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Confusion in East Bengal board over Super Cup participation

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New Delhi: Seven clubs from the I-League, namely, Chennai City, Mohun Bagan, NEROCA, Aizawl, Gokulam Kerala, Minerva Punjab and East Bengal joined forces to collectively withdraw their participation from the Super Cup citing various ideological differences with the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

This move came with only three days before the first game of the knockout competition which is scheduled for Friday, 15 March in Bhubaneshwar. However, there was a twist in the tale after five of the seven teams officially released a statement.

Quess East Bengal FC (QEBFC), the joint-venture between investors Quess Corp and East Bengal Club, under the name which the East Bengal football team operates were part of the decision to pull out of the Super Cup. But, it appears that certain board members were unaware of the decision taken by the QEBFC board.

 

In a letter addressed to the media, East Bengal club General Secretary, Kalyan Majumdar mentioned: “We have come to know from the newspapers that some I-League teams decided not to take part in the forthcoming Super Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar. We have the tradition and legacy to not step back from participating keeping in view of the fact that discrepancies, if any, can be sorted out by discussions and deliberations.

“Though we are looking forward to a board meeting with our Chairman (Ajit Issac) which did not take place in the last 8-9 months but we are certainly optimistic that the issue will be resolved suitably soon.”

Majumdar is one of the eight members of the QEBFC board which comprises four each from both factions. However, the share distribution is 70-30 in favour of the Bengaluru-based business firm.

After a season where the team ended runners-up in the I-League under new coach Alejandro Menendez and is all but set to pick up bid documents for the Indian Super League (ISL), the communication, or lack thereof at the board level puts East Bengal in poor light.

It is quite astonishing to see that there is no co-ordination, communication or unity between the board members. There are two different statements emanating from the board members, which frankly is baffling and throws up question on the club’s professionalism.

The contradiction is detrimental to all stakeholders of QEBFC as the football team aims to chart a new beginning in the ISL next season after failing to win a single national league title in the last 15 years.

One also has to take note of the fact that none of the other clubs involved in this fiasco have put out two different statements such as this.

Meanwhile the standoff between the aforementioned clubs and the AIFF authorities take place, it will be more than interesting to keep an eye out on developments surrounding East Bengal’s internal damage recovery, if any.


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Women’s football team better than men’s, says Chhetri

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New Delhi: The FIFA ranking says so and India football captain Sunil Chhetri too has no qualms in conceding that the national women’s team is better than the men’s side. The men’s team is currently ranked 103rd out of 211 countries, after being in the top-100 last year. The women’s side is currently 62nd out of 152 nations.

Chhetri, the poster boy of Indian football with second-most goals among active international players, praised the national women’s team for its fifth consecutive SAFF title win. “Extremely proud of all of you. I have always maintained that the women’s team is much better than the men,” Chhetri said.

The women’s team will feature in Round 2 of the Olympics qualifiers, which kick off in Mandalay in Myanmar on April 3.

 
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I will be first one to hang my boots when time comes: Yuvraj on retirement

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Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing future has been a topic of discussion for some years now but the player said he would be the first one to bid adieu when he felt that his time is up.

Out of national team’s scheme of things for good, Yuvraj has had a poor track record in the IPL but started on a bright note with a half-century for his latest franchise Mumbai Indians.

“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang my boots,” Yuvraj told the media after MI’s 37-run defeat against Delhi Capitals in the IPL opener.

 

However, India’s 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup hero did admit that at times he felt indecisive about carrying on.

“The last two years, have been up and down (for me). And I could not decide on what to do,” said the 37-year-old.

Yuvraj said when on introspection, he found that he is still enjoying the game just as he did as an U-16 cricketer not thinking about national team selection.

“The main thing for me was why I played the game when I started off. I played the game because I enjoyed playing cricket. When I enjoyed playing cricket, I was not playing for India. I was playing for U-14s and U-16s. So till the time, I enjoy playing cricket, I am going to play.”

The veteran left-hander spoke to Sachin Tendulkar, who could relate with his situation as to how he felt when he was at the business end of his career.

“I have been speaking to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through that time when he was 37-38-39 (and how he felt). Talking to him makes things easier for me. And I am just playing because I enjoy playing cricket pretty much,” he signed off.

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Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid job : Mourinho

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London: Jose Mourinho has said that he believes Zinedine Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid managerial position.

Zidane was re-appointed as Madrid’s head coach earlier this month, just 10 months after he had resigned from the same position.

After Solari’s dismissal, many tipped Mourinho to return to the Santiago Bernabeu after he had been sacked as Manchester United boss in December.

 

Mourinho was Madrid’s manager from 2010 to 2013, but the Blancos instead opted to bring back three-time Champions League winner Zidane.

And Mourinho himself has now said that the Blancos made the right call, adding that the Frenchman is just getting started in his managerial career despite what he has already achieved.

“I do not think we can talk about a career for him yet,” Mourinho said of Zidane on Canal Plus.

“But in a very short time, he did what no one had done before, that is winning three consecutive Champions Leagues”.

“Now he is starting a new step in his career. He has to build a team, he has to make choices, buy players, sell them. He has to train them, give them his philosophy of play.

“I think he’s probably the best person for this club.”

Mourinho has not been shy about his desire to return to club management, and said this week he has already turned down a number of job offers.

The Portuguese said that he’s growing more eager to return every day.

“Day after day, I miss training. I’m not going to hide it,” Mourinho said.

“There’s something going on in my head, winning a fifth league and a new Champions League with a third club.”

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