Futsal breathes life into this youngster’s dream!

Praveendran (left corner), Indian youngster living his dream!
Praveendran (left corner), Indian youngster living his dream!

Futsal is touted as many things; a revolution in Indian football, the football version of the Indian Premier League, football’s answer to T20-20 and so on! But one aspect the marketing team probably missed out on is how it has brought alive some of the cherished dreams of our youngsters. A case in point is that of a Parveendran, a young footballer hailing from Chennai, who is in cloud nine because Futsal finally realized his dream of meeting Ronaldinho! It gets even better; he made it to the same team and now is all set to play alongside the iconic Brazilian player.

Praveendran can hardly contain his excitement in being picked in the same team as his football God. For someone who looked up to Ronaldinho at every stage of his career, who infact was the real inspiration for him to choose this sport, this is indeed a dream come true.

When the initial trials for the Chennai Futsal happened in Chennai, Praveendran wasn’t aware of it. Later on, he came to know that they were conducting a second leg of trials in Goa. Despite being a regular football player, the attraction and hype created around Futsal Premier League simply proved too much for an ardent follower of the game to ignore. He packed his bags to Goa with the only aim of making it in to the team. But, destiny had something else in store for him.

It was only after he landed in Goa that he came to know that the Chennai team had signed up Ronaldinho and he himself was coming for the trials. In a double bonus, he got to meet his God and made it to the team on merit. Understandably, the young chap falls short of words explaining his experience in being able to share the same dressing room with the Brazilian. Not just one, but two, for the Chennai team has also signed in another Brazilian legend, Cafu!

But Praveendran is sure what his long term goals are. He does not plan to build a career in Futsal, but will be merely using this as a platform to hone his dribbling and shooting skills, and be ready for his next football season. He is quick to add that Futsal Premier league is one of the best things that have happened to Indian football and the exposure it brings to our young domestic players is immense.

However, Praveendran’s dream of playing alongside Ronaldinho may have to wait till the next season because the latter had to return to Brazil. To make matters worse, Praveendran himself has had an ankle injury which has forced him to sit out all the first leg matches played at Chennai. But this young brave heart remains optimistic and is sure of playing the second leg in Goa. Right now, his only aim is to be match ready by then and give his everything to win the cup for his side! And for that, he is ready to put aside his dream of playing alongside Ronaldinho for a little while.

Falcao: Legend graces the pitch of Indian Futsal League

falcao

Hailed the World’s Best Futsal Player by FIFA twice, Alessandro Rosa Vieira’s, known in football circles as Falcao, signing in has bought in the much required superstar-factor to the Indian Premier Futsal 2016. There have been many other superstar signings with marquee players like Michel Salgado, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Hernan already in the bandwagon, but Falcao’s induction has unequivocally raised the status of the Futsal Premier in one grand masterstroke.

Fondly called the Pelé of Futsal, this Brazilian superstar has made a mark for himself in the short version of the sport. Some YouTube videos featuring his deft passes and acrobatic brilliance has been viewed some hundred million times. Winner of the Futsal Player of the Year award for four years, Falcao’s signing in will draw a lot of international media attention to India’s first-ever multi-national league.

Roping in Falcao has been a tactical decision, said the president of the Futsal league, Luis Figo, former Portugese superstar. Premier Futsal surely stands to gain a lot from this decision, both in terms of popularity-wise and the brilliant exposure it will provide for domestic players. Such has been Falcao’s contribution to Futsal that the game has come to be synonymous with his name. In a career spanning over 2 decades, he has achieved everything humanly possible. The long list of accolades and individual as well as team performances speaks of this incredible feat.

According to the chairman of the Premier Futsal 2016, Xavier Britto, one of the biggest impacts of signing Falcao will be the instant interest it generates in other international players across the globe. The tournament will need famed players and recognizable names to propel the brand effectively. And he believes that roping in a stalwart of the game like Falcao himself would do the trick.

Brazil has produced quite a long list of players of international stature, but unlike his compatriots who decided to stick to the long format of the game, Falcao dedicated his career to the short version. He represents the Futsal Brasil Kirin, also known as Sorocaba, a city in Sao Paulo. Apart from his contributions to his club, he has donned the Brazilian jersey in numerous world events, most notable of them the FIFA Futsal World Cup winning performances of 2008 & 2012. In his 200 appearances for the Brazilian national team, he has scored over 340 goals, a record that will stay intact for quite a long time.

It is this masterful expertise and fame that Falcao will bring to the Indian Futsal tournament. Football lovers in the country are excited to see a player of his stature sweating it out in Indian grounds. And the opportunity it provides budding Indian domestic players, to watch and learn from a genius at play, is spectacular. This could easily be a factor that will fill the stadiums.

All said and done, the signing of Falcao has been a genius decision that will bring a lot of interest into the Indian Premier Futsal League 2016.

Premiere Futsal League 2016: Are you following the new buzz?

Premier Futsal 2016 is the next big thing to grace the Indian sports arena after the incredible success of the much vaunted Indian Premier League cricket tournament. Coming close on the heels of the success story scripted by the Hero Indian Super League, Futsal 2016 is all set to raise the fever pitch and has already got the football fans across the country in a frenzy.

A look into the organizational structure of Premier Futsal

Much like the Indian Premier League, the Premier Futsal will feature six different franchises which will then be divided into two groups each. Here are some numbers and dates to get the facts straight

Number of teams: 06

Number of groups: 02

Total number of matches: 13

Inauguration: 15th July at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.

Final: 24th July at Goa

The tournament, which is in its first edition, has already run into troubles with the All India Football Federation, which has refused to acknowledge the tournament and has reportedly banned its domestic players from taking part in it. Undoubtedly, this complicates the plot somewhat as Futsal was introduced as a platform for young Indian footballers to hone their skills and learn from some big names of the sport.

However, the organizers have managed to rope in some legends of the game, thus putting Futsal back in the media’s attention for the right reasons. Thereby, the tournament will feature some big names like Falcao, Michel Salgado, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Hernan Crespo to name a few.

The Premier Futsal Co-Founder Nithyashree Subban is optimistic about the future of the tournament and said that it was a strategic decision to restrict the tournament to just Chennai and Goa in the first run. In the second edition, Futsal will be featured in other cities as well with more franchisees expressing interest to set up their own teams.

Breaking away from the template set by the cash-rich Indian Premier League where players are auctioned off, Futsal 2016 saw the teams being picked by international Futsal experts. This, according to the organizers, will ensure a balanced team and the right mix of domestic and international talent. However, this is only a one-time provision. For the next editions, the players will be drawn from a common pool and the owners are free to bid for the players. However, organizers have maintained that all teams will have to adhere to a fixed template of maintaining a fixed number of domestic and foreign players.

Following are the teams that will fight it out for the coveted Futsal Premier trophy. Each team has a coach and a marquee player.

  1. Chennai 5s
  2. Mumbai 5s
  3. Kolkata 5s
  4. Bengaluru 5s
  5. Goa 5s

For football fans in India, back to back football tournaments speaks of the rising interest in the game often bogged down by the inhuman fan following for cricket. So, it is time to pick a team and root for it and hope for a lively performance from the teams!

The Fall of the Three Lions: England exiting out of Euro 2016

“England out of Europe twice in one week” was one of the numerous memes doing its rounds in the social media following Brexit and England’s inglorious exit from the Euro 2016. The immediate fallout of the shocking exit has been the resignation tendered by Roy Hodgson, who assumed the mantle of the coach from Fabio Capello way back in 2012.  Serious questions are being raised as some of the finest in the English Premier League failed to make any sort of impact. It brings back to the forefront the question, ‘Is EPL really the best football tournament in the world?’ Well, that is a topic for another discussion.

1467030600_england-football

Road to Perdition

What really went wrong with England? Some say it is because the English players were not psychologically strong enough to perform at the world stage against quality teams. One cannot deny that there has been sparks of brilliance every now and then, especially from the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, but these never grew into a raging fire. When faced with abject humiliation at the hands of an inexperienced yet fired up Icelanders, the English players withered away in a way that the fans will not forget in a very long time. The uninspiring tale of England’s Euro 16 can be summed up in the submissive performance of their captain Wayne Rooney. And Hodgson looked equally clueless and helpless on the sides.

One reason most experts point out is the lack of experienced players in the English side. However, this argument doesn’t hold any water. Germany, with an even younger team is having the time of their lives in the Euro 2016. Coupled with this is the fact that most of the English players have been playing for major teams in the Premier League. So, lack of match experience or quality is not the issue here. Could it be because they really lack the mental acumen to perform at the highest levels? Could it be because neither their captain nor the coach could inspire them enough to get the best out of them? The jury is out on this and several heads will roll soon.

A sliver of hope

There are certain commentators who think that this exit could bode well for English team in the long run. With England walking out of the European Union and a new coach at the helm, the time may just be ripe to build a competitive and undiluted ‘English’ team and get them ready for the World Cup in 2018. This could result in a much deeper, highly enriched pool of talented English players by then. It remains to be seen whether this opportunity will be taken for what it is or will the nation fall into deeper despair?

A new coach is yet to be named. A lot of names are doing their rounds. Instead of speculating of who could be at the helm, maybe it would serve the English term better if they concentrate on analyzing where things went wrong and start correcting them. For now, enjoy what is left of the Euro 16!