Group A

Team	M	W	D	L	F - A    +/-	P
Myanmar	3	2	1	0	7 - 1	+6	7
India	3	2	0	1	6 - 2	+4	6
Taiwan	2	0	1	1	2 - 3	-1	1
Guam	2	0	0	2	0 - 9	-9	0


02.03.2013 : Myanmar 5-0 Guam
02.03.2013 : India 2-1 Taiwan
IND: (Jewel Raja 40', Robin Singh 88')
TPI :(Lee Tai Lin 52')

04.03.2013 : Taiwan 1-1 Myanmar
04.03.2013 : Guam 0-4 India
IND : Sunil 49', 90+1', Miranda 68', Jewel Raja 80'.

06.03.2013 : Myanmar vs India
06.03.2013 : Taiwan vs Guam


Do or Die match for India tomorrow against Myanmar: A win or a draw will see India through.

05.03.2013: AIFF RELEASE : Koevermans watched Myanmar after both of India's matches at the Yangon Training Centre. The boys watched them on a local television channel in their rooms. 'They are a very tough team,' together they agree. "At the back of the mind, you may be forced to think about a draw which will see us through. But we won't play for a draw," Koevermans utters to his boys.

For the record, India stay at the top of the Group with 6 points from two matches while Myanmar, placed second are on 4 points from 2 matches. The top team from the Group qualifies for the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 which is to be held in Maldives.

"In such a match, there's no place for any errors on the field. We need to keep possession and not give it away easily. In the last two matches, we have been casual at times to gift away the ball to our rivals. Against Myanmar, we can't do that," Mehtab Hossain who has been omnipresent on the green in the last two matches, echoes.

There are others too who are sitting in his room - Captain Sunil Chhetri, Syed Rahim Nabi, Shouvik Ghosh and Alwyn George. "Let's not forget they will have support from the stands and from what we saw, it's a noisy crowd. Teams when backed by passionate fans can be very dangerous. That stays a big challenge for us," Chhetri echoes.

"It's an ultimate test for our temperament. In such a match, we need to give our 200 percent. And we will," Mehtab joins the conversation again. "It's understandable, they will go all out, they have little option." Nabi adds: "Myanmar have their back to the wall. Such teams are very dangerous. They have nothing to lose at the moment. As Coach has said, we won't play for a draw. We just can't."

"We need to begin from where we finished the Guam match," goalkeeper Subrata Pal mentions. "The match reminds me of our last Group League match in the AFC Challenge Cup against Turkmenistan in 2008 in Hyderabad. A draw could have seen us through but we won the match and then went on to beat Myanmar in the semis," he recollects. "We need to qualify at any cost."

"This match will define the next four years for us. If we don't go through, the doors of the Asian Cup 2015 will be closed for us. We will then have to wait for the next edition which will be held in 2019," Nabi pronounces. Chhetri walks up to put his hand on Nabi's shoulder. "Sunil, we cannot let this chance go," Nabi goes on. Chhetri taps his shoulder again. Mehtab was checking the studs of his boots by then.

"We've watched Myanmar and will stick to our Coach's instructions. We have toiled hard to reach to this stage. The next 90 minutes will be defining," Arata Izumi maintains. "More than proving to others, it's more of a match to prove to yourself that you can," Mehtab opines. "They will be under immense pressure. We have to capitalise on that," Nabi complements him.

Despite playing two matches in three days, there's a buzz in everyone's steps. Even as the Medical Staff carry out the regular recovery sessions, everyone talks about the mission ahead; and they know, it's not impossible. We turn to the 'baby' of the team - Gurjinder Kumar.

Gurjinder has shown composure in his first two International matches and he too knows the importance of the match. "We had a meeting among the defenders. Paul's running commentary guides me on the field a lot as does Gouramangi's instructions," he informs. "I'm more mature as a player and feel so much confident after being picked for the National Team."

Clifford Miranda joins in. When reminded of his two goals in last three International matches, he smiles. "We have to believe in ourselves and play to our potential. There's no reason why we can't. After all, we have come here with that sole aim," he declares. There's appreciation from everyone. The squad has been staying away from their families for almost a month.

And though a Preparatory Camp followed by a Tournament may seem a glamorous one, reality bites. In a diversified country as India where every player, perhaps has a different eating habit, the food in Myanmar, though off good quality, hasn't suited taste buds of many. But they have never complained. It's all for the mission, a mission which they know isn't impossible. But to overcome it, you need to be together.


AFC CHALLENGE CUP QUALIFIER : India ready for Chinese Taipei challenge.

01.03.2013 : AIFF MEDIA....KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

Come over boys," Wim Koevermans, gestures with his hand. And then it's a sprint to get to him.

"I'm happy with the intensity. Only be careful, don't ever switch-off, even in practice. Even if you switch-off for three seconds, you're gone," he says in one breath. Some have hands on their hips, some have them folded back; most wipe off the sweat, but all listen.

"OK. Now's let get back," Koevermans utters. Again, you just cannot miss the sprint. And then, it begins. Lenny Rodrigues to Francis Fernandes, back to Lenny, forward to Alwyn George, an one-two with Jeje Lalpekhlua, back to Jeje, a floater to Alwyn and he volleys it in. Everyone claps, Koevermans whistles.

The clean and green of Yangon will strike you at every step. Once a part of undivided India, some of the Houses built during the British regime will remind you of good old Kolkata. But more than Kolkata, it's the Dooars which hit you at every step, specially the Houses. Gouramangi Singh says: "It's more like Manipur." Syed Rahim Nabi admits: "We will never have this back in Kolkata. Everyone is following the traffic rules. I haven't heard anyone honk as yet."

Rules? Well, they are always meant to be broken. 'There can't be any fixed pattern of play,' Koevermans stays consistent. 'You need to adjust according to the situation.' The videos keep the boys interested even as Koevermans' hands, nimble, shuffle the magnets on the tactical board.

You take a walk round the Official Team Hotel. Mehtab Hossain maintains: "The AFC Challenge Cup is the most important tournament for us." Cliffird Miranda agrees: "Very often, the first match of the Tournament sets the pace. We need to go all guns blazing against Chinese Taipei." Subrata Pal complements both. "We need to have confidence in ourselves. Nothing else matters. We are capable of doing it."

Captain Sunil Chhetri nods. "A team will always have mixed luck. We won the Nehru Cup as we played to our potential. Then, we were a bit rusty in the International Friendlies. But our quality stays. Had we not had them, we wouldn't have won the Nehru Cup, that too beating Cameroon in the Final," he pronounces. "We will do it," Denzil Franco echoes. Lenny, who with eyes wide open was switching his eyes from one to the other, was juggling with the ball by then. CK Vineet didn't speak. He just listened.

You turn to Koevermans. "Have a drink, boys." This time, the boys don't sprint; rather they walk fast. You go nearby and overhear Clifford Miranda and CK Vineet animated; discussing the timing of the release and the run. Nabi walks up to Jeje and puts his hand around him. "Your turn at that time was excellent."

Koevermans explains to his defenders, the set-pieces follow.

At the breakfast table, Lalkamal and Nabi, use the salt and pepper sprinkler to discuss a dummy run. Arata joins in and gets drawn into it. You watch from a distance. Till the other day, he had a Japanese passport but here he is, for India's cause, the country which he "wanted to represent."

It's one big family after all.

With match-day approaching the buzz increases. Sanjay Dhyani, the Kit Manager stays busy arranging the Match kit, the Manager Sriniwas Murthy busy with the Manager's meeting, Gigi George, the Team Physio and Dr. Manabendra Bhattacharya, the Team Doctor enquire about niggles. But there aren't any. In midst of everything, there's a queue in Masseur Liaqat Ali's room, boys lining up to get rejuvenated. The Manager runs again to check about the ice-bath.

Koevermans, till then, just can't take his eyes off the videos. When he does, he scribbles something on his notebook. He has his final XI written in it.

The kick-off at the Yangon Training Centre is at 4pm (IST: 3pm) on Saturday (March 2).


06.03.2013: INDIA   0-1   MYANMAR (YANGOON - FT...)
MYN : See Min loo 75'

IND: Subrata, Denzil, Gouramangi, Raju, Gurjinder, Francis(Nabi), Lenny (Arata), Mehtab, Clifford, Jewel (Robin), Sunil


FT : NoHH. Match end. India went down 0-1 to Myanmar.
90+3': Long Free kick of Nabi went to Myanmar box but cleared. Any Chance to Indian Equalize?.
90': 4 minute added time.
90': Last chance of India dismissed by Myanmar keeper. He saved well a cross of Nabi from right flank.
89': Long cross of Gourmangi went to Clifford but bad rceived, ball cleared.
87': Free Kick finally went out.
86': Free kick in left for Myanmar for a foul of Denzil. Time killing streategy by Myanmar. Injured?
84': Shots on target : India 5 Myanmar 10.
79': PLAYER CHANGE : INDIA: Nabi in Francis out.
82': Indian is attacking through Sunil but Myanmar defecne cleared well.
81': Attack of India from a throw in of Raju, Arata go t it but finally cleared from MNM box.
80': Still Indian is trailing 0-1 to Myanmar.
79': PLAYER CHANGE: Myanmar :
79': PLAYER CHANGE : INDIA: Robin in Jewel out.
77': Myanmmar is leading 1-0.
75': See Min loo scored from a measured left sided cross and his 6 yards push beat Subrata.
75': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLL Myanmar scored goal.
72': PLAYER CHANGE:INDIA : Arata in and Lenny out.
70': Still the score line is 0-0.
69': Nice free kick of Jr. 7 went just and inch from cross bar.
67': Danger for India Gourmangi fouled and shown Yellow card. Free kick from top of the box to Myanmar..
A win or a draw will see India through or A loss for India will see Myanmar pip them as Group toppers.
65': Long ranger from out site box of Myanmar went out side the box.
63': Indian attack from right flank, Denzil's cross but Miranda missed.
62': Yellow card to Denzil for danger play.
58': Nice show of Myanmar, Right sided cross and a nice but aimless back volley went wide over Subrata's head.
56': Myanmar attackd from left but left footer cross went to Subrata's hand.
India beat Myanmar 3-1 in 1968 Merdeka Cup where Sadatullah, Sayed Naimuddin and Inder Singh scored goal for India.
54': Slow pace in the match now.
50': Right sided attack of MNM but good side tackle clearence of Gurjinder.
47': Raja's movement from right but ball went out from side line spot.
46': 2nd half match is going to start. Red Jersey Myanmar vs Blue Jersey India.
HT : It's half time now. Still 0-0.
In 1974 Asian Youth Footall India beat Myanmar 1-0 scored by Shabbir Ali.
43': India win 5th corner but no impact. Clifford to Sunil but cleared.
41': In 1976 Merdeka Cup India drew with Myanmar 2-2.
40': 4th corner of India. Mo impact.
37': India got another corner in left but cleared.
35': Mo score.0-0.
In October 31, 1953 India beat Myanmar 4-0 in Quadrangular Tournament in Rangoon where late Sahoo Mewalal scored hattrick and Venkatesh scored the other.
31': Myanmar got corner from right. ball cleared.
30': No score. Still 0-0.
25': India got a Free kick but Myanmar saved.
TOTAL H2H so far is 21 where India won 10, Myanmar won 7 and 4 matches drew, India scored 36 while Myanmar scored 42 against India.
In AFC Challenge Cup 2008 on 7th August, India beat Myanmar 1-0. Chettri scored goal 82 minute.
16': Miranda's long ranger from out side box went wide.
15': Still scoreline is 0-0.
10' 0-0 is the score line.
8': 2nd Corner for India. Cleared.
4': Both team won 1 corner kick each. No impact.
1': Match starts.


The crowd was deafening. There were drums, there were bugles. But more than anything else, it was the passion for cheering for your own country. The vocal chords surpassed everything else, though at times, you may have missed your cotton buds. The decibel levels were too high, but none minded. It was all for football.

Add to that the cool breeze under the lights at a temperature of around 30 degrees, it was perhaps, the best atmosphere to play the game. Backed on, hosts Myanmar scraped past India by a solitary goal in the last Group League match of Group A of the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 at the Yangon Training Centre. Substitute Soe Min Oo made the difference between the two teams in the 75th minute.

Courtesy the victory, Myanmar topped Group A with seven points and qualified for the final phase of the Tournament to be played in Maldives in 2014. India finished second on six points. "We have ourselves to blame. We just couldn't keep the ball and gave it away too often. It was a must-win match for Myanmar," National Coach Wim Koevermans said after the match.

"But at the same time, we had three positive chances in the first-half and one in the second-half which hit the post. Against a team as Myanmar, you need to capitalise on them. If not, you will be punished. I congratulate Myanmar for the performance," he added. Myanmar were also alert to have made a goalline save in the dying minutes.

You can never counter what Koevermans said. India did start on a positive note. In the first half, they played the tactical game preferring to wait at times and trying to exploit the gaps in the Myanmar midfield. There was a penchant for stretching it to the flanks and the ploy worked. If you simply go by the number of chances created in the first half, the Indians had "three positive ones" each of them which could have yielded a goal.

The first one came in the 16th minute when Clifford Miranda's powerful blaster from inside the box thundered against the boards instead of the next. The next one came in the 43rd minute - Clifford, well placed inside the box to take a cracker, tried to find Sunil Chhetri allowing the Myanmar defence to recover.

In the very next minute, Mehtab Hossain's through set up Jewel Raja Shaikh on the right. Jewel entered the box with Sunil preferring to do the dummy. Much to the relief of the crowd, Jewel preferred to find Sunil rather than going himself and both the teams went into the resumption goalless.

These apart, there were series of corners earned in the first half along with a number of throw-ins around the Myanmar box, all of which were floated in by Raju Gaikwad. The closest India came was in the 35th minute when his throw venomously dipped and beat all even as Sunil Chhetri tried to flick it in. Myanmar were quick in their counter-attacks. Gurjinder Kumar was yellow carded for tripping Kyi Lin from behind in the 17th minute. Lin was initiating a counter attack and had with a deft turn, got past Gurjinder.

Post resumption, Myanmar were off the blocks faster. The first positive chance came in the 51st minute but Subrata Paul, till then, not tested in the match kept at bay a Kyi Lin low shot. The nippy Lin interchanged all throughout and in the very next minute almost laid the platform for Myanmar to take the lead but Kaw Zayar Win failed to tap in Lin's through from close. They were tense moments in the Indian camp and obviously, the decibel levels rose.

The Indians tried to regroup. Intercepting a counter-attack, Chhetri laid it for Jewel in the box but the latter instead tried to find Chhetri instead of pulling the trigger. In between, Denzil Franco was yellow-carded for pushing David Htan on the far right and then, Gouramangi Singh was yellow carded for tripping substitute Soe Min Oo just outside the box. But Myanmar failed to capitalise.

Instead, Jewel almost put India in the lead. He latched on to the second ball off a Raju throw but his prompt right-footer hit the post and bounced back. The goal came in the 75th minute. Myanmar, pressing hard, managed to float it in the box from the left and Soe Min scored from a melee.

In the 80th minute, Arata followed a Raju throw-in and tapped in from close but only for defender Zaw Min to make a goalline save. Myanmar managed to hold on till the end. There was pin drop silence in the team bus on way back to the Team Hotel. But as Koevermans summed it up: "We have ourselves to blame."



02.03.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

(AFC CHL ) :: 02.03.2013: CHINEASE TAIPEI   1-2   INDIA (Yangon - FT..)
IND: (Jewel 40', Robin Singh 88')
TPI :(Lee Tai Lin 52')
IND : Subrata, Nirmal, Gouramangi, Raju, Gurjinder, Francis (Nabi), Lenny, Mehtab, Clifford, Jewel(Robin), Sunil... India got 10 corners
CHT : Lu Kun Chi, Shan-Fu, Yi Wei, Cheng Yi, Meng Chian, Hung Hsu, Hsing, Yuan, Lee Tai Lin, Kai Chun, He Ming Chan

MATCH REPORT - AIFF RELEASE.. The day started even before it had begun. The buzz had been building since the last three days and the evening prior after the 'high intensity' practice session, the boys were already in the groove. Football stayed the talk - the AFC Challenge Cup had to 'start on a positive note.'

On the field the pain of the Palestine match and the triumph of the Nehru Cup drove them - learn from the mistakes, get inspired from the positives.

India began their campaign in style as they beat Chinese Taipei 2-1 in their first match of the AFC Challenge Cup 2013 (Qualifiers) at the Yangon Training Centre on Saturday (March 2). Jewel Raja Shaikh put India in the lead in the 40th minute while substitute Robin Singh headed in the winner in the 91st minute. In between, Lee Tai Lin has equalised for Chinese Taipei in the 54th minute.

After a series of raids at the rival citadel, India finally surged ahead in the 40th minute. Jewel who was playing with one-twos with Chhetri with much aplomb slipped past the two rival Central defenders, trapped Chhetri's through with poise and sent it past the rival goalkeeper Lun Kun Chi.

The last 15 minutes prior to the goal, it was all about India. In the 25th minute, Gouramangi Singh followed Clifford Miranda's corner but his header deflected for a corner. The resultant two corners went abegging and then in the 38th minute, Mehtab Hossain's long-ranger was fisted out.

The phase earned India five corners and debutant Gurjinder Kumar came agonisingly close to heading one in but the Almighty found it best to conspire against him - the ball hitting his top of the head and going the other way.

It wasn't about the corners alone. India played to a plan and from the stands it seemed it was tactic-board football on the lush green. The synchronisation was just about perfect with everyone having two options as supports, be it wherever in the field. They were willing to roam around, slow it down, build it from the back and look for the runs and one-twos. Possession once gained was not to be lost. Taipei chased.

Earlier, India began on a cautious note. Not willing to let open much, they were content to play the waiting game. And then slowly, they took control. The midfield played among themselves allowing Chhetri and Jewel to time their runs. Francis Fernandes and Nirmal Chhetri did break free a couple of occasions down the right but the rival defence recovered in time.

This apart, India had two more chances - Raju Gaikwad's throw in the 20th minute dipped alarmingly to beat all in the rival box but the flurry of legs didn't allow any Blue to tap it in and then Mehtab Hossain was set up by Sunil Chhetri inside the rival box but the Taipei goalkeeper Lu Kun Chi anticipated it in time.

Taipei defended and depended on counters and much against the run of play had almost scored in the 11th minute but an alert Subrata Paul was acrobatic enough to tap over a Chen Yi Wei freekick from outside the box. But the complexion changed almost immediately after resumption. Chinese Taipei equalised in the 54th minute - Lee Tai Lin heading in Su De Cai's corner. The goal pushed the Indians on the backfoot and all of a sudden, Taipei, for a brief period, had a bit more of the possession.

But not for long! The Indians regrouped fast. AIFF Player-of-the-Year Syed Rahim Nabi replaced Francis Fernandes in the 68th minute and the Indians seemed to be playing all over by then. But with the entire Taipei team having fallen back by then, breaking through seemed difficult. Wim Koevermans brought on Robin Singh in place of Jewel in the 82nd minute and with India attacking down the middle and the two flanks, the goal seemed inevitable.

The wait ended in the first minute of the extra time when Robin leaped high to head in Nabi's centre from the right. India won 2-1, a "deserving win," as Koevermans said at the post-match PC. The fighting spirit of the boys and the manner they pressed till the dead end deserve praise."It's a big day for us. We need to win," Chhetri had uttered the moment he had stepped out for the breakfast. And they did! India next play Guam on March 4.





Match - 17
Win - 7
Draw - 3
Lost - 7
GF - 19
GA - 22

TOURNAMENT 2006 : WINNER - Tajikisthan.

01.04.2006 : India   2-0   Afghanistan
IND : Vimal 35', 60'

03.04.2006 : India  1-1   Philippines
PHL : Valeroso 19'
IND: Vimal 8'

05.04.2006 : India  0-0   Chinese Teipei

QF: 09.04.2006 : India  0-3   Nepal
NEP : Pradeep 16', 26', Basanta 28'


30.07.2008: India  1-0   Afghanistan
IND : Climax Lawrence 90+2'

01.08.2008: Tajikistan  1-1   India
TAJ : Rabiev 11'
IND: Tuychiev 61' (o.g.)

3.08.2008 :Turkmenistan  1-2   India
TUR : Orazmammedow 84'
IND : Baichung Bhutia 54', 80'

SF : 07.08.2008: India  1-0   Myanmar
IND : Sunil Chhetri 82'

Final: 13.8.2008: India  4-1   Tajikistan
IND : Sunil Chhetri 9', 23', 75', Baichung Bhutia 18'
TAJ :Fatkhuloev 44'


TOURNAMENT 2010 : WINNER North Korea
17.02.2010: India  1-2   Kyrgyzstan
IND : Denzil Franco 58' (pen.)
KYR : Amirov 15', Zemlianuhin 32'

19.02.2010: Turkmenistan  1-0   India
TUR: Garadanow 24' (pen.)

21.02.2010: India  0-3   North Korea
NOR: Ryang Yong-Gi 36', 72', Choe Chol-Man 57'


TOURNAMENT 2012 : WINNER North Korea.
09.03.2012: India  0-2   Tajikistan
TAJ: Khamroqulov 61', Davronov 66'

11.0..2012:Philippines  2-0   India
PHL : P. Younghusband 10', 73'

13.03.2012: North Korea  4-0   India
NOR : Jon Kwang-I 3', Ri Kwang-Hyok 34', Pak Nam-Chol 59', Ri Chol-Myong 70'


TOURNAMENT 2013 - Qualifier

02.03.2012: India  2-1   Chinese Teipei
IND : Jewel Raja, Robin singh

04.03.2012: India  4-0   Guam
IND : Suni Chettri-2, Clifford, Jewel Raja