September 27, 2005: Five coaches left

The All India Football Federation has shortlisted 5 coaches for the national coach post. According to scoures the shortlisted coaches are Syed Nayeemuddin, Subrata Bhattacharya, Aloke Mukherjee, M Peethambaram and Dr Birbal Singh. Fax messages were sent out on Monday informing the five about their selection and asking them to make their presentation before the four-member expert committee comprising PK Banerjee, Chuni Goswami, CR Viswanathan and Dereyk DeSouza on September 30.

September 27, 2005: Venky supports Sukhi

India and Mahindra United star midfielder Shanmugam Venkatesh has has expressed his support for national coach Sukhvinder Singh, while talking to a press conference. Venky: "I think Sukhwinder should continue. How can you expect anyone to deliver results in 10-20 days’ preparation. In 1998 he (Sukhwinder) did a fantastic job against UAE, then no one said he was bad and now in just 2-3 matches you judge his performace!"

September 26, 2005: Indian women to face though task

Vietnam is set to host the 'Vietnam Coal International Football Tournament' from October 2 – 10. The tournament will be played in Cua Ong Stadium in Quang Ninh province, and include India, Taiwan, Vietnam 1 and Cua Ong Coal (Vietnam 2). The championship team will take home a cash prize of VND50 million, US$3,150, and two runners-up each with $1,900 and $1,300 respectively. Cua Ong Coal Co. of Quang Ninh province will be picking up the tab for the tournament, expected to cost some $63,000 in organizational expenses.
Vietnam Television’s VTV3 will host live broadcasts of several games at the event.

September 19, 2005: AIFF receives 15 applications

The application phase for Indian national football coach ended today with 15 coaches from across India having applied for the top coaching job in Indian football. Currently Sukhvinder Singh is the coach, but many expect a new coach to take over after not so promising results in Pakistan and Fiji.
The illustrious list of applicants is headed by former national coach Syed Nayeemuddin and includes former Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya, India junior coaches Johar Das, Prasanta Banerjee and Satheevan Balan plus Debashish Mukherjee, GS Parmar, Shyamal Banerjee, M Peethambaram, M Ratan Singh, KP Sethumadhavan, Rajeev PK, K Suresh Babu, Ekendra Singh and Dr Birbal Singh.

September 17, 2005: India U20 set for Myanmar

The Myanmar FF is set to organise a Four Nation Football Tournament in November 2005 with China, India and Bangladesh set to take part besides the hosts. The hosts would use the tournament for exposure for their juniors ahead of the South-East Asian Games, while China would send their U21 team, India would give their U20 boys exposure ahead of the Asia U20 Qualifiers, while Bangladesh would send their senior side ahead of the Asia Cup qualifiers.

September 16, 2005: Sukbhi meets Das Munshi

National coach Sukhvinder Singh today met AIFF president Das Munshi to discuss the Indian team's lacklustre performances in the recent months.
"I met the AIFF President this morning and we had a good discussion over various issues concerning the game in India," Sukhvinder said over phone from Phagwara.
The coach said the meeting, which lasted for about 20 minutes this morning, took place in a "cordial" atmosphere.
"Dada (Das Munshi) asked me whatever he wanted to know and I also said whatever was in my mind," Sukhvinder said.
The Executive Committee of the AIFF, in its meeting here on September 7, had decided to ask Sukhvinder to appear before Das Munshi to "present his future plans for the team".
The meeting was scheduled to take place yesterday but had to be delayed by a day as Das Munshi and Federation Secretary General Alberto Colaco were attending the 55th Ordinary FIFA Congress at Marrakesh in Morocco.
Sukhvinder's future as national coach was in jeopardy after the pathetic display by the team in Pakistan, where they lost a three-match series on goal difference, and Fiji, where they lost all their encounters.
The coach, however, was tightlipped about what exactly was discussed at today's meeting.
"That is between the President and me and I cannot divulge any details in this regard," he said.
Asked whether he was confident of retaining his job in the light of AIFF asking for applications for the post of national coach, Sukhvinder said "I am the coach at least till someone else is appointed."

September 14, 2005: India go down in FIFA Ranking

The latest FIFA World Rankings were released today with INDIA losing a couple of spots to be now 134th in the world amongst 205 nations affiliated to FIFA. In Asia INDIA remain in 25th spot.

September 13, 2005: New coach to be announced in October

The name of the next coach of the Indian football team is likely to be declared in early October, the game's governing body in the country said today. "The expert committee to deliberate on the issue of the next coach will meet on September 30 and the name of the selected candidate is likely to be announced in the next couple of days," AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta told PTI from Calcutta. The committee, comprising PK Banerjee, Chuni Goswami, CR Viswanathan and Dereyk DeSouza, will go through the applications received for the post and make their recommendations to AIFF President Dasmunshi who will announce the name of the next national coach within a day or two, Dutta said. The last date for receiving applications has also been extended by a day to September 18, sources in the AIFF said. The expert committee meeting was earlier scheduled for September 27 but was put back by three days as its members needed more time to scrutinise and deliberate on the various candidates, they said.

September 13, 2005: Confusion about Sukhi

Even as the date for the proposed appearance of national coach Sukhvinder Singh before AIFF draws near, confusion reigned supreme as neither the date nor the agenda of the meeting seems to have been decided as yet.
To make matters worse, Sukhvinder is yet to get an official intimation about appearing before the AIFF chief Das Munshi and what he needs to ‘explain.'
"I haven't received any communication from the federation and can't comment on what I am required to do at the meeting," Sukhvinder said over phone, adding "whatever I have heard in this regard is through the media only."

September 12, 2005: AIFF asks for applications

Who is (going to) apply for the India coach job?
With the future of Sukhvinder Singh unsure, the new system of "aspiring coaches" asked to send in their application to the AIFF one wants to know, who is interested to take the Indian football hotseat.
As it looks at the moment a number of top Indian club coaches aren't really interested to take over or cannot due to club contracts.
You've been able to read here, Shabbir Ali and Savio Medeira are off the list, with others like Derrick Pereira (Mahindra United) and Bimal Ghosh (Air-India) also off.
But what about India's two most successful club coaches of the last few season? Both East Bengal's Subhas Bhowmick and Dempo's Armando Colaco find the selection process a little weird and uncalled for in football. And it looks like the two will not apply for the job. But the two could be proposed by AIFF vice-president of their respective zones.

September 10, 2005: Indian women to play in Vietnam

The Indian Women will be taking part in a tournament in Vietnam for which a national camp will be held at the SAI Eastern Centre, Calcutta from September 15. Harjinder Singh has been named chief coach, while Shukla Dutta has been appointed as assistant coach.

September 9, 2005: Constantine joins Millwall

At a time when in India discussions are on who should be the coach of the national football team, people are forced to realise what good job Englishmen Stephen Constantine did during his near three year stint with India. Now Stephen has got a break in English football joining Championship bottom side FC Millwall on a month's trial as coach, which means as understudy of manager Colin Lee. Stephen had been at the club for a week and impressed Lee, who took him on the trial. Lets hope the best for Stephen. The IndianFootball.Com Team wishes you the best!

September 7, 2005: Sukhi back under fire

UNI report: Going by the inklings, national football coach Sukhvinder Singh has had his last assignment with the team but AIFF is trying to sugar coat the bitter pill to avert an unceremonious exit for him.
In a rare move in which the coach won't be shown the door in the crudest way, the AIFF has decided to pick the next man for the hot seat, taking a cue from its cricket counterpart BCCI.
"We did not follow BCCI. Football is an age-old game and we don't need to learn anything from anyone," shot back AIFF President Das Munshi after the Executive Committee meeting here yesterday.
Despite his denials, AIFF will be going the BCCI way and have decided to call all "aspiring coaches" to send their application by September 18 and the among them shortlisted one will be asked to appear before a four-member expert panel. Earlier this year, BCCI had invited four shortlisted candidates for Team India coach's post which eventually went to Australian Greg Chappell.
AIFF, however, made it clear that it was not considering a foreigner for the job. "Instead, we are thinking of roping in a Technical Advisor from abroad. I'm going to Morocco and on my return, we might identify someone and appoint him," Das Munshi said before flying for the FIFA Congress in Marrakesh.
Meanwhile, both Das Munshi and AIFF Secretary Alberto Colaco maintained that the Federation had not closed its door on Sukhwinder. "Sukhwinder won't be asked to appear for the interview. Instead, he would directly report to the AIFF President on September 15," Colaco said.
Das Munshi also refused to blame Sukhwinder alone for India's dismal show in the twin tour of Pakistan and Fiji.
The new coach's name would be announced by September 30, he said, adding "Till September 27, Sukhwinder will remain the coach and we will decide the new name on September 28 or 29. We want a coach who will build the team for the SAF and Asian Games. It was also decided that each zone can recommend two names for the coach's job through the Vice-Presidents."
AIFF Vice-President Subroto Dutta later told UNI that three coaches would be shortlisted after the interview before the federation takes a final decision.
Sukhwinder was under fire after India had lost the three-match series against Pakistan on goal average. Worse followed in Fiji as the S Ventakesh-led squad lost all their matches to the lower ranked rivals.

September 7, 2005: Executive committee meeting

The AIFF executive committee met in the capital New Delhi to discuss a number of pending issues and spend most of it's time regarding the recommendations of the technical committee on the disappointing performances of the national team on it's tours to Pakistan (June) and Fiji (July).
AIFF president Das Munshi told reporters, "The much debated issue of the performance of our U23 team in Pakistan and Fiji disappointed us. It was most unfortunate and we probed in depth."
"The executive committee has decided to invite all aspiring coaches who can build up the team for the SAF and Asian Games to apply by September 18 the shortlisted candidates will be asked to appear before an expert panel on September 27 and the coaches named will be announced on September 28 or 29," he added.
Somehow it sounds like the AIFF wasn't able to take a proper decision on the national coach issue. It sounds like technically Sukhvinder Singh is still the national coach in-charge of affairs until the Asian Games, but still the AIFF has asked for applications for the national coach from "aspiring" Indian coaches. But Sukhi is not officially out yet. He has been asked to appear infront of AIFF president Das Munshi on September 15 to explain the two tours from his side. So Sukhi can fight for his job, still the AIFF has put together a panel of experts to conduct interviews with potential candidates on September 27 about their vision for Team India. CR Viswanathan, Chuni Goswami, PK Banerjee and Derek DeSouza will comprise that panel with two applications per Zone to be accepted. If no suitable candidate is found, then Sukhvinder will be asked to continue.
WHAT??? So far the national coach issue was being handled in a "somewhat weird" manner, now it is becoming even more complicated with a lot of if's and but's. Lets wait and see what happens, but we pray for the best for our national team...
Further decisions:
• The AIFF wants to appoint a foreign Technical Director to help the new (old) national coach. The AIFF hopes to find a new TD with the help of FIFA. And with the FIFA Congress on September 11/12 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
• Uzbek Islam Akhmedov has been appointed as the full-time youth Development Director with assistants to be appointed soon for the youth development programme for the U16 and U19 national teams.
• It was also announced at the press conference that Zee Sports would get the TV and marketing rights of Indian football for the next five years from October 1, 2005 with an option to extend the contract by another five years. The original 10 year offer from Zee Sports was said to be in the region of Rs 2,7 billion. Other bidders included Nimbus, who pulled out, and NDTV.
• The 27th Federation Cup would be either held in Calcutta or Goa, if these places cannot hold it then Calicut would be offered to hold the tournament.

September 4, 2005: Sukhi to continue

As per statements made by AIFF Vice-President CR Viswanathan in Chennai Sukhwinder Singh will continue as national coach.
CR Viswanathan, who also happens to be the Chairman of the Technical and Coaching Committee's, told PTI in Chennai "Sukwinder will continue and Federation President P R Das Munshi or the Executive Commitee were not contemplating any change at this stage".
Talking to PTI today just before departing for the capital, Viswanathan said "only the media has been spreading this rumour and I can categorically say that the Federation has neither discussed this aspect nor the subject was a matter for discussion in the Tuesday meeting".
"The meeting is to discuss the team's performance in its two tours (Pakistan and Fiji) and the reports of both the Manager and the Coach would also be analysed", he said, adding "the thrust in the meeting will be towards setting up of a system of coaching in the country".
Saying that every aspect of football, including decisions on appointment of coaches, are made only after detailed discussion, Viswanathan said "members of the Committee have submitted their proposals and it would be placed for discussion at Tuesday's meeting".
Viswanathan felt that Sukhwinder had not been given enough time and that he had continued with the team handled by Constantine.
"I personally feel that the present team is our best team in recent times. Their performance against Japan, though we received seven goals, was excellent. We missed a few chances but the team played the full 90 minutes with vigour and were hard in tackles", he said.
According to Viswanathan, the Coaching and Technical Committees have proposed to the AIFF that the Chairman and members of these committees should be present at Coaching camps and major tournaments to assess the players' progress.
"I have been for the last over ten years suggesting a system of coaching in the country and my earlier proposal is with the AIFF. It has now crystalised and a system will be in place at the earliest", he said.
"It has been proposed to identify 30 footballers in each of over 600 districts in India and, after a thorough testing of trainees on both physical and playing abilities, 30 players would be selected from each State. They would be grouped Zone-wise before a final list of 30 trainees will be picked for the All India Camp."
It has also been proposed that the Federation set up regional centres to maintain data on these trainees and monitor and assess their progress, Viswanathan said.

September 3, 2005: Bhutia back in Calcutta

Indian star skipper Baichung Bhutia was a guest at today's Calcutta Premier League derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal back in India on a one week visit after his stint with Malaysian club MK Land Selangor with whom he still has a contract for another month. Baichung said he will only decide at the beginning of next month for whom he will play. He has offers to stay in Malaysia plus offers from top clubs in India. Baichung said, if he returned to India he would only sign in Calcutta either for East Bengal or Mohun Bagan. Rumours had suggested that Mahindra United and JCT Mills were also interested to sign Baichung.
Watching the match at the Saltlake Stadium press box, Baichung said his Malaysia Cup campaign for MK Land was somewhat fruitful as he personally got back to match fitness and form, though he played in a withdrawn position and not his usual striking position.