Tag: i-league

I-League 2018/19: Minerva take aim at Arrows

Chandigarh, November 30, 2018: It has not been an ideal start to the I-League for defending champions Minerva FC, having won just one game in five to be placed eighth on the table. However, come Saturday, December 1, 2018, they will look to get back to winning ways against the young Indian Arrows side. The game kicks off at 2 PM IST at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula and what would enthuse the champions, even more, would be the fact that they would be playing at home after exactly a month.

The “Warriors” from Punjab have won both the encounters between the two sides so far and that would give new coach for the season, Irishman Paul Munster, a sense of ease. The Arrows coach Floyd Pinto, on the other hand, would be aware that his young side albeit have looked the part but would need to deliver results sooner rather than later if they want to finish anywhere near the top of the league table.

Munster would be happy with the fact that Ghanaian striker William Opoku, a key player for his side having scored five times for Minerva last season, finally opened his scoring account in the last game against Shillong. He would also be happy with the form of Nigerian midfielder Philip Njoku who has been playing with a lot of purpose and penetration in the last two games, as well as the fact that his team while playing the entire second half against Shillong with 10 men, never looked like doing so.

“We are happy to come back home. We have taken the positives from our last game. Our first half was really tough, but even after going down to 10 men, our boys recovered and scored. In my opinion, it’s a very big result, but now, it’s a must-win game for us tomorrow at home,” said Paul Munster, Head Coach, Minerva Punjab FC ahead of the game tomorrow.

“We are creating lots of chances. It’s just the strikers who should believe in themselves and converting those chances. We just have to work harder”, he added.

Minerva would want to have a re-look at their defensive tactics though, as besides conceding five goals, way too many for their style of play generally, they have been caught out on the break too many times.

For Floyd Pinto’s young guns it seems to be getting more difficult with every game. Against Kashmir, in the last game, they were outdone simply by the size of some of their opponents which included the 6ft 7 inches Krizo and similar bigger adversaries like Mason Robertson and Loveday Okechukwu.

It’s not that they have not been moving the ball well or have shown an intention to score, but at times the gulf in professional experience becomes too much to overcome. Also, being a developmental side, it is prone to too many changes and experiments and they never seem to be having a settled eleven or players in set positions.

“It’s always motivational to play against the defending champions. The boys are motivated and we are looking forward to a great game of football. You also need to understand that every season is different. We have changed our style a bit. We were dominating the possession against Real Kashmir and although we didn’t get a win there, I’m happy with the game,” said Floyd Pinto, Head Coach, Indian Arrows.

He further said, “We go to every game to win. The results don’t always reflect the game. They have shown their character in the last match. They have the agility, the zeal and we have to cautious throughout.”

Given the firepower Minerva have at their disposal, they look odds-n favourites for this one. Arrows, on the other hand, will be looking for the kind of upset, which they pulled off three times last season against fancied teams as well as the stunning win they scored against a talented Shillong side earlier in the league this season.

I-League 2018/19: Mohun Bagan face uphill battle against Chennai City

KOLKATA: Mohun Bagan will hope that the loss against Churchill Brothers is water under the bridge when facing  leaders Chennai City FC in 2018/19 I-League this Saturday evening. Kick-off at Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan is at 5 PM.

Mohun Bagan saw their unbeaten run cut short to four games when they were beaten 3-0 by Churchill last week.

Tactically Mariners looked poorer with defenders were exposed and looked incredibly vulnerable. There was no intensity in their play, they kept playing long balls, losing possession cheaply and failed to find the penetration needed to threaten the rival goal.

Despite his disappointment with the result Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty remains confident that his team will bounce back from their poor performance.

“The previous game was an eye opener for the team. The players have put the disappointment behind and fully focused on the upcoming game against Chennai City.” Chakraborty said.

While Mohun Bagan look to redeem themselves after suffering their worst home defeat since 2008/09 season,  Chakraborty knows it will not get any easier against Chennai City, who are on a 4-match winning streak, but he believes his side is more than capable of turning the corner.

“Chennai City will be very difficult opponents, they play a possession game and they hold the ball well. The key to the match will be the midfield, we need to win the ball in those areas. We have to put up some good work and make sure we take care of their strengths.” Chakraborty continued.

It’s a match Chakraborty will obviously be desperate to get a reaction from his men, but has admitted that he faces a tough task to lift the battered morale of his players.

“As a coach I understand that part of my job entails building character and asking how do we come back from setbacks. It’s never feels good when you lose a match, but we still have a lot of work to do.”  Chakraborty said. “Even in the dressing room we are being realistic because there are still many matches to play and many points to play for.”

Meanwhile, Chennai City coach Akbar Nawas explained that Mohun Bagan will be eager to bounce back from their loss to Churchill and this will make things more difficult for his team.

“We need to respect that the match Mohun Bagan lost against Churchill aren’t a reflection of the quality they possess as a team,” Nawas said. “In football, some days are yours and others aren’t. It wasn’t their day.”

“I believe we will give a good account of ourselves even though we know that Mohun Bagan will be eager to bounce back. It is an opportunity for us to rise to the occasion,” he added.

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.

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.