Icelandic Yoga and the ISL’s Focus on Stability

The FIFA World Cup is in full swing. Are you watching? I’m trying to watch. The late-night matches don’t work for me. The rest I try. I saw Mexico beat Germany and what smashing football they played to do it too. Swashbuckling performance, I say laddie! Then, there was the mighty Vikings taking down Argentina.

While the world focused on how Messi missed his penalty vis-à-vis Ronaldo’s hat trick; I had an altogether different observation. My observation has led me to the conclusion that yoga must’ve originated in Iceland. Continue reading

Kerala Blasters FC 2015 Squad: Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy?

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

There’s no one better than John Le Carre when it comes to writing spy novels. No, don’t talk to me about Ludlums and Flemings, I fall firmly in the Le Carre camp.

However, it seems that the Indian Super League’s inner soul has also been reading Le Carre’s works. Why, you ask, my gracious reader?

I believe we have the makings of a John Le Carre novel in our own lovely Indian Super League especially with the confirmation of Peter Taylor as the Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad manager. To be precise, with Taylor’s arrival, we’re almost ready to have the Indian version of the Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy! Consider.

Marco Materazzi is The Tinker

Marco Materazzi = The Tinker

Marco Materazzi = The Tinker

If you saw how Chennaiyin FC was managed by Materazzi last time out, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Marco tinkered with his time like there was no tomorrow and in a way there wasn’t. His most noticeable tinkerings had come in the semis – specifically the second leg.

You, like I, should expect Materazzi to continue tinkering. So, Marco Materazzi is my Tinker.

Habas the Henchman is The Soldier

Habas the Henchman

Habas the Henchman = The Soldier

Without a doubt, Habas the Henchman is the soldier. He fights, he rages, and behind closed doors, he probably choke slams people.

That player won’t train the way he was told? Choke Slam!

That chairman didn’t buy the player he asked for? Choke Slam!

That team bus got a puncture? Choke Slam!

That crystal meth won’t cook right? Choke Slam!

That sandwich is too salty? Choke Slam!

That constipation in the morning? Choke Slam!

Anyways, you get the idea. Habas the Henchman typifies the soldier in this setup. His team is always physical and with great stamina. His strategy is more about domination and intimidation than finesse and technique. He focuses on brute strength. So, Habas the Henchman is my Soldier

(Trivia: If Habas the Henchman was leading Delhi Dynamos FC, what would happen? Of course, they will win but apart from that? He would be Chole Slamming people! Get it? Coz he’ll be in North India? No? Pfft! What do you know!!!

Peter Taylor is… err… The Tailor

Peter Taylor = The Tailor

Peter Taylor = The Tailor

So, I come to my senses and we come to the Taylor… or the… Tailor, whichever one you prefer.

You know, I am not just using this lingo at random. I actually believe that these three managers characterise the names I am giving them.

You saw how I explained Marco and Habas. Was I wrong? Let me explain Taylor and you’ll see what I mean by Taiylor (I can’t keep typing Taylor and Tailor all the time, so!).

In case you didn’t know Peter Taylor has been signed to lead the Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad.

Generic media news would tell you that Peter Taiylor is a former English national who has coached junior England national teams and multiple English clubs before agreeing to lead the Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad.

Some journos who’ve done a little bit of research would even tell you that Taiylor once even managed the full England national team. However, that was for just one match against Italy, which he lost 1 – 0.

The really hardworking ones will tell you that Taiylor has recently managed Bahrain and brought them their first regional trophy. They will list all the teams he’s managed but what none of them will tell you is what he’s like as a manager.

That job falls to me. Taiylor is actually a tailor, the way he manages. He sews things. He mends teams. He makes sure that they don’t come apart at their seams. This means that Taylor becomes by Tailor.

What Are the Greatest Achievements of Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor with Hull City

Peter Taylor with Hull City

Peter Taylor’s greatest achievement in my eyes was back to back promotions for Hull City FC from Division Three to The Championship.

He took reins of a club in dire straits and catapulted them to the Championship.

He only left because Crystal Palace (a club he had played for and loved) came calling.

By the way, because of his achievements with The Tigers, Taiylor is highly respected by their fans.

His second best achievement, according to me, occurred when he managed England. That was the game he gave a break to David Beckham, Gareth Barry, Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher, and Emile Heskey with Beckham the captain.

They were all youngsters then. So, it was kind of ballsy and perceptive.

How Will Peter Taylor Lead the Kerala Blasters FC 2015 Squad?

Every time Taiylor has managed a team, he has tried to work within the resources that are given to him. He has always managed to do well by his team but has never managed to truly make his teams great.

In other words, he has always been one step below the top flight managers. But, he has managed to do well against the second and third tier managers fairly often. So, I’m not that surprised that he has chosen to come to India and lead Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad.

He was going nowhere in a hurry and was a free man before the chance to lead Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad came calling. Taiylor has a tendency to play to his team’s strengths so expect him to try to work within the limitations of the Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad.

Attacking Hull City FC

Attacking Hull City FC

I know for a fact that he likes attacking football because that’s how he had his most successful team, Hull City play. At the same time, if he feels he doesn’t have the right players, then he may just choose to be pragmatic about the whole thing.

Regardless of which style of football Taiylor patronises while leading Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad, I think he may be an upgrade on David James. First of all, James was a player manager which means that his concentration was always split up. Secondly, James didn’t have much experience as a manager.

In fact, Kerala Blasters were the first team he managed. James’ lack of focus because of his dual roles and his lack of experience is why I think Taiylor is a better option.

The Junior Lewis Connection

Junior Lewis

Junior Lewis

Another thing you Kerala Blasters FC fans should know about is that Taiylor has a special brotherly love thing going on with Junior Lewis.

Basically, everywhere Taiylor goes, the first thing he does is gets Junior Lewis to join him.

He has signed Lewis six times as a player and two times as a coach or an assistant manager.

Lewis is currently free so you may see him joining the Kerala Blaster FC 2015 squad as well.

I don’t know whether Lewis coming to Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad will be a good thing or not. This is mainly because Lewis usually operates at extremely small clubs in England.

Still, I am not one to reject someone before they’ve shown what they can do so I’m being optimistic even if he does follow Taiylor.

Who Will Be The Spy?

So, I have satisfied my verbal diarrhoea about Taiylor and explained to you what I expect from him as the manager of the Kerala Blasters FC 2015 squad. Now, we’re left with the Spy.

Who will be the Spy of the ISL 2015 season? We don’t know. How can we know? If we knew the Spy wouldn’t be a good spy now would he? He would be Johnny English then. The way I see it, the Spy will lead one of the teams that have not been pegged to do well.

Sam Allardyce - The Angry Spy

Sam Allardyce – The Angry Spy

The Spy could be a player like Adriano who is expected to come but fail after he comes. The Spy could have been Harm Van Veldhoven but he’s already left these shores. The Spy may be a manager who hasn’t been revealed yet.

Consider the fact that Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce are both being considered by Indian Super League franchises. The Spy could be either one of those. I am waiting for the arrival of my Spy.

Let’s see if our John Le Carre novel actually comes through.

FC Goa 2015 Squad – Adriano’s Greek Tragedy May Get an Indian Chapter

Forewarning: Those of you who read my posts only for fun and banter may be disappointed with this post.

Now that doesn’t preclude the fact that I may be unable to resist some pot-shots. What it means that as I sit down to write about the potential arrival of the Brazilian Emperor to the Portuguese beaches of India, I don’t feel particularly humorous.

Why? Well, Adriano’s story is an incredibly sad one. His is a veritable Greek tragedy of modern times. It involves everything including fantastic fame, loss of loved ones, debilitating depression, and a meteoric descent into hell.

Whether Adriano is now trying to engineer a phoenix rise from the ashes or if this is going to just be an Indian chapter of his Greek tragedy, it deserves some respect. By considering Adriano to be a part of the FC Goa 2015 squad, Zico is doing what no other manager in world football would consider.

This includes all the ‘humanitarian’ type managers in the mould of Arsene Wenger, Guus Hiddink, Johan Cruyff, and possibly Joachim Low.

How Adriano’s Footballing Career Has Been a Greek Tragedy?

Adriano in his Pomp!

Adriano in his Pomp!

Adriano started out as a young player for Flamengo in Brazil. Flamengo is easily the most successful club in Brazilian football history and since Brazil is the home of world football, that’s quite a feat.

However, one year after breaking through to the first team squad, Adriano moved to Inter Milan in Italy and lit up Europe. First, Inter would loan Adriano to Parma where he would partner Adrian Mutu.

Remember Mutu, the guy who used to play Chelsea when they had just come into a lot of money? The guy who most people now remember for failing a drug test in a sensational manner?

I can’t help but think that the time Adriano spent with Mutu at Parma had some say in what he would do in his future but since hindsight is something of a temptress, what do I know.

Anyways, after scoring loads of goals for Parma with Mutu, Adriano would come back to Inter and score tons more. He scored 22 for Parma and would score 47 for Inter after his return.

Adriano was at the peak of his game at this time. He was scoring boatful of goal at club and international level. There was nothing that he touched that didn’t turn to goal’d (deliberate!).

He was considered to be one of the best strikers in the world at this time. It was at this point that Adriano’s life and career made a dramatic U-turn. It was at his point that his life would become a Greek tragedy.

You see, his father passed away. Adriano was known to be very close to his father and his loss struck him hard. He took up alcohol with a vengeance and, although it hasn’t been stated anywhere else, my gut tells me that he may have been on drugs too (refer to his time with Mutu).

Still, such was the talent of this beast of a striker that he kept his performances up for the next two years! Alcohol abuse takes time to show up in any case. The effects started showing up in 2005, when Adriano’s performances dipped drastically.

Adriano now lost his focus on football and started living a life of party and escapism. He was castigated for poor work ethic and dropped by one manager after another. Adriano was shipped off to Sao Paulo in Brazil where he head-butted a teammate.

He was brought back to Europe by Roma but let go with mutual consent after only five games. He would then join the Corinthians, Flamengo, and Atletico Paranaense in quick succession.

Adriano in his Plump!

Adriano in his Plump!

Throughout this period, Adriano was gaining weight, partying even harder, and being investigated for his connections to drug cartels in Brazil. Even Adriano’s agent came out and said that he no longer cares about The Emperor’s football career and that he is worried about Adriano the man who is on a path to self-destruct.

The last anyone heard of Adriano was that he was being linked with Le Havre, a second division side in France. Adriano has effectively given us a master class instruction in how to go from being on top of the world to a forsaken blind alley in the corner of nowhere. If that is not a Greek tragedy, then I don’t know what is.

Zico and Adriano’s Personal Connection

Zico, however, seems to believe in Greek tragedies too because he is considering giving Adriano his very own cathartic experience. If none of you are pretentious literature students, then let me explain in simpler words.

There’s a chance that Zico will give Adriano a chance to resurrect his career as a member of the FC Goa 2015 Squad. In fact, it is almost certain that Adriano has received an offer from Zico to be a part of his FC Goa 2015 squad because Zico revealed them same himself on his Facebook page.

The Idol & The Pupil

The Idol & The Pupil

Can you believe that? The legend Zico actually typing a status update for all of us lowly mortals? It’s almost like him kicking a football at me. Anyways, it’s something in this day and age that a man like Zico is handling his Facebook page himself. He deserves a standing ovation just for that.

Also, Adriano verified Zico’s status update by putting up one of his own where he stated that he spent the afternoon with Zico (his idol)!

What Can Adriano Bring To FC Goa 2015 Squad?

However, what will Adriano bring to the table of the FC Goa 2015 Squad!?

Adriano was a legend in the making before his life was derailed by an untimely death of a loved one. In his pomp, the man was a beast. He was powerful, strong, skilful, technical, and determined. He was so good that people started calling him The Emperor!

Adriano has a mean left foot, can dribble as profusely as a man on laxatives (think drool: sorry couldn’t help that one), and has oodles of creativity. He can head a ball like a rocker, hit a ball into utter and complete submission, score a freekick through the wall, and possibly give Michael Chopra a run for his money on the flabby side of things.

As you can see, the only problem with Adriano being a member of the FC Goa 2015 Squad will be his fitness. He has gained weight to a point where he looks like your local vegetable vendor who sits  with his vest half raised and has the stamina of your college professor who gets tired after every lecture.

How Zico Is Behind Everything Wonderful About FC Goa

Zico, by the way, can be said to be the man behind the rise of the Brazilian club Flamengo. He led that club to the first and the greatest of its victories in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s no wonder that he has chosen to give another former Flamengo man in trouble a helping hand.

Zico has been handling recruitment for the FC Goa 2015 squad singlehandedly. The news is that Lucio has already been signed as FC Goa 2015 squad’s ISL marquee player. Supposedly, Zico is also targeting three other former Brazil internationals to be a part of his FC Goa 2015 Squad.

Adriano for FC Goa 2015 Squad!

Adriano for FC Goa 2015 Squad!

So, if Adriano hasn’t burned off all his grey cells, he will accept this generous offer because he won’t get any other for the rest of his life.

This seems to me like one of those make or break moments in a person’s life. In a Greek tragedy, this point will be where the protagonist (Adriano) will make the choice between rejuvenating catharsis and eternal damnation for the rest of his life.

What choice Adriano makes is a mystery to the likes of us.

Still, I sincerely hope that he chooses catharsis, comes to India, and shows the world that life can put down a great footballer but it can never put him out! Come on The Emperor!

Disclaimer: I have never been an Adriano fan but I, like many of you, appreciate a talented footballer and absolutely love an underdog.

Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 Squad – Heinze Ketchup on Toast – Esteban at Blue Lugano!

Heinze for Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 Squad

Sorry about that. I believe my coat has been burned and my hat stomped upon after that lame ass headline.

But, its early morning and I can’t help it because I’m about to make some breakfast for my dear, dear lady. Stomach’s rumbling too so that doesn’t help either.

Personally, I’ve always wondered why no one ever used the ketchup connection with Gabriel Heinze. The only reason I could come up was that Heinze never played for FC Dijon… Har! Har!

Light Bulb! Defenders Last Longer Than Midfielders and Strikers

Anyways, it seems like the coaches and teams of the Indian Super League have realised what the whole world of football knew all along – that defenders have a longer footballing life than midfielders and strikers.

After all, it’s not like five of the 16 oldest players ever to have played in Italy were legendary defenders. These were Alessandro Costacurta, Pietro Vierchowod, Paolo Maldini, Javier Zanetti, and Robert Sensini. Of the other 11, by the way, 9 were goalkeepers, one striker (!), and one unknown. Also, Costacurta played till he was 41!

Clearly, the Indian Super League franchises have noticed that if they want their ISL Marquee players to shine and add value to the teams, then they need to focus on defenders a little more because as of now they don’t have the reputation to draw in players at the peak of their careers.

Heinze, Cambiasso, and Lugano to Be a Part of Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 Squad

The football enlightenment that Indian Super League franchises have gone through has resulted in most clubs targeting defenders. In the case of the Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 squad, this means Gabriel Heinze, Diego Lugano, and Esteban Cambiasso. What are these potentials like? Here are small blurbs on each.

Esteban Cambiasso – The Toast of Leicester City – The Bun of Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 Squad

Esteban Cambiasso for Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 SquadSome of you might say that Esteban Cambiasso isn’t a defender. To you folks, I will say that technically he isn’t but he does play like one.

Cambiasso is a defensive midfielder first and foremost. While he’s capable of springing some attacks from the deep lying position in midfield, those have always been few and far between.

Cambiasso has been playing for Leicester City this season and I don’t think he’s going to come to India unless the Foxes don’t want to keep him. Granted, his contract is about to expire but if the Foxes can avoid relegation as they seem to be doing right now, I doubt he’ll choose to jump ship.

Leicester City, for your information, is one point clear of the relegation zone and looking in good form. They’ve won five of their last six matches and only Chelsea and Arsenal (top 2 in the league) are better in terms of form. For my money, they won’t go down since two of the three teams they are yet to play are Sunderland and QPR. So, you can, more or less, forget about Cambiasso being in India.

Would You Like Some Heinze With Your Pakodas?

Heinze for Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 SquadHeinze and Lugano on the other hand are traditional defenders. I’ve always liked Heinze, even though he played for Manchester UTD and that I hate ketchup.

Ketchup is something you use when there’s no flavour in the food but then why would you eat flavourless food that makes you want to use ketchup. That’s a purpose of existence level dilemma right there.

After turning out for some of the biggest names in European football like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Roma, Marseille, and Paris Saint Germain, Heinze went back to his first club.

In other words, he became old and joined his oldest club called Newell’s Old Boys – see what I did there, old boy? Oh, just in case, you didn’t catch on, Heinze is 37 years old.

I still remember his five second performance against Liverpool. Watch him own the three different attackers from Liverpool on that one. This little video typifies Heinze and I truly hope that he can be a part of the Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 squad.

Diego Lugano – Slow, Lumbering, Tall, Traditional

Diego Lugano for Esteban Cambiasso for Delhi Dynamos FC 2015 SquadAs for Diego Lugano, I’ll admit I don’t know a lot about him. I haven’t really followed the big teams he’s played for. I mean who follows Fenerbahce and Malaga?

A generic search online makes me think that Lugano is a standoffish, fish out of water, limited type of defender who likes to take up good positions to intercept and hoof the ball clear.

He is a Uruguayan international so that has to count for something, right? Right? I am clutching at straws here. Someone help me out and tell me why it would be good for Lugano to come play in India. Even if you tell me that he looks like a member of The Brady Bunch (look it up), I will accept it.

The way Delhi Dynamos FC handled their last season; I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up getting Diego Lugano of the three. For me, give me Heinze any day – the defender not the ketchup. Yuck.

Indian Super League Organisers Take Lessons from EPL

Inside the Locker Room

There’re two types of people in this world. The first type learns by watching, the second by studying, and the third by both.

The Indian Super League, blessedly, has decided to be the third type. Representatives of the ISL and its eight clubs had travelled to the UK to see how the English Premier League officials work. During the trip the Indian Super League organisers also studied the workings of clubs like Arsenal, Crystal Palace, and West Bromwich Albion.

The visit of the 23 man squad of Indian Super League organisers was a part of the strategic partnership agreement that the two leagues had signed before the inaugural season of the Indian Super League last year.

The actual idea was for the Indian Super League organisers to learn from the English Premier League organisers, which was exactly what the goal of this visit is.

What I Think the Indian Super League Organisers Went For

Indian Super League Organisers Visit Arsenal

Look at that grin! You could drive a bus through it. Its almost like he got a new movie deal…

The five day trip began on April 29th, 2015. While in the media the two contingents are spouting the usual platitudes, I see something deeper.

I believe the Indian Super League organisers have gone to the experts of the English Premier League with the express intention of learning how to transition the twin leagues of the Indian Super League and the I-League.

I don’t include John Abraham in that. Although, I may be doing injustice to him but if you see him in the photo, you can see the grin of sheer delight on his face. I think he got himself included in the contingent just so he could take a tour of the Emirates. Who can begrudge him that anyways? Lucky chump!

For the Indian Super League organisers, the 2014 edition was a massive success. Moreover, the way everyone seemed to have focused on grassroots development, it’s clear that that is the area where they feel they lack.

They are partly right of course but this also shows that the Indian Super League organisers didn’t think they needed any lessons in organising. The Indian private sector is very good at Event Management and, remember, the Indian Super League is largely a private affair.

Hopeful Short Term Fallout

Inside the Locker Room

Inside the Locker Room

In the short term, I have but one hope from this exchange of knowledge and knowhow – they will stagger the matches and put some gaps in the middles. The nonstop AK-47 of matches must stop. They aren’t only detrimental for poor little ISL fans and followers like me but also ruin the quality of the games being played.

If you ask me how the quick succession of matches ruins the quality of matches, consider the fact that all the ISL Marquee players are +30. Heck, English Premier League players at the top of their game would struggle to play every three days or so for three months flat. I swear we Indians are hell-bent on turning even our football league into a sweat shop being run by a pressgang. Sheesh…