Category: Football

AFC Competitions Committee’s decision published regarding ISL and I-League

Following a recommendation from the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the Competitions Committee gave special dispensation for the Indian Super League (ISL) which will be played simultaneously with the I-League for six or seven months in 2017 and 2018 as a temporary short-term ‘bridging solution’.

AIFF’s recommendation to the AFC was that the ISL will replace the Federation Cup, whose winner is currently allocated an AFC Champions League Play-Off place AFC  Cup preliminary stage place.

Therefore, the Committee approved that the I-League champions will play in the AFC Champions League Play-off round and the ISL Champions will play in the AFC Cup preliminary stage – as long as all clubs adhere to the AFC rules and regulations, particularly club licensing, from 2018.

The situation will be reviewed on a yearly basis with conditions which, in addition to adherence to club licensing regulations, include promotion, production, a player allocation system and the following of the Road Map agreed between the AFC and Indian football stakeholders at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur on June 7, 2017.

MFA Super Cup 2017: Chhinga Veng FC lift trophy

Chhinga Veng FC came out on top in a one-sided final of the MFA Super Cup today (24th July,  2017) ,thoroughly beating their opponents Chanmari West FC in a 5-0 victory.
They collected a beautiful trophy and a cash prize of Rs 2,00,000 from the wife of late Mr Lalbiakliana,  who’s family sponsored the tournament.
After heavy clouds disrupted play twice about a couple of minutes into the first half, Chhinga Veng FC enjoyed more possession and were able to threaten their opponents.
They got their breakthrough in the 31st minute with a flurry of goals where CVFC scored 3 in the space or four minutes. Striker Malsawmfela scored in then 31st minute and again 3 minutes later, with Laldingngheta adding a third less than a minute gone.
The second half began in the same manner with striker Malsawmfela completing his hattrick on the 49th minute and making it near impossible for the West Warriors to salvage anything out of the game.
MIdfielder R Malsawmtluanga then scored their fifth goal fifteen minutes from time.
63 clubs from various divisions of Mizoram football participated in the tournaments where the two Mizoram Premier League clubs met in the final.
Chhinga Veng 5-0 Chanmari West FC
(Malsawmfela 31′, 34′, 49′, Laldingngheta 35′, R. Malsawmtluanga 78′)
Best Goalkeeper : Laltanpuia, Mizoram Police FC
Best Defender : Lalrinchhana Tochhawng, Chhinga Veng FC
Best Midfielder : R Malsawmtluanga, Chhinga Veng FC
Best Forward : Malsawmfela, Chhinga Veng FC
Fair Play Award : Chhinga Veng FC

Bengaluru FC to train in Spain ahead of AFC Cup clash

Bengaluru: A new-look Bengaluru FC side will kick off their pre-season training this week in the city before heading to Spain early next month for a 10-day training camp. The Blues will train at the state-of-the-art facilities at Pinatar Arena in Murcia during their stay in the Mediterranean region. Having finalized their squad on Sunday at the ISL Draft, Bengaluru FC Head Coach Albert Roca will now have an eye on the crucial AFC Cup Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side April 25 SC as he prepares his squad for the first leg at home onAugust 23.

“The facilities at Pinatar Arena are top-class and I thank the management for providing us with this opportunity. The arena will provide us with everything we need to get up and running as fast as possible. Among all the other ISL teams, we’ll be in action first in the AFC Cup and it’s important that we utilize this time well so that our team settles in quickly. While we have managed to retain the core of our team, there are a lot of new signings which means that we need to put in that extra effort in pre-season to gel as a unit,” explained Roca.

During their stay, the Blues are set to face Spanish Segunda-B Division side UCAM Murcia CF (August 9) and 2016-17 UAE Pro League side Baniyas S&R(August 15) in friendly games.

The Blues base – the Pinatar Arena – boasts of six natural grass (Bermuda and ray grass) floodlit football pitches at FIFA standards with special areas designated for goalkeepers and a stadium with a capacity of 3,500 spectators that hosts friendlies and tournaments. The Arena also has top-class fitness centers with all the latest equipment from health and fitness innovators.

While the facility recently hosted an U21 tournament between national teams of Australia, Austria, Finland and Netherlands, they have regularly hosted training camps of top-flight clubs from all over Europe. A few of them include, German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund and FC Kaiserslautern, Spanish sides Levante UD and UD Almeria, Russian powerhouses CSKA Moscow and FC Zenit apart from Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea), FC Twente (Netherlands), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).

This will be the second time the Blues travel abroad for a pre-season training camp having earlier visited China at the start of the 2014-15 season. Back then, the Blues faced off against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Guangzhou R&F FC (0-3) from the Chinese Super League and Hong Kong Premier League’s Eastern AA (0-2).

The 23-man team departs from India on August 5th and is scheduled to return on August 16th.

Minerva FC starts In-School training program with St. John’s High School in Chandighar

Minerva Punjab FC, North India’s sole representatives in the top division of Indian Football, has begun a tie-up with one of the best schools in Chandigarh, St. John’s High School (Ranked amongst the best schools in the country by India Today) for the first of its kind in-school football training programme. Minerva Punjab FC AFC and UEFA certified coaches will train the students of St. John’s High School and the school teams for competitions.

Minerva Punjab FC is the powerhouse of football in North India having one of the largest and best residential football academies in the country and a thriving Youth Development Programme which is renowned all over the country. Minerva Academy Football Club was set up in 2010 with the aim of contributing local players to the Indian National Teams and giving local players a platform to shine. Minerva has been dedicated to the revival and promotion of football in and around theTricity area and Punjab. In fact, it is regarded by AIFF as the premier youth development academy in India for football which has contributed 27 players to the national teams over the last two years.

St. John’s boasts the biggest and best football grounds in the tri-city area and matched infrastructure for sports. The Minerva Coaching staff are a team of highly experienced and qualified and UEFA and AFC certified coaches who are specialists in youth and grassroots development programs who will operate and manage before and after-school football training programmes at St. John’s. Certified Coaches will teach kids the Minerva Way using european training methodology and technical expertise. The school program will be designed and monitored by Minerva Punjab FC Technical Director and Head of Youth Development. The training will be executed in line with the detailed and well planned Grassroots and Youth Development Curriculum of Minerva which has been developed after meticulous research and drawn from various successful training systems from all over the world customised for the Indian player and ecosystem.

Recently Minerva Punjab FC fielded Krishna Pandit a youngster who passed out from St. John’s High School a few years ago, in their senior I-League Side in their debut season. At just 18 years of age, Krishna Pandit became one of the most promising youngsters in the league after a spectacular Man of the Match winning performance against Mohun Bagan and scoring a goal against East Bengal. Krishna said “I am so happy that Minerva Punjab FC is taking over the football coaching in St. John’s as I understand the value of having the right guidance at the right time to help shape your career as a professional footballer.”

Within the first month, many students of St. John’s have signed up for the training. Out of the trainees, two St. John’s boys have already been invited to train with the Minerva Punjab FC U-13 and U-15  I-League team. Rishabh, one of the trainees who has just joined the programme said, “It is exciting to train under the Minerva coaches with new methodology and style. I have already stared noticing the improvement in my game. I cant wait for our next tournament to test out these newly acquired skills”

Minerva Punjab FC Founder Ranjit Bajaj is himself an alumnus of St. John’s High School and is thrilled with the opportunity to give back to his Alma Mater, “With the technical expertise of Minerva Punjab FC coaches and youth development program, I am sure that St. John’s will produce many more Krishna Pandits in the years to come!”

Ms. Kavita Das, Principal of the prestigious St. John’s High School said, “We believe in giving our students the best. With Minerva, we not only have the best but, better still, we have an alumnus of ours at the helm, who is giving back to his alma mater with the generosity of spirit that Johnians are famous for.”

India U23 defeated Turkmenistan by 3-1

DOHA: India signed off the AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers campaign in style, having overpowered Turkmenistan by a whopping margin of 3-1 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha tonight (July 23, 2017).


Having conceded in the 13th minute, India made a strong comeback in the first-half three minutes to the end of the final whistle when Manvir Singh netted the equaliser. Alen Deory and Jerry Lalrinzuala scored within four minutes to stage their first victory in the tournament.


India finished their campaign with 3 points from 3 matches, behind Qatar and Syria who will lock their horns later tonight.


India started today where they left against Qatar the other day. Flurry of attacks in the first 10 minutes, getting closer to scoring their opening goal in the tournament, keeping the enthusiast Indian supporters on the edge of the seats- everything were dished out subtly by the boys clad in their usual blue outfit in their final match of the AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha today (July 23, 2017).


India snatched their first corner in the 4th minute of the match but Anirudh’s long corner came a bit too heavier for Sarthak.


Lallianzuala caused to wreck havoc from the left flank but his cutting-edge deliveries couldn’t have been utilised properly by Hitesh Sharma.


Meanwhile, Davinder Singh conceded a free-kick at the top of the box in the 13th minute and Hojovov Hoshgeldi, from the free-kick, stunned the Indian outfit to pull off a stunner against the run of the play.


The goal seemed to have reignited the boys’ zeal to make a comeback in the match. Zuala took on his own but his blasting left-footer missed the target by an inch or two in the next minute.


Indians tightened the screw to threaten the Turkmenistan defence more often but the opposition defenders stood tall between them and the equaliser.


In the 42nd minute, Manvir Singh tapped down a long ball which had his name written on it to finally get past the Turkmenistan goalie who maintained a clean sheet against Syria in their last match.


The boys headed to the changing room locked at a 1-1 scoreline.


After the resumption, Stephen’s boys started to press more to get onto the driver’s seat but they had to wait until the super-sub Alen Deory found the back of the net in the 72nd minute.


Manvir and Nikhil built on an exquisite counter-attack to finally find Alen, who replaced Hitesh Sharma four minutes before, to do the damage work to send the 200-odd Indian supporters into a delirium.


Indians were at the top of their game and they didn’t need to wait long to double the lead. Nikhil earned a free-kick at the top of the Turkmenistan box which was wrongly handed by a defender inside the box. The referee didn’t think twice to award the Indians a penalty.


Jerry Lalrinzuala came forward to shoulder the duty and clobbered India’s third goal in style to take the game away from the oppositions.


Till the final whistle, Indians were able to hold their nerves to leave the ground holding their heads high.


India: Vishal Kaith (GK), Davinder Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Salam Ranjan Singh (C), Sarthak Golui, Anirudh Thapa (Robinson Singh 90′), Germanpreet Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte (Nandha Kumar 80′), Nikhil Poojary, Hitesh Sharma (Alen Deory 68′), Manvir Singhanvir

Blues retain five, sign eight new players at ISL Draft

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC went about their business smartly at their first ever Hero Indian Super League draft retaining five players from last season while strengthening their squad further by adding eight more Indian players, in Mumbai on Sunday.

First pick and fan-favourite goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte was joined by Harmanjot Khabra, Lenny Rodrigues, Alwyn George and local-boy Calvin Abhishek among the players who will continue to be part of the squad. These players, along with the existing retentions in Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, John Johnson, Juanan, Nishu Kumar, Malsawmzuala and Daniel Lalhlimpuia, will boost the squad ahead of the AFC Cup Inter-Zonal Semifinal against North Korean side April 4.25 SC in a month’s time from now.

Joining them will be seasoned professionals in goalkeeper Abhra Mondal, midfielder Boithang Haokip and defenders Rahul Bheke and Zohmingliana Ralte, along with exciting youngsters Joyner Lourenco, Collin Abranches, Thongkhosiem Haokip and Subhasish Bose.

Albert Roca, Bengaluru FC Head Coach, was content with the draft and the luck factor that goes with it, “We cannot have all the players we want. Eugeneson, Rino and Chhuantea have been important players for the club, but we knew it was impossible for us to get all our choices. However, we are happy with our picks and who we’ve signed so far. The circumstances of a draft mean that some players have to go and we’ve tried to keep as many players as possible. We looked at players who are compatible with our team, because we have important games in the AFC Cup coming up fast.”

While new signings Abhra Mondal and Boithang Haokip bring in loads of experience, the likes of Rahul Bheke and Zohmingliana Ralte were few of the stand-out performers in Indian football over the last few seasons. Rahul has created a name for himself on the domestic circuit with consistent performances for Air India, Mumbai FC, East Bengal, Kerala Blasters and FC Pune City over the last six seasons. Meanwhile, Zohmingliana, an ex-Pune FC and DSK Shivajians player, was an ever-present figure in Aizawl FC’s fairy-tale run to the I-League title. In fact, Aizawl were second only to Mohun Bagan when it came to conceding goals as they romped to the title with Zohmingliana scoring a decisive goal against the Kolkata club in the penultimate game of the season.

Bengaluru FC continued their tradition of keeping faith in youth by snapping up striker Thongkhosiem Haokip and left-back Subhasish Bose. Twenty-four-year-old Haokip was the highest scoring Indian player in the 2014-15 I-League netting seven goals throughout the season while at Pune FC. He then had stints with Salgaocar FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters and East Bengal.

Twenty-one-year-old Subhasish, on the other hand, had a breakthrough season at Churchill Brothers, before becoming a defensive mainstay for Sporting Goa in 2016 which prompted Mohun Bagan to sign the talented youngster. His impressive performances with the Kolkata-side even caught the eye of National Team Coach Stephen Constantine who called him up to the National Team camp, while also being part of the Indian U-23 team for the AFC Championship Qualifiers 2017.

BFC Full Squad:


AIFF Invites New Bids For Hero I-League 2017-18

NEW DELHI, July 21, 2017The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has noticed issue to invite bids for new clubs for the Hero I-League across leading dailies of the nation.

Bids are invited from prospective team owners in respect of cities – Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Ranchi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Malappuram and Trivandrum, among others.

Under this invitation to tender, the winning bidders will be granted the right to own and operate a new club which will compete in I-League in each year from 2017 onwards and will have the opportunity (if applicable and subject to qualification) to compete in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation’s) club competitions.

“We are looking forward to welcoming vibrant outfits in Hero I-League. The new entrants will surely bring newer challenges and fresh football dynamics which would provide more competitiveness and thrill to the league”, said Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League.

Bengaluru FC retain Nishu, Zuala for ISL; Daniel for AFC Cup

Bengaluru: Continuing the rebuild of their squad for the upcoming season, Bengaluru FC have retained two of the most promising youngsters in Indian football in midfielder Malsawmzuala and defender Nishu Kumar, keeping them at the club till the end of the 2017-18 season. The duo make grade for the ‘under-21 uncapped players’ slot for the Indian Super League.

Meanwhile, Indian International striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia continues to remain part of the squad and will feature in the Blues’ AFC Cup campaign. While the Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side 4.25 SC is up next in the 2017 AFC Cup for runners-up Bengaluru FC, they will also be playing in the 2018 edition of the competition having sealed qualification courtesy the Federation Cup triumph in May.

The trio who signed for Bengaluru FC from AIFF’s Elite Academy in November 2015 have gone on play crucial roles over the last two seasons as the Blues increased their focus on youth. They combined for a total of 30 appearances in the last edition of the I-League.

Muzzafarnagar-born Nishu Kumar had a breakthrough season with the highlight being a goal against Bangladeshi-side Abahani Dhaka in the AFC Cup. The youngster’s impressive performances also caught the eye of the Indian Coach Stephen Constantine who called him up to the national team as he was voted the Blues’ Most Improved Player of 2016-17 season.

“I’m very happy to continue with Bengaluru FC. It was an easy decision for me. The amount of trust the management and the coaching staff has shown in me means a lot. The last two years were fantastic as we achieved some incredible things and we would like to do something similar as we enter a new phase in our club’s history,” said a delighted Nishu after completing the formalities.

Joining him will be Mizo duo of Malsawmzuala, who was voted the Blues’ Most Improved Player of 2015-16 season, and Daniel Lalhlimpuia who has been capped at the senior level for India. The latter who has featured frequently in the starting line-up this season will play an important part in the club’s campaign in Asia.

“We are at a very crucial junction in the AFC Cup and I am looking forward to playing my part. I’ve spent two years here learning and the coach has shown faith in me and I’m looking to continue doing that,” said Daniel, who has been retained for the AFC Cup.

“These boys have been an important part of our team for the last two seasons and we’re delighted to have them with us as we head into a new chapter in our Club’s history. Considering the rules of the ISL, we could only retain Nishu and Malsawmzuala for the league, given that Daniel has become a full India International. But we don’t want to lose him out as he forms a vital part of our plans. His contribution will be immense in not just this year’s AFC Cup campaign, but the one in the following year as well,” said Albert Roca, Bengaluru FC Head Coach.

Daniel and Nishu are currently in Qatar after being named in India’s Under-23 team for the AFC Under-23 Championship Qualifiers.

FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017: Third phase of online ticket sales kick off

After an impressive response by fans following phases 1 and 2 of ticket sales for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) is set to launch phase 3 on 21 July, which will last until 5 October on During this phase, fans will have the opportunity to buy individual tickets to watch the stars of tomorrow with a 25 per cent discount.


In Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati, all available tickets were sold in the first two phases.


Speaking about the launch, FIFA Deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban said: “The outcome of the first two sales phases confirmed the unique football passion of India’s fans. We are very confident that the upcoming sales phase will continue the trend as the sense of anticipation grows in every host city. This year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup will be an absolute milestone in the competition’s history.”


After the Official Draw determined the fate of all 24 participating countries, another host city – New Delhi, the venue for all of host country India’s matches – has attracted great interest from local fans, with ticket sales exceeding the 100,000 mark on 14 July.

Describing what is surely a revolutionary chapter in Indian Football, LOC Tournament Director Javier Ceppi commented: “The response that we have had in the first two phases has been fantastic and we expect it to continue like that. Football fans in the country have shown their interest in the tournament and we are very sure that Indian supporters will put a tremendous show for all the rest of the world to watch in October.”

A total of 52 matches will be played between 6 and 28 October. The Official Draw has thrown up some brilliant group-stage matches, with several blockbuster encounters on offer in all host cities. The 24 qualified teams will begin the tournament in six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group making it through to the knockout stage.

Visa, an official FIFA Partner, is the preferred payment method of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.



DOHA, JULY 20, 2017Despite going down by two second-half goals against Syria U23 team in the first match of the AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers, India’s U-23 boys, most of whom would be playing their fourth international match at this level tomorrow (July 21, 2017), draw inspiration from the praise bestowed on them by Syrian U23 coach Hussain Afash.

Syrian coach Hussain Afash lavished huge praise on the boys in Blue.

“In actual facts, Indians pressed us very hard in the first half and they were playing manoeuvring football. In the second half, they conceded two goals but I must say, they got under our skin and these boys are definitely going to have a great future ahead,” he had certified.

India have little time left to recover as they’re scheduled to clash their horns with hosts Qatar at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha in next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the hosts outplayed Turkmenistan to secure a 2-0 victory in their first match.

Head Coach Stephen Constantine applauded the Qatar U23 team saying they are ”very quick.”

“They look very quick at times. They have an utmost quality I must say. It’ll be a big challenge for us against them,” he stated.

Stephen also didn’t mince his words praising his boys for their display in the first match of the Qualifiers.

The British coach said:  “The boys played their heart out but eventually, the lack of experience cost us the match.”

Although some of his boys had a standout performance tonight, he emphasised on the ‘team game.’

“Some of the boys might have had a good game but I believe this is a team game where everyone needs to perform and they’ve had a great team effort tonight. We’ll take it forward to the next game,” he declared.

On being asked whether Qatar’s superlative performance in the AFC U23 Championship 2016 would impose a mental block to his boys, he pointed out that ‘it’s not the same team anymore.’

“A lot of players from that batch might have graduated to the senior team. Their main advantage is that they’re having the same coach throughout.”

“Playing a late evening match, that too at their home is really going to be advantageous for them”, he added.

Meanwhile, a decent number of supporters, clad in the Tricolour, were present in the stands to cheer for the youngsters.

“When you’re playing at this stage, you want the stadium to be full. It keeps the adrenaline flowing amongst the players. Personally, I hope a good number of Indians will turn out in our support tomorrow.”

The kick-off against Qatar is at 10:30 PM IST.