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I-LEAGUe 2013/14: AIFF invites fresh tender notice for new I-League Clubs

21.05.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

AIFF PRESS RELEASE : Adhering to requests from new bidders, All India Football Federation on Tuesday (May 21) has invited a fresh tender notice inviting ‘Bids for new Clubs to be a part of the I-League. The winning bidders will be granted the right to own and operate a new club which will ‘compete in I-League in each year from 2013 onwards and have the opportunity (if applicable and subject to qualification) to compete in the AFC Club Competitions.

The invitation to the fresh tender will be available on Working Days between 10am and 5pm at AIFF Headquarters, Football House. All bidding parties need to fulfill the eligibility criteria (Club Licensing) and other requirements specified.

The last date for submission is Monday, May 27, 2013 by 12noon.

Bidders who have submitted their bids as part of earlier bidding process have an option of either collecting their existing bid and submit a fresh bid or to submit a consent letter for considering their existing bids. In either case, they are not required to purchase the fresh RFP Document.

The bids would then be evaluated by a Technical Evaluation Committee which meets on April 27. The results would be announced within a week from the day.

AFC Women's Asian Cup (Qualifiers) : India gear up to face Myanmar

20.05.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

AIFF PRESS RELEASE : 'The real test begins now,' stays the common phrase on everyone's lips ahead of India's first-match in the AFC Women's Asian Cup (Qualifiers) against Myanmar. On the surface, there's a difference of five places - Myanmar stay on 46 on the FIFA Rankings while India are 51. Will it prove decisive?

'The real test begins now," stays the common phrase again. After a brief pause, Coach Anadi Barua maintains: "This match will decide our fate. We need a good start. The first match always sets the tone."bHe adds: "We start from scratch on Tuesday evening. No pressure and no permutation and combinations. This is to me the most important game. We need to approach it as if it's the decider."

In a way, it is also a decider between the two Nations. Not long ago, the Indian Men's Senior Team were knocked out of the AFC Challenge Cup by Myanmar while back home, I-League club East Bengal returned the favour by drubbing Myanmar club Yangon United 5-1 to qualify for the AFC Cup quarterfinals few days ago.

India come into the Tournament winning a double header against Bahrain in Manama. The two victories in the International Friendlies have boosted the confidence of the team for sure. Add to that, India have been in good form of late winning the SAFF Championships for the second consecutive time last year and then getting the better of a Combined Dutch Team in one of the Exhibition Matches played in January this year in Navi Mumbai.

"I would not like to read too much into the Friendlies but the victories, especially the second one, was a morale-boosting one. It also gave me a chance to asses my team's strengths and weaknesses. The one-month Camp is Pune helped too. You need to have the entire bunch together for a long period before such an important tournament," Barua opined.

"We have very little idea about India. All I can say is the first match is always very important. We have been training hard and are confident of pulling off a good show come the morrow," Barua's counterpart Yoshinori Kumada added.

India's best performance in the AFC Cup Final Round was back in 1997 when they finished fifth. The 51st Ranked side last played in the Finals back in 2003. The Qualifiers came into existence from 2006. Prior to that, teams were directly seeded in the Finals.

On both the occasions, former Captain Oinam Bembem Devi was part of the team. "We have a good team. We have been together for some time now and the chemistry between players is excellent. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. The wins against Bahrain helped too. Now starts the real challenge. No team will come easy and we have to be at our best every time," Bembem said.

Out of the 16 teams vying for a place in the Finals, only four will make the cut to Japan next year from the Qualifiers. The other four seeded outfits are defending champions Australia, World Champions and hosts Japan, South Korea and China.

India's last three International matches:

September 16, 2012: SAFF Championships Final, Colombo: V Nepal, won 3-1.
May 14, 2013: International Friendly, Bahrain: v Bahrain. India won 2-1.
May 16, 2013: International Friendly, Bahrain: v Bahrain. India won 2-0.

Myanmar's last three International Matches:

September 17, 2012: v Vietnam. Myanmar lost 1-2.
September 20, 2012: v Thailand. Myanmar won 1-0.
September 22, 2012: v Vietnam. Myanmar lost 3-4 in penalties.

AIFF is doing a lot for Women's football: Bembem Devi - Indian Women Footballer

20.05.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

AIFF PRESS RELEASE : Two of the present India Senior Women's National Team members were not even born when Oinam Bembem Devi made her India debut back in 1995.

But now, goalkeeper Tikina Samal and midfielder Dangmei Grace now share the same dressing room with the iconic footballer from Manipur. In a freewheeling interview with www.the-aiff.com, the former India Captain spoke on women's football, the secret of the success of the sport in Manipur, AIFF's initiatives, her meeting with FIFA Consultant for Women’s football Monika Staab and much more. EXCERPTS:

Women's Football in India is synonymous to Oinam Bembem Devi.

(Bembem Devi smiles). I feel blessed and honoured (and smiles again). Football is what I live with. I stay in a place where the football culture is infectious. I eat, sleep and drink the sport. It seems just yesterday when I made my debut for India in the AFC Cup main round in Malaysia. Time flies, and how.

What goes through your mind when you look back at the eighteen years you have played for India?

It has been a dream come true to represent my country. I was playing football since 1991 for my State U-13 team when I played the sub-junior tournament for Manipur for the first time. In 1995, my dream came true when I donned the National jersey in the AFC Cup. The rest, as they say, is history.

I have Captained India in the 2003 AFC Cup and in the South Asian Games in 2010, Bangladesh and even the SAFF Championships in 2012. We won both SAG and SAFF Championships. It was a very proud moment for me.

What's the secret behind Manipur's domination in producing quality Women Footballers?

The Grassroots Programme for Women is very strong in Manipur. A lot of emphasis is given on U-13 and U-14 Teams. In every district there is a Grassroot Programme in place and girls play from a very tender age.

We also have a proper League in Manipur where five teams play in the Senior Division. I play for Manipur Police Club since 1998. Girls get to play almost throughout the year. Thus we have more footballers from the North East in the National Team.

Orissa also has quite a few players in the National Team. Is it because of the same reason?

Definitely! Over the past few years, Women's football in Orissa has improved a lot. There is a Girl's Hostel where the girls stay together for most part of the year and play football. This helps immensely, being in the groove is very important.

You're the only member in the current Indian Team who played in the AFC Cup main round back in 2003.

Yes! I have been part of many AFC Cup campaigns - right from 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005. The AFC Cup Qualifiers started after that, from 2006. We have a good team this time. Chinese Taipei will be tough but we are playing a good brand of football and I hope do well. Only one team qualifiers to the main round next year in Japan, so we have to be on our toes always. The match against Myanmar is very important.

India finished fifth in the 1997 AFC Cup in China. How do you look back at it?

We had attended a one-month Camp in Germany where we played matches against the German clubs and were trained under German coaches. The exposure trip did wonders. We came back and beat Guam 10-0. One more goal and we would have been through to the semifinals. We lost to Japan by only one goal. Think of it, Japan the current World Champions. They were always very strong.

I think the AIFF is organising exposure tours now and it's very helpful. We played the Combined Dutch Team and then Bahrain in Bahrain before such an important tournament. The Camps help a great deal too. We are getting better facilities too. AIFF is doing a lot for women's football now. It’s very heartening and encouraging.

You met FIFA Consultant Monika Staab on her visit to India. How did the meeting pan out?

I told her to build an Academy for Women Footballers - it will do a World of good. She promised me that she will take up the matter. She is very enthusiastic about Indian women's football and believes strongly in our potential.

Almost all the girls in the team and outside idolise you. What message do you have for them? If you love the game of football, go for it. Don't be negative. I always tell the younger lot in the Team - 'If you face any problem come to me.' I try to guide them on and off the field. They respect me a lot and that makes me more responsible.