I-LEAGUE 2016-17 TRANSFER NEWS
Colm Toal set to return back to India as Technical Director- Minerva Punjab FC
23.12.2016 : MPFC PRESS RELEASE : Former Technical Director of the All India Football Federation, Colm Joseph Toal has signed up as the Technical Director of Minerva Punjab FC.
Colm has worked with the AIFF for 7 years, played multiple roles with the National Teams of India. He has played multi-faceted roles with the AIFF as the Technical Director, Coach of the Olympic team, and the Indian U-19 & U-16 teams. He was the architect of the AIFF’s Youth Development program between the years 2007 and 2014 during which he identified and developed players like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalrindika Ralte, Milan Singh, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Narayan Das, Pronay Halder, etc.
Internationally, he has an experience of managing teams over a period of 39 years. His CV is impressive with stints as the Head Coach of the Uzbekistan U-20 National Team, Assistant Head Coach of Calcio Udinese, FC Copenhagen, Chinese National Team, FC Zurich and Al Ittihad Club.
Mr. Ranjit Bajaj, owner of Minerva Punjab FC was pleased to bring Colm Toal to the club. He said “We are extremely pleased to announce that Mr. Toal will join us as the Technical Director. Minerva Punjab FC intends to rekindle Punjab Football and contribute Punjabi Footballers to the Indian National Team. Mr. Toal’s experience and achievements in India is known to all. Most of the current top players in Indian Football have developed under him and it was no-brainer to bring him on board.”
Mr. Colm Joseph Toal was extremely delighted to take this opportunity of working with Minerva Punjab FC. He said, “I am extremely pleased that I will join a club which belongs to Chandigarh and Punjab. During my stint in India, I was always amazed to see raw talent from Punjab and footballers from this region have done a great deal of service for the Indian National Team. Players like Gurpreet, Sumeet Passi, Sandesh Jhingan are from this region and we all know how important they are for the current Indian National Team.
JCT Phagwara was the torch bearer of Punjab Football and now I see Minerva Punjab FC re-kindling professional football in Punjab. I wish to find and develop more players from Punjab through Minerva Punjab FC and hope that Minerva Punjab FC becomes an important club for Indian Football.”
With such a strong move, Minerva Punjab seems firm to bring back the glory days of Punjab football. The move will be a boon for the team which aspires to produce the best talent for India’s Mission 2022 World Cup with majority of the players from North India in the national colours.
MINERVA PUNJAB FC GETS THE NOD TO PLAY IN THE UPCOMING I-LEAGUE SEASON 2017
11.12.2016 : MPFC PRESS RELEASE : The AIFF Bid Evaluation Committee met at the AIFF HQ in New Delhi on December 11, 2016 to evaluate the five bids submitted after the retendering was initiated on November 25, 2016. The five clubs (Neroca FC, Minerva Punjab FC, Sudeva FC, FC Bardez Goa & Chennai City FC) who submitted their bids were competing for a spot in the I-league and based on the evaluation of their proposals, the Bid Evaluation Committee decided to award Chennai City FC & Minerva Punjab FC the right to field their teams in I-League season 2016-17 which is slated to commence on January 7, 2017.
Minerva Punjab FC who were the Runners-Up of I-League Second Division were surprisingly denied their I-League spot after Champions Dempo SC pulled out from the top tier. But an official statement from the AIFF finally confirmed their entry and left the Club Management, players, members and fans elated as when they gave the official nod to the blue warriors of Chandigarh.
Minerva Punjab FC look promising and ready for the task at hand, they aim to revive the glory days of Punjab Football and continue the legacy of producing talent from Punjab and Chandigarh. After JCT Football Club of Punjab which won the I-League in 1996-97, this will be the first time in the history of Chandigarh that a club will be competing in the premier division of Indian football alongside heavyweights like East Bengal, Mohan Bagan and Bengaluru FC. Minerva will be playing their home games at Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana to meet the stringent licensing criteria for I-league set by AIFF.
Football lovers of Punjab have something to rejoice as top legacy clubs of the country with rich history will play in Ludhiana. The I-League is scheduled to commence on January 7, 2017 entry of Minerva Punjab FC will be a boost for aspiring footballers of Chandigarh and Punjab, which have produced top football players who are currently playing for the National Team like Sandesh Jhingan, Sehnaj Singh and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Mr. Ranjit Bajaj, CEO & Founder had no bounds to his happiness as his passion and hardwork were finally awarded. Mr. Ranjit Bajaj has himself played in all the prestigious football tournaments of the country, including representing Chandigarh in two junior nationals, Subroto cup, Santosh Trophy and the Durand Cup. He was also part of the India U-19 squad for the Asian School Games held at Malaysia in 1998, earning seven junior international caps for the country. Begin a player himself, it has always been his aim to promote football for the betterment of players, his aim is not only to win the I-League in their very first season but also produce more players for National Team and Improve the standard of the Football in the Country.
Mr.Kushal Das, General Secretary of the AIFF was quoted saying, "With Chennai City FC & Minerva Punjab FC joining the fray now, we have ten teams competing in the next I-League. Now, we have representatives from Chennai and Punjab, which means we'll reach out to more supporters and newer markets." Mr. Sunando Dhar also sounded 'happy' with these clubs' inclusion."Yes, of course, I'm happy. New teams from two new venues will add a newer dimension."
09.12.2016: MPFC PRESS RELEASE : Chandigarh based Minerva Punjab FC formerly Minerva Academy FC who surprised everyone last season as the Runners Up of I-League 2nd Division in their debut season have raised the question about why they haven't been promoted to the Ileague after the official exit of Dempo SC who qualified for the I-league after winning the 2nd Division League. Minerva AFC could be next club falling prey to AIFF as they find themselves puzzled since they have not yet received the the green signal for their participation in the top flight of Indian Football.
The Club based in Chandigarh is probably the only club in the History of Indian Football to be based in a Union Territory with top notch facilities with an AFC Approved Stadium (Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhania) and a vast campus spread across 11 Acres housing a fully functioning Hydrotherapy & Physiotherapy Centre, Residental Quarter, Swimming Pool with multiple play grounds and a Fully professional and AIFF approved Youth Development & Grassroots Programs.
Please find the attached Letter sent to the AIFF by Minerva AFC requesting for their quick response on the matter. Minerva have raised some tough questions in their letter to the AIFF general secretary Mr. Kushal Das.
Minerva has also applied though the I-league tender issued by AIFF inviting new teams to participate in the I-league and the AIFF is all set to make its final announcement regarding the teams participating in the I-League on 11th December.
CHURCHILL BROTHERS BACK IN I LEAGUE 2016-17
08.12.2016: Churchill Brothers of Goa are back in I League. In an Emergency Committee Meeting of the All India Football Federation it was decided that the Goan team will participate in the forthcoming I League which will going to commence from the 7th of January. Earlier, Churchill Brothers appealed to the honorable court to allow them to play in the I League and agreed to fulfill the club licensing criteria in due course.
CHURCHILL PAST RECORD IN NFL/I-LEAGUE
2013-14 : 11th - 13 Teams 2012-13 : 1st - 14 Teams 2011-12 : 3rd - 14 Teams 2010-11 : 4th - 14 Teams 2009-10 : 2nd - 14 Teams 2008-09 : 1st - 12 Teams 2007-08 : 2nd - 10 Teams 2006-07 : 4th - 10 Teams 2004-05 : 9th - 12 Teams 2003-04 : 4th - 12 Teams 2002-03 : 5th - 12 Teams 2001-02 : 2nd - 12 Teams 2000-01 : 3rd - 12 Teams 1999-00 : 2nd - 12 Teams 1998-99 : 3rd - 06 Teams (Final Round) 1997-98 : 9th - 10 Teams 1996-97 : 2nd - 08 Teams (Final Round)
The members of the committee discussed the directives of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court dated November 28, 2016, in details. It was observed by the committee that the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has directed AIFF to take into account the track records and history of Churchill Brothers, while considering their representation and reinstates them in the competition.
When the two I League playing clubs of Goa, Dempo Sports Club and Sporting Clube decided not to participate in the forthcoming I League, the return of Churchill Brothers will definitely add a flavor in Indian football.
02.12.2016: MPFC PRESS RELEASE : North Indian powerhouse Minerva Academy FC officially announced the rename of its team to Minerva Punjab FC with a clear ambition of getting Punjab and its capital Chandigarh back on the Indian football map.
The debutants from Chandigarh displayed a jaw dropping perfomance last season when they topped the Western Conference of the I-League 2nd Division in its debut season defeating the likes of 5 time I-League Champions Dempo SC and Runners Up of 2015 Edition of the I-League 2nd Division- Lonestar Kashmir FC in the process. They further raised eyebrows when they defeated Kolkata Giants Mohammedan Sporting in their own den and became the only team to have defeated all the teams it played in the 2nd Division 2015-16 season.
They narrowly missed out on their I-League berth losing to former I-League Champions & Goan heavyweights Dempo SC on the final day played in Goa. The U-15 too followed the footsteps of its seniors and went beyond all expectations as they were crowned the Champions of the AIFF U-15 Youth League OR Nike Premier Cup 2016 in their debut year with an undefeated record throughout the tournament.
With an eye for Youth Development Minerva is probably the only club in the country to accommodate over a 100+ players in its vast lush Green 10 Acre Residental campus set up with a fully functional Hydrotherapy & Physiotherapy Centre, Gym, Swimming Pool and 3 Full size football grounds for training located in Mohali. With an existent professional set-up the Club organizes regular Summer & Winter Camps thru which players are selected and Inducted into the set-up as per their respective age-groups.
The commitment of the management and their investment reflects thru their players performance as a total of 6 youngsters were called up for national team duty of which 4 were called up for U-17 World Cup team preprations and other 2 for the U-15 National team in the very first year of the existence of the Club in the National Circuit.
The renaming of the club will probably attract more sports enthusiasts to cheer for the sole team participating from the state at the top level bringing back the glory days of Punjab football, after the exit of JCT from the top league in the 90s, Minerva Punjab FC now look on to continue the legacy. On inquiring about their chances to be to get a direct promotion into the I-League the CEO & Founder Mr. Ranjit Bajaj seemed confident and felt they deserve every bit of it, he later added that “We had fulfilled all the criteria of the AIFF except the 100 Crore Bank Guarantee”.
He still holds their Final match defeat to Dempo SC fresh in his mind as he said “If we had won the last match against Dempo SC we could have qualified automatically, now If Dempo go out even then we will qualify as Runners Up of the 2nd Division League. With the AIFF relaxing the rules for Aizwal FC and cancelling their relegation, putting Minerva in would’nt be a great Idea to make the I-league truly pan-Indian."
CHURCHILL BROTHERS LIKELY TO BE BACK IN I LEAGUE
26.11.2016 : The top tier football tournament of India, I league will going to kick off on and from the second week of January. The football clubs are busy in organizing their teams though Sporting Clube and Dempo Sports Club of Goa will not going to participate in the I League following some controversies.
Meanwhile , two time champions of I league, Churchill Brothers of Goa may be one of the new club to be included in the forth coming I league. Churchill Bothers were forced to quit in 2014 as they failed to fulfill the AFC's Club licensing criteria. Churchill Brothers appealed to the court following the decision of AIFF. But, recently after a fruit full discussion between AIFF and Alemao Churchill, the Goan club are now waiting for the permission of Court for their return in the forthcoming I League.
The Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are in final phase of signing their footballers. The Indian international Jeje Lalpeklua are in the eyes of both the teams.It is likely that the striker from Mizoram will opt to sign for Mohun Bagan as he is in a regular contract with some of the top ranking officials. In the meanwhile East Bengal are in discussion with Balwant Singh who was irregular in the last season following an injury. After the inclusion of the Haitain star Wedson, East Bengal confirms the joining of Robin Singh who is currently in thesquad of FC Goa.
The Haitian international Sony Nordi are in the eyes of Bangaluru FC though his agent are in continuous touch with the Mohun bagan officials.Sources said that the Red and Gold officials are also in touch with the Haitian star. East Bengal are in search of a central defender after Calam Angus was released . The central defender of Delhi Dynamos and Pune FC, Anas Edathodika are in the radar of Red and Gold officials. Sources said that Anas demanded an exorbitant payment which is much more than the budget of the club.
SPORTING CLUBE QUITS FROM I LEAGUE FINALLY
22.11.2016: Sporting Clube De Goa,decides to quit from I league following the new proposed road map of All India Football Federation and their marketing partner IMG Reliance. In a Press Release today, the Goan Club Sporting Clube confirms their withdrawal from I League.
PRESS RELEASE OF SPORTING CLUBE : Following strong objections to the Road Map for Indian Football as proposed by AIFF and their marketing partners on 17th May, 2016, Sporting Clube de Goa along with fellow goan Club Salgoacar F.C, after several rounds of deliberations, had taken the painful decision to withdraw from the forthcoming edition of the I League.
After our decision to pull out was announced on 23rd June, 2016 AIFF swung into damage control mode and General Secretary Kushal Das, I League CEO Sunando Dhar along with Chirag Tanna representing IMG-Reliance had dashed down to Goa and met the representatives of Goan clubs which also included Dempo S.C.
At this meeting AIFF General Secretary assured to call a meeting of all I League clubs, consult the AIFF President and Executive Committee and also their marketing partners IMG Reliance and revert back with a final binding proposal on or before 31st July, 2016.
After the above meeting, nothing was heard in matter from AIFF till an Executive Committee of AIFF decided, on 28th July, 2016, to form a Small Working Committee to speak to all stake holders and then decide on restructuring of Club Football in India. As to which stakeholders this committee spoke to we are not aware.
Our Club and another I League club Mumbai F.C took the bold step to write to FIFA and AFC expressing their concerns with regards to the state and direction of football in India. This prompted AFC to form a Task Force to assist AIFF in preparation of a road map for India Football. FIFA President Giovanni Infantino and AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa along with Secretary Dato John Windsor descended on Goa at the end of September to attend the Extra Ordinary Congress of AFC, and made all the right noises.
The Task Force consisting of high ranking officials of AFC, AIFF and IMG-Reliance also had its first meeting in Goa on 27th September, 2016. We are in the dark as to what transpired at this meeting, as sadly there was no representative of any I League club there, which fact itself tells its own story.
In the meantime AIFF President Praful Patel kept on tomtoming that the Road Map for the future of Indian Football is only a work in progress and that I League is the main league of the country. All this time we at Sporting Clube clung to the hope that following the statements coming from the Presidents of FIFA, AFC and our own AIFF, and following our representation to FIFA and AFC, a fresh Road Map which did not envisage the forced demotion of the I League teams, would be announced well in time to allow us to field our team in the forthcoming I League. With that hope, we even participated in the Club Licencing process and secured our National Licence.
But we now realize that all our hopes have been belied. At the book launch function of Saji Prabhakaranï¿½s book ï¿½Back to the Rootsï¿½ recently in Delhi AIFF President Praful Patel made the following statement ï¿½We (the AIFF) have set the cat among the pigeonsï¿½. One knows very well what happens when the cat is set amongst the pigeons. This statement is a pointer to the thought process of AIFF as to the future course of India Football and leaves us with no other option but confirm our withdrawal from the I League.
However please note importantly, that this is only a tactical decision to stay out of the I League, till AIFF gets it Road Map right and Sporting Clube will continue with all other football activities like Grassroots and Youth Football development and also maintain a strong first team to compete in Goa as well as in All India Football Tournaments.
24.06.2016: It is indeed a shocking news for Indian football. The two Goan clubs Salgaocar SC and Sporting Clube decided to withdrawn their senior football team from I League. This was declared in a PRESS RELEASE written by the General Secretary of Salgaocar Football Club Mr. ADLEAR D’CRUZ today.
Salgoacar SC one of the oldest football club of the country contributed a lot for the development of Indian football.In his massage Adlear D'Cruz wrote "Over the last few weeks Salgaocar Sports Club and Sporting Clube have had a several round of discussions and have deliberated the impact that the May 17 proposal at the meeting between AIFF and I League playing Clubs and ISL franchisees will have the state of the sport.It is clear that the proposal is highly discriminatory,going against the sporting merit,is unworkable for the I League clubs and hampers Goa, which is the best represented state in the I League."
In his massage the General Secretary of Salgaocar SC utterly criticized the presentation of AIFF where they are in a mood to promote ISL as the prime football tournament of the country.AIFF officials in their address mention that the champion of ISL will participate in the AFC tournaments and I League will be a second tier tournament of the country.The I league playing clubs will have to pay an amount of franchisee frees if they are allowed to participate in the ISL. Aldear added ,"The lack of response from AIFF is telling and makes it clear that the fate of world's most popular game in India would be decide unilateral.
The I league was inaugurated in Kolkata in the year 1996 by the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh with a specific dream to devolope and popularize football in India. But the role of All India Football Association is really questionable now. If the popular and contributory clubs of India shuts down or withdrawn from the top tier competitions what will be the role of AIFF to restrict these closures.
D'Cruz added that Salgaocar SC and Sporting Clube will going to continue the youth development and will dedicate for the development of football.
21.06.2016: Sporting Clube could be the another football club who may withdraw their senior football team from the main stream of Indian football. According to a reliable source the Goan football club will not going to participate in I League in the upcoming season. Though the news is yet to be announced officially. If Sporting Goa quits from I League, it will be a real tragic for Indian football.
Recently, The All India Football Federation in a meeting with the I League playing clubs and ISL franchisee proposed for a three tier football system in India.AIFF focused ISL as the prime tournament in the country and introduction of Super Cup where the top teams from the lower divisions will play off against the lower-ranked ISL teams.
Sporting Goa showed their dissatisfaction and protest regarding the new proposed system in the meeting. The club Cidade de Goa (City of Goa) was purchased by Sporting's current owners and renamed Sporting Clube de Goa in 1999..Sporting entered the finals of 2005 Federation Cup, and emerged as the runner-up. In the following season, the club reached the finals once again, but lost in penalty shoot-out to Mohun Bagan. After getting relegated from the I-League in 2010 Sporting Goa participated in the 2011 I-League 2nd Division and won promotion by finishing in 2nd place.