New Delhi : Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri is highly impressed with the country’s U-16 and U-20 sides, who have punched above their weight in recent times, and said they are capable of achieving bigger things in the future. While the U-16 team shocked Iraq, the U-20 squad caused one of Indian football’s biggest upsets by stunning the sport’s superpower Argentina in a tournament in Spain.
Asked about the players representing the youth teams, Chhetri said, “U-16 team in totality, of course the U-19 teams is also doing well, great result against Argentina, something they should be really proud of. “But the U-16 team is amazing, you should watch them play. We watched some videos of them, some game plans and they are amazing. (Coach) Bibiano (Fernandes) is doing a great job with those kids and I just hope, touchwood, I just hope, they can keep improving from what they are.
“I am pretty sure they are going to achieve bigger things in the coming years. India’s all-time highest scorer, who is also among the top five in international football, said they are looking forward to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.The aim is 2019 Asian Cup and before that we have got a couple of matches which we will try our best to win and improve and eventually to the Asian Cup. The players are going to give everything they have got when the tournament comes,” the 34-year-old striker said.
Chhetri is now gearing up to lead his team Bengaluru FC in the upcoming Indian Super League. “ISL is one of the main reasons why a lot of good things are happening in Indian football, helping the rise of Indian football, just the whole atmosphere, infrastructure change. But I will again say that it’s one of the major things we are doing good, but we all have to come together, if Indian football has to grow every avenue of Indian football will have to come together and do their bit.”
Having entered the final as one of the most consistent sides in their last ISL, Bengaluru FC lost to Chennaiyin FC in the summit showdown. “The fact that every team wants to beat us, the fact that every team wants to come and take point against us, last years we some mediocre performances of other teams but when they came and played against us they looked a different team,” Chhetri said.
The ISL will be broadcast live on Star Sports.
UEFA probe Ronaldo for ‘improper conduct’ over goal celebration
London : UEFA opened an investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration after scoring a hat-trick in Juventus’ Champions League comeback win against Atletico Madrid last week.
European football’s governing body said Ronaldo was facing charges of “improper conduct” after he mimicked Diego Simeone’s crotch-grabbing gesture in last Tuesday’s 3-0 win that sent Juventus through 3-2 on aggregate.
After scoring the decisive penalty four minutes from time, Ronaldo turned towards the Atletico fans and replicated Simeone’s gesture after the Spaniards’ 2-0 first leg win by grasping his genitals and thrusting out his groin.
A decision will be taken by UEFA on March 21.
Juventus take on Dutch club Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals over two legs, on April 10 in Amsterdam and April 16 in Turin.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he is confident Ronaldo will not be fined or suspended.
“I think everyone celebrated their own way on the field and in the stands.
I saw nothing strange, just a celebration. There won’t be a ban,” said Allegri.
Simeone was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) by UEFA for his gesture.
“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character,” said the Argentinian coach.
Five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo is the record goal scorer in the European competition with 124 goals in 160 matches.
Sachin echoes Virat Kohli’s workload views
New Delhi: There cannot be a uniform structure for workload management during the Indian Premier League as each and every player will have different set of requirements, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar said .
There have been a lot of discussions about how the World Cup-bound players need to effectively manage their workload during a demanding tournament like the IPL, and the maestro has his own take on it.
“Preparation before the World Cup is different for each player and so their workload management will also be different,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar agreed with skipper Virat Kohli who recently said that it is up to the players to realise the kind of load they are taking as well as the form they are in. “To me, momentum is important. Every individual should be smart enough to assess if he needs to take a break or he needs to play games to stay in the thick of things. So the responsibility is on the individual to take a call,” said the world’s highest run-getter in Tests and One-day Internationals.
He then gave an example of how workload management will be different for different players. “As a pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s workload will be very different from a pure batsman like Virat Kohli and a wicket-keeper batsman like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. All these players have a lot of experience and they will certainly make the right call,” said Tendulkar, who is a mentor with IPL’s most popular franchise Mumbai Indians.
Tendulkar echoed what Kohli had said a couple of days earlier during a media interaction in Bengaluru. “If I’m able to play 10, 12 or 15 games, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest,” the Indian skipper had said.
“Someone else’s body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing. And everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don’t want to miss out on such a big event.”
Kohli had said that it is up to individual players to deal with the issue to keep their body fit and be in contention for a place in the World Cup-bound squad. “From a responsibility point of view, all the Indian players will have the responsibility during the IPL to keep a watch on their fitness and their workloads,” he said.
“And to continue the frame of mind we have created in the Indian team – strive towards excellence and improve every day. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup in a good frame of mind,” he said.
Kerala Blasters sign Rahul KP
Mumbai : Kerala Blasters have wrapped up a deal to bring Indian Arrows forward Rahul Kannoly Praveen on board for the 2019-20 season, Goal has learnt.
The 19-year-old forward has become the fifth former India U-17 player to be roped in by Blasters after Dheeraj Singh, Mohammad Rakip, Nongdamba Naorem and Jeakson Singh.
Thrissur-born Rahul featured for Luis Norton de Matos’ Indian team in the U-17 World Cup held in India. He continued his development with AIFF’s Indian Arrows in the I-League and impressed in patches last season, scoring two goals in 17 appearances.
He has stepped up his game at Arrows this season under Floyd Pinto and contributed greatly to the team’s eighth-placed finish under the Indian head coach. He has three goals to his name this season.
Blessed with pace and dazzling feet, Rahul is good at taking on his opponent from wide areas and also has an eye for a pass. He was impressive against Gokulam Kerala and scored a terrific volley in the I-League match at Kozhikode earlier this season. He also featured in the Super Cup qualifier against Kerala Blasters as Indian Arrows won 2-0.
In what seems like a much-needed move after a disapponting season in the ISL, Kerala Blasters, under the new leadership of CEO Viren D’Silva, are off to a good start off the field and have added a promising local talent to the squad.
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