Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Zico - "I am not here to be a mere passenger"

FC Goa press conference with
Srinavas Dempo and Zico

Arthur Antunes Coimbra (Zico), Manager and Chief Coach, FC Goa

It feels fantastic to be in India. I hope to contribute significantly to football not only in Goa but India as a whole. There is a huge responsibility placed on my shoulders and I will do justice to it. I know expectations are high. I am motivated to take on this role of coach to FC Goa. We cannot work in isolation but have to do so as a team. We have to work together to raise the standards of football in the country. I plan to take the team and football to the highest level and will do my best. Thank you for a wonderful welcome to India.

What are your expectations from India?

ISL is a big league. I sincerely hope that the quality of football will rise with the Indian Super League and it will benefit football as a whole.  For success, we have to work very hard. I have done so in my country and will do the same in India. I will offer my experience and knowledge to better the sport of football in the country.

Asian football  is getting stronger. I am not here to be a mere passenger, I am here to be a part of the development of football in the country.

India is a very large country but it is very unfortunate that the standard of football is not too high. I came to Kolkata in 2004 for the world cup preliminaries and saw stadia full of people enthusiastically cheering and enjoying the game. If there is so much love for the game then there should be something done to raise its standard. I hope that football scales greater heights with the help of the federation and the government.

What is your main focus over the next few weeks?

My objective is clear. The objective is to reach the finals and win. I am optimistic about this. We have to prepare well though. I want to get to know each and every one of the players well as soon as possible and I will share my philosophy of the game with the team.

You have trained in Japan and Turkey. What are the challenges that come with coaching in a non-developed country like India?

Each country is different from the other. In Japan there was no professionalism at all. But the biggest advantage I had was that everyone in the Japanese team was united and wanted to progress from amateur football to professional football. In Turkey, they’ve been concentrating on the internal football league only. I tried to change their mentality and encouraged them to venture beyond their comfort zone and look towards the international arena. That is how they took the initiative to play in Europe and other parts of the world. Youngsters in Qatar were not interested in football at all. I had to build that drive inside them for them to take the game seriously. Sometimes bringing big players to the table doesn’t help if the players don’t have the urge to change their mentality. But I managed to do that in Qatar. If India would like to grow, it depends on the Indian football players’ mentality. We can provide help through our rich experience but the ability to grow lies solely in you. I am here to extend my help for the growth of football whether the player is amateur or a professional.

How did you get into coaching? Was it Is it difficult to make the transition from a player to a 

I focused on the playing. I never thought that I would coach. I went to Japan to play. Somewhere along the line I was requested to coach the team and I accepted. That’s how coaching happened. The team wasn’t doing too well for a few years. The president requested me to take over when there were just 13 matches remaining. We worked together as a team and at the end of those 13 matches,  we had won 11, lost one and drew two.  We finished at fifth place. I started to enjoy coaching and that’s how my coaching career began.

Who according to you is one of the best football players at the moment?

James Rodrigues from Columbia.

Players have already been signed to FC Goa before you could take over. How do you feel about it?

I don’t see anything wrong in this at all. When I went to Iraq, players were selected and I had only 5 days to be with the team, still I trained them. The players belong to the club and not to the trainer. The club selects the players, I do my duty and train them. My basic duty is to train and to bring out the best in the players I have been assigned to. Which sometimes is good. Often when the results are bad, the coach is blamed for selecting the players and that becomes a bigger problem for the coach. In Brzail, if you lose four matches, you are sent home. But in England, coaches stay on for 12 and even 15 years. This differs from culture to culture. My job is to make the players better so that they do their best. It may be very easy for FC Goa to even sign on a Ronaldo or a Neymar. My job will still be to train them.

Is coaching far more difficult than playing ?

It has been a difficult transition from player to coach because your whole focus is raising the standard of the team. It’s much more difficult for sure. A coach needs to look into every minute detail.  What is important is not to hold onto all responsibilities by yourself but to allot responsibilities. Its important to delegate. To plan well and prepare the team. Its important to work together as a team. To be successful as a team, everyone needs to play their role well, the players as well as the technical staff.

Winning is a combination of many elements working towards a single goal.

(Left to right)Srinivas Dempo(Chairman &
MD, Dempo Group Of Companies)
 and Zico, Manager & Chief Coach, FC Goa

Mr. Shrinivas Dempo, Chairman and Managing Director, Dempo Group of Companies

"On behalf of the team at FC Goa Goa and the people of Goa, I extend a warm welcome to Zico. Goa is the only state where football is the state sport, thanks to the Chief Minister Mr. Parrikar. We believe we can make a difference to the sport of football in the country. And now that we have Zico, we look to infusing new energy into the sport.

Everyone wants to know why Zico? Because he’s Zico.  He is the finest player in the world in terms of strategy and professionalism. He’s a living legend.  He has had an impressive coaching career 2002 when he began coaching. I was in Japan in 2006 and saw it firsthand. We believe he can make a difference to football in India. The next step is to make sure to get India better qualified to compete in the world cup. I acknowledge the efforts put in by Beto to help us get Zico to India."

Did you have Brazilian flair football in mind while hiring Zico?

Yes.  I recently travelled to Brazil for the world cup. Brazilian football is different in some ways. We have the very best in football talent in Zico. If Zico and Arthur can get together and bring the best out of our Indian footballers, it will be great.

Are you happy with the signings of FC Goa?

We have a 40 to 50 years history in football. We have excellent players on board. Arthur and the team have gone through the technical analysis and we have been pretty successful in getting the players we wanted, both domestics and international. And now we have Zico. He has already got down to business with the team. Yes. I am satisfied. We not only have a great team, but a whole eco system which will work together towards success.

Can the I-League and ISL co-exist? Is it difficult being part of both?

Yes. The I-League and ISL can coexist, there’s a lot of synergy between the two. Players can move across teams. We are participating in all the tournaments and we will now have football all year round. I-League and ISL are both important for the overall development of football.

Will Zico be here for long?

I wish would be for him to be here in Goa permanently. That would be wonderful for the sport of football. There is no doubt that he will contribute immensely to football. But he may have other commitments which may not make it possible. I hope he continues to stay here longer.

Who do you consider your biggest rival in the ISL considering that nearly all teams are about nearly final?

Every team is a rival. All the teams seem to be well prepared.  There is immense talent and quality coming into the sport. Stadia are getting upgraded in every state. Each teams objective is to win and every match is crucial. So I would take every team seriously.

Dempos have been in football for over 50 years. What did Indian football not have all this while that things will change now that you have Zico?

We’ve tried to sustain football for a long time. Earlier budgets were not very high. But then we had to sit together and thing seriously about the sport. How do we classify football? Is it a part of CSR? Is it serious football? Will we ever be able to get returns on the investments one has made? And we realized that beyond a limit, football is a serious business and we had to make it serious business. ISL has come about at the right time. Once ISL become successful, probably the brad of I-league too will improve. ISL and I-League complement each other

Icheon Asian Games: Indian Womens team slaughtered by South Korea

Indian Womens Team defeated by South Korea
Indian Womens Team defeated by South Korea, Icheon Asian Games, Picture Courtesy: AIFF Media Team

Indian women went down 0-10 to a superior Korea Republic in their second Group A match of the Women’s Football Competition in the Incheon Asian Games. Korea Republic led five-nil at the interval.

Four goals from Yoo Younga, hattrick from Jeon Gaeul, a brace from Jung Seoblin and one from Park Heeyoung saw the Asian heavyweights brush aside their Indian counterparts.

The match was a totally one-sided affair as Korea Republic dominated proceedings right from the kick-off. So much so, that they surged into a 2-0 lead by the 9th minute itself.

Thereafter, there was a barrage of attacks at the India citadel as the Indian Women stayed busy defending all throughout.

To make matters worse, Captain Bembem Devi was given marching orders for her second yellow card of the match in the 53rd minute.

India next play Thailand in the last Group League match on September 21 (Sunday).

i-League: Mumbai FC sign Collin Abranches

Collin Abranches-Mumbai FC
Mumbai FC sign Collin Abranches with
Deputy VP Atul Badgamia(left)

Mumbai FC have added Collin Abranches to their roster. Deputy Vice President of Mumbai FC Mr. Atul Badgamia confirmed the signing, "Yes, Collin has been added to our Mumbai FC squad. He is someone who has the hunger to win matches and hence he'll play an important role in the upcoming season."

22 year old Collin, who plied his trade previously for Air India, Salgaocar and Mohammedan, said, "I am very happy on signing for Mumbai FC. I have a lot of trust in the team and in Coach Khalid and Henry.

My aim is to help my team win trophies. I`m excited to play for the Mumbaikars and I'm sure I’ll have a great time playing at this club."

Collin comes with a good amount of experience having already played over 50 I-League games.

Monday, September 15, 2014

FC Goa manager Zico arrives in India

Zico arrives in India
FC Goa manager Zico arrives in India with Beto(on left)

Arthur Antunes Coimbra (Zico), Manager and Chief Coach, FC Goa arrived into the sunny coastal state of Goa from Brazil earlier today. He was accompanied by Roberto Mendes da Silva  (Beto), former Dempo player, also a native of Brazil.

Mr. Alberto Colaco who leads the team at FC Goa along with his team members welcomed Zico with garlands at the Dabolim international airport in Goa. A few fans of FC Goa turned up at the airport to welcome the Brazilian legend

Six International FC Goa Players Jan Seda, Miroslav Slepicka, Bruno Pinheiro, Miguel Herlein, Edgar Marcelino and Gregory Arnolin have already arrived into Goa a day prior. The team will begin training under the expert eye of Zico shortly.

Icheon Asian Games: Unimpressive India hammered by UAE

India hammered by UAE in Asian Games Opener

Icheon Asian Games
India U-23 0-5 UAE U-23
UAE: Saeed Alkatheeri(13th,15th,65th), Al Ahbabi(19th), Sandesh Jhingan(Own Goal, 84th)

An unimpressive display by India U-23 Men’s Football contingent saw them surrender without a fight to United Arab Emirates as they went down 0-5 in their opening Group G match in the Asian Games in Incheon.

The winners, who scored the first three goals within 20 minutes, led 3-0 at the interval.

Rival skipper Saeed Alkatheeri notched up a hat-trick which included two Headers with the Indian defenders looking helplessly. Al Ahbabi scored a brace to complete the rout.

The Indian side lacked vision on the field. There wasn’t much understanding while defending; there wasn’t much understanding either while attacking. The series of mispasses, the ineffectiveness on the wings and the sluggish midfield losing almost every battle for the ball made matters tough as a ruthless UAE took control.

All the goals were conceded from counter attacks with the India back four of Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhinghan, Joyner Lourenco and Narayan Das lacking cohesion.

It all started in the 14th minute when Alkatheeri stooped low to his left and tucked in a cross from the right. Two minutes on, the Captain was at it again this time diving acrobatically to meet a cross from the same area.

It was 3-0 by the 20th minute when Al Ahbabi converted from close.

Stung, India tried to fight back. Sunil had a penalty appeal turned down after he was hacked down inside the area, while right back Pritam tried his luck from 35 yards with a stinging effort which the keeper somehow clung on to.

Changing over, any slim hope of a daunting comeback went up in smoke when four minutes into the hour mark the 2012 Olympics Qualifying Team rode their flying No 10 to the fourth goal. Alkatheeri slid in to guide the ball in between Amrinder’s legs after a good pass from the right channel once again found him at the right place.

Coach Wim Koevermans ringed in a change in the hope of some pride to be restored with Shillong Lajong’s Seminlen Doungel replacing ineffective Dempo man Mandar Rao Desai in the 72nd minute. The former East Bengal forward almost made an immediate impact with an angular effort that flew inches over the frame.

Captain Sunil followed him on moments later getting on the end of a delectable ball from the defence. But uncharacteristically the AIFF Player of the Year’s shot was meek giving the advancing keeper no problems whatsoever.

UAE notched their fifth in the dying minutes of the one sided tie, this time Al Ahbabi riding luck to his double when his tamely drilled attempt past Amrinder was helped on its way by Sandesh on the goalline.

India next play Jordan on September 22.

INDIA: Amrinder Singh, Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhinghan, Joyner Lourenco, Narayan Das, Pronay Halder (Lalrindika Ralte – 12th), Siam Hanghal, Francis Fernandes, Mandar Rao Deasi (Seminlen Doungel – 72nd), Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh.

NorthEast United FC sign Spanish Forward Koke

Spanish Striker Koke signs for NorthEast United FC

Sergio Contreras Pardo commonly known as “Koke” is a 31 year old Spanish striker who has joined the 'youngest team' in the ISL - The NorthEast United FC. Koke started his football career in 2001 which makes him a big asset to the team as he brings with him a wealth of experience .He will be benefiting the NorthEast FC’s attack by bringing onboard 13 years of professional football experience.

Koke a native of Malaga in Spain started his career with Malaga. He soon went on to play for Marseille in France and then had a good run at Sporting Lisbon in Portugal .He then went on to play for the Greek super league team Aris for 5 years where he captained them for 2 years in that duration,this period clearly was some of the best years of his football career. Moreover, Koke’s efforts helped them to finish fourth in the 2006–07 Super League Greece season.

On his new journey with North East United FC Koke expresses "I am very eager to start training with my new teammates and am excited about this new journey. I look forward to a great season and to score some winning goals for my team.”

NEUFC coach, Ricki Herbert is looking forward to this new addition to his team. He stated, "The arrival of Koke at North East United is one of excitement and anticipation.  His experience and pedigree is much awaited and we all look forward to his appearances as a North East United player"

The North East United FC is excited to have this exemplary striker on board, and hopes that his presence will assist them in their fight to take home the ISL title.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Incheon Asian Games: Indian Women's thrash Maldives by 15-0

Indian Womens team thrash Maldives in Incheon Asian Games opener
India 15-0 Maldives
India: Sasmita Malik (5th, 23rd,  26th, 80th, 87th), Kamala Devi(17th, 23rd, 31st, 45+3rd, 66th), Bala Devi (18th, 45+1), Ashalata Devi (54th), Bembem Devi(56th), Prameshwori Devi (90+3rd)

India began their campaign in the Incheon Asian Games on a high when the Indian Women’s Football Team came up with a dominating performance to pump in more than a dozen goals past Maldives to win 15-0 in their first Group A match on Sunday (September 14) and move a step closer to a quarterfinal berth in the Competition.

Five-star performances from winger Sasmita Malik and midfielder Kamala Devi underlined India’s dominance in a match where their counterparts failed to register even a single shot on goal.

Captain Bembem Devi, strikers Bala and Prameshwori Devi alongwith defender Ashalata Devi also got on the scoresheet. It was such a lopsided encounter that goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan would rue not netting one.

The Indian women who led 9-0 at the interval next play hosts South Korea on September 17 while their last Group League match is against Thailand on September 19.

The twice SAFF Champions seized the initiative right from the kick-off as they dominated proceedings all throughout in the completely one-sided encounter. The flurry of passes, the slowing down of the game at will, the sudden bursts of speed and the quick interchanging proved too much for the Maldives women as they surrendered meekly.

Meanwhile, the Indian U-23 Men begin their campaign on Monday (September 15) when they take on a strong United Arab Emirates, the silver medalists of the last Asian Games held in Guangzhou in 2010. The kick-off of the match is at IST 1.30pm.

However, the last time the two Teams met in the AFC U-22 Championships in Muscat, the match had ended 1-1.

Coming to the goals, it was as early as in the 5th minute when Bembem– who by the end of the match was the architect of almost all the goals – picked out Sasmita on top of the box, with the fleet footed left winger then turning her marker to smash a powerful shot low to the keeper’s right.

Midfielder Kamala doubled the tally for the blue shirts 12 minutes later with fine strike from inside the area after combining well with Bembem.

In form striker Bala made pulled away further from their lacklustre counterparts in the very next minute, placing the ball onto the roof of the net from a Tuli Goon cross from the right.

Three minutes later, Sasmita got her second this time scoring off the rebound after Prameshwori Devi had forced the keeper to a diving save.

It was only the 21st minute of the match and the all of Maldives’ players were drafted inside their own half to stop the carnage.

But nothing was going to work as Kamala heaped on more misery in the 23rd minute turning well to beat her marker and firing low off another Bembem put-through.

Sasmita notched up her hattrick in the 26th minute and by the half hour mark Kamala did the same. By the time it was halftime Bala was at the double and Kamala had scored her fourth as India went into the break leading by 9 goals.

Ashalata joined the fun after the break with Bembem deservingly netting one too as India gave the scorers at the ground a harrowing time.

Kamala scored her fifth in the 66th minute, Bembem again turning provider to tee up her state mate.

Sasmita crowned her superlative showing with a dipping free kick in the 80th minute from 25 yards. She was not done yet, turning in her fifth seven minutes on. Prameshwori completed the rout in added time.
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