also had short loan spell with Glasgow-based Celtic FC in 2012-13 where he won the Scottish League and Cup double.


The following season, the Venezuelan moved out of Europe for his first spell in Asia where he represented Al-Gharafa SC (2013-15) in the Qatar Stars League. In January 2015, Miku returned to Spain to join Rayo Vallecano, another Madrid-based club. The striker settled in quickly and began firing all guns blazing in the 2015-16 season. In February 2016, he became the first Venezuelan to score in four consecutive Spanish top flight matchdays, winning La Liga’s Player of the Month award. That season Miku netted nine times and assisted four goals in 22 appearances for Rayo in the La Liga finishing their joint second-highest top-scorer in the league.

At the continental level, Miku has represented Celtic in the UEFA Champions League while playing in the UEFA Europa League for Getafe and Valencia, also scoring a hattrick in the competition for the latter.

A full international since 2006, Miku has 51 caps for Venezuela and has scored 11 times, most notably against Brazil in the during the 2015 Copa America in Chile. The striker also helped his team to a fourth-place finish in the 2011 Copa America held in Argentina. Interestingly, the striker has already played in India as a part of the Venezuela team which faced Argentina in an International Friendly in Kolkata back in September 2011.

For the record, Miku is the fifth-highest (joint) goalscorer for the Venezuelan national team and is 23rd (joint) in the list of most caps for his country.

India played out a draw against Saint Kitts

Indian team started with a win in last match against Mauritius in ongoing Hero Tri-Nation series, here in Mumbai. Coach Constantine swapped goal scorers from last time which will feature Balwant starting for the Team whereas Robin Singh will sit in dugout this time.
India started the proceedings for the match, and attacked with in the first 2 minutes of play with Balwant in center but failed to pass the final defense line.

A 10th minute a jackichand did some athletic moves to tap in a ball from midfield in St. Kitts box but it eventually landed in for Corner to Indian team, which in turn produces nothing.  In 15th minute oppositions Tishan played some excellent ball in India’s half which scared hosts a bit, but was safe at the end.

Balwant Singh Played some exciting game in the first half of the match and also got some good help up front from JeJe .

Real chance came in 20th minute of the game with Jeje’s pass to Narzary in right flank and the later his cross inside the box which saw Balwant headed the ball to Goal but was saved by Jamal from St. Kitts.

Later Borges got a good run till opposition box but failed to defeat the defense in the end and but wins a corner for home team, corner was well tapped by Captain Sandesh, who guided to alone man Jacki outside the box, Jacki  powered it over crossbar.

Yohannes had a good strike over Indian bars but failed to convert. In next minute Balwant and Jeje paired to play some head shots near oppositions Box, where Justin and Clyde muscled jeje in between, which saw a free kick for India just outside Box and Balwant put the ball inside the Goal but goal was disallowed due to offside by Narayan das.

After half  hour mark Saint Kitts got a free kick in India’s half which was saved by Indian custodian in gloves at the end. Some complaints from Saint Kitts dugout for which referee Dilan Perera stopped the play and had a word with the team amanagement near opposition dugout.

First goal of the match came from jackichands header in 39th minute which he received as a cross from Rowlin Borges. The header was executed perfectly and Saint Kitts goal keeper Jamal had no answer for that.

Rowlin Borges came down to business again when he passed to Jeje in 43rd minute of the play, which Jeje hit but saved by Jamal near the crossbar.

At half time India is leading the visiting side by one goal and that goal came from Jackichand’s header.

As second half started Indian team got first move near opposition Box but failed to get any constructive out of it. In return Saint Kitts also had a chance near the Indian crossbar but failed to capitalize. Real chance came in 49th minute when Kotal played a good chance but misplaced and shot wide.

In 50th minute Robin Singh had  a great run from midfield to box but he didn’t gave a pass to Jeje and lost the ball, if he had passed to jeje that might have been a Goal for India. In next minute Jeje had a great run and gave  a timely pass to Robin Singh, who lost the ball to Saint Kitts defense.

In 56th minute Eugeneson long ranger sailed over the bar. A couple of changed for host as Nikhil Poojary comes in for Jackichand and MD Rafique comes in place of Eugeneson in 61th minute.

After the changes, visitors started to make some pressure as Rogers from Saint Kitts pilled a shot over Indian bar. Indian pair of Borges and Nikhil poojary put up some good skills near opposition box but ultimately Nikhil pass to Robin which later.

Saint Kitts equalizes from the corner kick as substitute Amory Gvaune taps in from that corner. This goal came after several pressure situation in Indian box which were saved by Indian custodian near the goal post. Jinghan had some great tackles in Indian defense line and prevented many opposition strikes into Indian half.

Saint Kitts and nevis started some good play as their Kimaree, carlos and Tishan played a huge role in a good and Successful comeback. A good chance for India as Poojary sarted a good pass to Robin , who later passed to Rafique. Rafique failed to capitalized and missed the sitter.

Constantine subsituted Rowlin Borges with Anirudh Thapa in 80th minutes. As soon as Anirudh Thapa comes in to play he had good run in opposition half. Robin received brilliant pass from Das in midfield which he passed to poojary, he had a great run but failed to score or pass in final frontier.

Manvir Singh came in place of jeje in 86th minute of play his last second chance in as many games.  He missed in his second minute when Poojary passed to him and he was in almost perfect place to score but completely miss timed.

Most exciting moment came in additional minutes in second half as Robin kicked ball which hit goal post and later saved by jamal. Last five minutes were very exciting as India got chances after chances mostly poojary and Robin were involved in all but failed to convert upfront.

At the end it was a draw, both team played well and it was exciting second half at the end. Though India missed many opportunities but should take this result as we were missing many big names likes Sunil Chhetri, Udanta, Gurpreet Sandhu who all are in club duty for AFC Cup.




New-look Bengaluru face 4.25 SC challenge

Bengaluru: A new-look Bengaluru FC squad will have their task cut out when they come up against North Korean side 4.25 SC in the first leg of the Inter-Zonal semifinal of the 2017 AFC Cup at the Kanteerva Stadium, on Wednesday.


Taking field for their first game of the 2017-18 season, the Blues will aim to make the most of home advantage to get a positive result ahead of the second leg, which will be played in Pyongyang a fortnight later. However, the job at hand won’t be an easy one given the fact that squad has been completely overhauled only four weeks back.


“It’s never easy at the start of the season. We have a new-look squad and had just four weeks to prepare. But we’re eager to get into action and are looking forward to the game. We had a good pre-season trip to Spain and we’ve been working hard in Bengaluru as well. A bunch of players from last season are still with us and we hope to carry forward the same form from the group stage,” said Head Coach Albert Roca speaking on the eve of the big clash.

On the team news front, the Blues will be without the services of talismanic defender John Johnson, who is away for personal reasons, and Braulio Nobrega, who isn’t part of the squad. Meanwhile, the rest of the foreigners, along with Indian players are all fit and available for selection. “Johnson has been an important part of the club for the last four years, and we will definitely miss him. However, we’ve signed some good foreign players who bring in a lot of experience and will help us immensely in this competition. We’ve even included some deserving youngsters from our academy in the squad and they give us some great options in different positions,” added Roca while sharing his thoughts on the composition of the team.

Opponents 4.25 SC, who are making their debut appearance in the competition, topped Group-I (East Asia Zone) with two wins and as many draws in four games, ahead of fellow North Korean side Kigwancha SC thanks to better goal difference. While their attack will be spearheaded by tournament top-scorer Kim Yu-song who has netted nine goals, they’re pretty much an unknown opponent for Roca’s boys. “We know very little about our opponents, but we are at the business end of the competition and no matter which team we get drawn against, they won’t give us an easy game. We are focused on our strengths. 4.25 SC are definitely a good side considering that they are still unbeaten in the competition and we’re expecting a tough game,” said the coach.

The match kicks off at 7 pm and will be streamed live on the Facebook and YouTube channels of AFC Cup.

FC Pune City snap ISL Golden Boot Winner Marcelinho

Pune, 21 August 2017: – Strengthening their squad further, the Rajesh Wadhawan Group owned Indian Super League club FC Pune City today secured the services of 2016 Indian Super League golden boot winner Marcelo Leite Pereira a.k.a. Marcelinho. The Brazilian winger who has plied his trade in Spain, Greece & Italy represented Delhi Dynamos FC last season. In his 15 appearances, the South American scored 10 goals and made five assists.


FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel was excited on the new addition to his team. “Marcelinhohas a great appetite for scoring and caused some serious damage to other teams’ defence in ISL last season. He is a busy player on the pitch, always in the thick of things – setting the pace, assisting and finding the back of the net. I know our fans really wanted him to don the FC Pune City jersey! Welcome Marcelinho.

In his career spanning almost a decade, Marcelinho has represented Atletico Madrid B, Getafe B, Greek clubs like Skoda Xanthi F.C., Atromitos Athens, Kalamataamong others.

Head coach Antonio Habas said, “Marcelinho is one of the most accomplished attackers we have seen in Indian Super League. He has the versatility to play on wings as well as in front of the net along with great pace to match his abilities. These qualities will be of great help to the team and hope we can achieve results that we aim for in the coming season.”

On donning the orange and purple, Marcelinho said. “It’s exciting times ahead as I join FC Pune City. Antonio Habas is a great coach to work with and his vision for the club is something that got me excited. I will give my 100 % and ensure my stint with FC Pune City gives the Orange Army many reasons to celebrate.”

Minerva Punjab FC appoints new Head Coach

Minerva Punjab FC the only team to be participating in the Hero I-Leaue from Chandigarh, Punjab and the entire North region welcomed Spaniard Juan Luis Perez Herrera as their new Head Coach for the senior team.
Juan Luis Perez Herrera arrived at the club premises in Mohali on Friday and took up his first training with the senior squad on Saturday. The new man incharge has UEFA Pro License with more than 12 years of experience in managing and leading teams in Spain. This will be Juan’s first stint in India, his last assignment was as Head Coach of Lions Gibraltar FC which plays in Gibraltar Premier League before which he was the Head Coach of Manchester 62 and College Europa in the Gibraltar Premier League. Before moving to the Gibraltar Premier League Juan coached a Spanish third division side Alhaurín de la Torre Club de Fútbol.
Juan’s philosophy and style of play seems to be well aligned with Minerva Punjab FC’s ethos of playing young players from their own academy. Juan took up his first training session with the boys and was elated to see the enthusiasm and desire of the players to learn. “Minerva Punjab FC is a good side and no less than any other side in the league, with the proper training and time put in, we can have the confidence to be Champions”, he told the boys. He had been studying videos of last season’s matches and coordinating with Assistant Coach Sachin Babadhe about the progress of the team prior to his arrival.
Club owner and CEO, Ranjit Bajaj said, “I am pleased to welcome Juan to the Minerva Punjab FC family and I am sure his experience will help us get good results this season, the most important thing for me was that he is totally onboard with the club’s youth development philosophy.”

Bengaluru FC sign India’s no.1 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

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 occasionn.