March 30, 2006: Indian squad for AFC Challenge Cup announced

The AIFF has announced the INDIA squad for the inaugural AFC Challenge Cup. INDIA will be represented by the INDIA U20 team, which will be led by senior international Naduparambil Pappachan Pradeep of State Bank of Travancore with HALs Xavier Vijayakumar as vice-Captain. Bungo Singh of Churchill Brothers SC is the third senior player in the side, who have been taken from 2.Division NFL sides to strengthen the U20 team. The side faces Afghanistan, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines in Group A.
The INDIA U20 side arrived in northeastern Bangladesh city of Chittagong today where the Group A matches will be held from April 1.
India U-20 squad:
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharjee (Tata Football Academy), Shilton Paul (Tata Football Academy)
Defenders: Naduparambil Pappachan Pradeep (Captain; State Bank of Travancore), Rakesh Masih (Tata Football Academy), Hirohito Elangbam (Tata Football Academy), Rino Anto (Tata Football Academy), Warundeep Singh (Tata Football Academy), N Khemtang Paite (Tata Football Academy), Reisangmi Vashum (Manipur)
Midfielders: Xavier Vijayakumar (Vice-Captain; Hindustan Aeronautics Limited SC), Baldeep Singh (JCT Football Academy), Bungo Singh (Churchill Brothers SC), Lalramluaha Hmar (Tata Football Academy), Ong Tshering Lepcha (Sikkim), Lalmalswama Hmar (Mizoram), Zaidinmawia Hmar (Mizoram)
Forwards: Vimal Pariyar (Tata Football Academy), Pulparambil Shafique (Kerala), Lalawmpuia Pachuau (Tata Football Academy), Parwinder Singh (Tata Football Academy)
On standby: Malsawmdawgliana (Forward; Mizoram), Lavino Fernandes (Midfielder; Sesa Football Academy), Shaji D'Silva (Forward; Indian Navy, Mumbai)
Chief Coach: Islam Akhmedov (Uzbekistan)
Assistant Coach: K Birbal Singh (Manipur)
Goalkeeping Coach: Hemanta Dora (West Bengal)
Manager: Borkynsai Diengdoh (Meghalaya)
Team Doctor: Dr. Manabendra Bhattacharya (West Bengal)

March 28, 2006: India U20 to leave on Thursday

The India U20 national team will arrive in Bangladesh on Thursday, March 30 to participate in the inaugural AFC Challenge Cup. The Indian youngsters, coached by Uzbek Islam Akhmedov, will face the senior national teams of Afghanistan, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) and the Philippines in Group A.
On our opponents: The Afghanistan national team left Kabul yesterday for Bangladesh, while the Philippines lost a friendly match 0-5 away to Thailand on Sunday. The Philippines will also sadly miss the Younghusband brothers Phil and James, who play for the Chelsea Reserves in England.

March 22, 2006: Nayeemuddin officially sacked

Syed Nayeemuddin and his team of coaches plus manager PK Banerjee have now been officially sacked by the AIFF. This comes on the resolutions adopted by the Executive Committee on March 8 and endorsed by the Technical Committee a few days later. The Technical Management of the Indian Senior National Team and Asian Games U23 bound squad would now be reorganised with the search for a suitable foreign coach on. As reported earlier the AIFF has asked for help from FIFA to recommend a suitable new coach for Team INDIA.
Meanwhile over 30 applications from coaches from around the world have been received by the AIFF for the vacant post of Head Coach.
There are some prominent names amongst them, which the AIFF has released. Some have coached national teams and have experience in coaching top level clubs around the world.
The canidates:
(1) Michel Hidalgo (France)
(2) Brian Kerr (Ireland) - former Chief Coach of the Republic of Ireland
(3) Pedrag Jurrig (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
(4) Andre Gusset (Switzerland)
(5) Jose Mario Olguin (Argentina) - a former Argentinian World Cupper
(6) Acacio Alfredo Casimiro (Portugal)
(7) Peter Obermaier (Germany)
(8) Jason Withe (England) - has coached in Thailand

March 20, 2006: Bikramjit Singh to lead India U14

The AIFF today appointed Chandigarh midfielder Bikramjit Singh as captain of the Indian Under-14 team, which will take part in the AFC Under-14 Football Festival to be held in Iran from March 23 to 30. Six players in the team hail from Chandigarh. Announcing the team in Chandigarh today after the evening session of the camp, which began on February 12 at the Sector 17 Football Stadium, Chandigarh FA president Principal Ravinder Talwar said that Bengal striker Abhishek Das would be the vice-captain of the team.
Talwar said that the AIFF spotters Mariano Dias (Goa), Syed Shabir Pasha (Tamil Nadu) and Satheevan Balan (Kerala) had selected 40 probables for the National coaching camp after the conclusion of the National Under-14 Football Festival conducted in Chandigarh from December 20 last year.
The AIFF deputed Kerala's Satheevan Balan and Carlos Gomes of Goa as chief coach and assistant coach, respectively, to impart training in the National camp. During the camp, scrutiny was done and 25 probables were retained. Out of selected 18 players, eight are new comers. They are Rajesh S, Ashish Chetri, Harpreet Singh, Gaurav Sharma, Bishwajit Gupta, Manandeep Singh and Sumit Rawat. Ten players took part in the AFC Under-13 Football Festival held in Uzbekistan last year.
Chief coach Balan was confident that the Indian team would give outstanding performance in Iran. 10 boys, who went to Uzbekistan for the Under-13 Festival, had graduated to the Under-14 squad. With experienced and newcomers, India have a balanced team and Balan, who worked hard with the trainees along with Carlos, is expecting good results in the festival which is basically not a competition. "Next year, these boys would be ready to take part in competitions. In Iran we hope to finish on top in the Central Asian Zone," said Balan.
Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Krygyzstan are the other nations competing in the AFC U-14 Football Festival in Iran.
India U-14 squad:
Goalkeepers: Sudipta Bannerjee (Bengal), Rajesh S (Tamil Nadu)
Defenders: Tirthankar Sarkar (Bengal), Ashish Chetri (Sikkim), Arashpreet Singh (Chandigarh), Samuel Shadap (Meghalaya), Shalun Pires (Goa), Vikash Gupta (Chandigarh), Sumit Rawat (Delhi)
Midfielders: Bikramjit Singh (Captain, Chandigarh), Harpreet Bedi (Chandigarh), Sajandeep Singh (Chandigarh), Gaurav Sharma (Uttaranchal)
Forwards: Nikhil Regni (Uttaranchal), Abhishek Das (vice-captain, Bengal), Niswajit Dutta (Bengal), Jonny Kumar (Chandigarh), Manandeep Singh (Haryana)
Chief Coach: Satheevan Balan (Kerala)
Assistent Coach: Carlos Gomes (Goa)
Rakesh Bakshi (Chandigarh)
Team Doctor: Siddarth Kamat

March 17, 2006: Baichung Bhutia new NIKE ambassador

Nike India today at a press conference in Calcutta made some announcements about their involvement in Indian football. Firstly India captain Baichung Bhutia would be their brand ambassador plus they would bring the Manchester United Premier Cup youth tournament to India.
Baichung Bhutia, who earlier was a brand ambassador for Adidas, has signed a five year contract to be the new brand ambassador of Nike in India. Baichung was happy to be now associated with Nike and see's his involvement in marketing, public relations and community relations exercise for the brand.
To promote youth football in the country Nike India is jointly organising with the AIFF for the first time ever the Indian-leg of the Manchester United Premier Cup in Calcutta from March 22 to 26. Taking part in the U15 tournament will be the sub-junior sides of East Bengal Club, Mohun Bagan AC, Mohammedan Sporting Club, EverReady SA, Tollygunge Agragami, Mahindra United, JCT Mills and Vasco SC.
The winner will have to survive a league-cum-knockout format to make it to the South-East Asian finals in Bangkok in May 2006. The South-East Asian champions would make it to the world finals in Europe.
"The aim of this event is to popularise the sport at the grass-roots level and encourage young talents by giving them an opportunity to participate in a global tournament," said Sanjay Gangopadhyay, marketing director of Nike India.
"The effort bears testimony to our commitment to elevating the game in the country," he said.

March 17, 2006: India U19 Women to kick-off against South Korea

The AFC has released the schedule for the AFC U19 Women's Championship finals to be held in Malaysia next month. Our India U19 Girls' open against defending champions South Korea on April 8 at the KLFA Stadium Cheras at 17.30 local time. They then take on North Korea on April 10 again at the KLFA Stadium Cheras at 17.30 local time. The final Group A match is against Japan on April 12 at the MPPJ Shah Alam at 19.45 local time.

March 15, 2006: India remain 118th

INDIA remain 118th in the latest FIFA World Rankings released today by the world football governing body. INDIA now have 381 points, one more than in February, to be joint 118th with Turkmenistan. In Asia INDIA move up a place to 21st also jointly with Turkmenistan, who have lost a couple of places in the world rankings.

March 15, 2006: AFC press release

AFC press release: The draw for the AFC Youth Championship 2006 will be held in Calcutta, India, on April 15 at 1600 h IST.
The tournament will be played in India from October 29 to November 12, 2006. Sixteen teams have qualified for the tournament proper and these are India (automatic qualification as hosts), Australia, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, DPR Korea and defending champions Korea Republic.
The top four teams in this tournament will qualify for the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championship in Canada.

March 11, 2006: AIFF press release

AIFF press release:In some Newspapers, distorted News reports have been published as if AIFF have sacked the Chief Coach Mr. Syed Nayeemuddin and the Manager & Technical Adviser, Shri P.K.Banerjee, not a factual. The correct position is as follows:
"In disposing of the agenda items of National Team preparation for Asian Games and Asia Cup, the Members of the Executive Committee of AIFF heard every member and their assessment based on some reports. At the end, Executive Committee of AIFF unanimously adopted a resolution that it is necessary to re-organize the Technical Team of AIFF, at the earliest, in the process of making National Team, to enable our senior training programme effective. In this regard, Executive Committee further advised to negotiate with FIFA and AFC for a foreign Coach, if available or otherwise to take an appropriate decision". Naturally, therefore, the question of sacking any individual of the Technical Committee did not arise. However, in the Technical Team, since only Chief Coach, Syed Nayeemuddin is working on an agreement between AIFF and him, appropriate clause of the agreement shall provide AIFF to take decision in this regard, if required".
AIFF did express their thanks to the Technical Team for their contribution. President, AIFF clarified the position to Mr. P.K.Banerjee this morning over the telephone. President today also faxed to the General Secretary, FIFA, whether any competent Foreign Coach is available at the earliest. Padmashree Mr. P.K.Banerjee is a distinguished sports personality of the country and did not serve AIFF on any contractual assignment on the on-going project and therefore, sacking or questioning his integrity, is beyond our thinking. Sayeed Nayeemudin, since was engaged on the contractual assignment, AIFF has every right to consider or re-consider the matter whenever the Committee feels it proper within the scope of the agreement. AIFF has no intention to discredit any football personality as has been reported in some Newspapers.

March 10, 2006: India U-19 in though group

AFC U-19 Women's Championship - FINAL DRAW:

Yesterday our INDIA U19 Girls' qualified for the AFC U19 Women's Championship finals and today the draw of the finals were carried out in Kuala Lumpur. The INDIA U19 Girls' will face defending champions South Korea, Japan and North Korea in a tough Group A of the AFC U19 Women's Championship finals, to be held in Kuala Lumpur from April 8 to 18, 2006. The 11-day event will be played at the MPPJ and KLFA stadiums with the top three teams qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women's Championship in Russia in August.

Group A: Korea Republic, DPR Korea, Japan, India
Group B: China PR, Malaysia, Jordan, Australia

March 9, 2006: India management sacked

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has sacked the Indian national team coaches and the manager. Syed Nayeemuddin (Chief Coach), Gabriel Joseph (Assistent Coach), Atanu Bhattacharya (Goalkeeper Coach) and PK Banerjee (Manager) have been released from their assignments with immediate effect. The AIFF is reacting to the latest disappointing performances and the problems, which occured in the team.
Several India players were very criticial of the training methods and tactics, while captain Baichung Bhutia has been attacked by Nayeemuddin for some critical statements.

March 9, 2006: India U-19 roots Bangladesh

AFC U-19 Women's Championship - Qualifiers:

India U19 10-0 Bangladesh U19

Goals: 1-0,5-0 Manpreet Kaur (8',37'), 2-0,10-0 Bala Ngangom Devi (10',78'), 3-0,6-0,8-0 Sasmita Malik (21',39',58'), 4-0,7-0,9-0 Lalbarmoi Hmar (33',40',77')

March 5, 2006: India U-19 trashes Kyrgyzstan

AFC U-19 Women's Championship - Qualifiers:

India U19 7-0 Kyrgyzstan U19

Goals: 1-0,2-0,7-0 Lalbarmoi Hmar (11',17',81'), 3-0,4-0,5-0,6-0 Sasmita Malik (37',46',70',78')

March 3, 2006: No action against Baichung Bhutia

The All India Football Federation has turned down a request by national coach Syed Nayeemuddin to show cause captain Baichung Bhutia for his outburst against the Indian team management after losing to Yemen in the AFC Asian Cup 2007 qualifier. Nayeemuddin and PK Banerjee met AIFF president, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi in the capital and sought action against Bhutia. The AIFF boss did not agree with the suggestion and said he would talk to Bhutia before taking any appropriate action.

March 2, 2006: India U-19 squad announced

The All India Football Federation has announced a 20-member team for the AFC U-19 Women's Championship qualifiers to be held at the Ambedkar Stadium, Delhi. The Indian girls will play Bangladesh on March 5 and Kyrgystan on March 9.
India U-19 squad:
Goalkeepers: W Thabal Devi (Manipur), Arshy Sharma
Defenders: Thangjam Ranjita Devi, Ashem Romi Devi (both Manipur), Bijay Laxmi Sahu, Alochona Senapati, Tuli Goon, Khusurbala Devi
Midfielders: Annu Kumari, Gracy D'Costa, Poonam Chauhan, Neha Kapoor, L Ashrani Devi, Chingtham 'Sanathoi' Chanu, Manpreet Kaur
Forwards: Lalbarmoi Hmar (Manipur), Sasmita Malik (Bengal), Dornina Gormendes, L Pramesware Devi, Bala Ngangom Devi
Chief Coach: Harjinder Singh
Assistent Coach: Sukhla Dutta
Goalkeeping Coach:
Chitra Gangadharan
Sunil Bhardwaj

March 1, 2006: Baichung Bhutia on the match

India captain Baichung Bhutia after match to a press gathering: "We had no plans and our preparations lacked the needed punch. The entire training system has to be modernised. Our gameplan was zero and so we got beaten in every department of the game. I don’t know what measures should be taken to improve the performance. That is for the federation to plan about. But with this kind of training schedule and playing style, we are not going to reach anywhere. That’s for sure."

March 1, 2006: AFC ASIAN CUP 2007 Qualifiers - Matchday 2

Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi:

India 0-3 Yemen
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