COVID-19 debuts in the I-League; Yan Law makes a comeback; Stanly opts to attend a wedding. Plus – a golazo.
Positive, Negative Outcome
Chennai City FC is the first team affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in this league season with two players (Kabir T and Vijay Thomas) testing positive on the eve of their match against Real Kashmir FC. The duo and their roommates, Uma Shankar and Vijay Nagappan, were kept in isolation.
However, a re-test in another lab had shown all the four players to be negative. Due to the protocol in place, the AIFF deemed the four players to be ineligible to play.
Before the start of the league, head coach Satyasagara spoke about his team’s routine during quarantine which included a yoga session in the morning and detailed its impact and benefits as well.
Not surprisingly, Chennai City lost the match 0-2.
Not All is Well in the Mohammedan Camp
Last October, Mohammedan SC sacked their head coach Yan Law midway through the I-League Qualifiers. There were talks of disagreements over team selection alongside the interference of a certain Ranjit Bajaj.
Three months down the line, it appears it’s back to square one. It is alleged that coach Jose Hevia has been questioned by the management over his team selection.
Then there are murmurs that the players are now “boycotting” the training sessions due to non-payment of dues.
It’s good to know that old clubs are keeping up with the legacy of the bygone era.
Family > Football
A football manager has a tricky job. One has to balance the management, player’s egos, backroom staff, the press, etc. Then there is the domestic front: family life.
Stanly Rozario has decided to put la familia before football. The coach parted ways with Aizawl FC as he decided to be there for his daughter’s wedding. Call me old-fashioned, but aren’t wedding dates fixed in advance?
The 2016-17 I-League champions moved fast and obtained the services of a certain Yan Law whose recent stint was in the Himachal Football League.
Just putting it out there, Aizawl FC will face Mohammedan SC on Feb 18th.
RIP Bitan Singh
On a sombre note, the teams held a minute’s silence in memory of former India U-16 Head Coach and U-19 Assistant Coach, Ngangkham Bitan Singh, who breathed his last at an Imphal hospital on Wednesday morning. He was 42.
The former Churchill Brothers player began coaching the youth teams in 2010 with the U-14 National Team in 2010.
Bitan is credited for nurturing young Indian players and unearthing new talents, especially from Manipur. Boris Singh Thangjam, Nongdamba Naorem, Ninthoiganba Meetei and Jeakson Singh are a few of the names that shone under the guidance of Bitan.
A sad loss for the world of Indian football. He will be missed.
The goal of the week is this absolute thunderbastard from the boots of Shaiborlang Kharpan.
Shaiborlang who? He is one of the three players on loan to Sudeva Dehi FC from Kerala Blasters FC. The striker is a youth product of Shillong Lajong FC and had been biding his time in the reserves.
Following his goal against Indian Arrows in the second round, Kharpan brought the game to life with a shot from 40-yards to leave the Real Kashmir goalie grasping at thin air.
10/10. Would watch it again.
The Goal Scoring Ratio
13 goals were scored in the third round of the I-League where the foreign signings edged out the Indian players on the goalscoring chart.
The belter by Shaiborlang, two by the Mizo lads in Aizawl FC’s win over Gokulam Kerala FC, and two more by the lads of Mohammedan SC to cancel out the goals scored by the foreign recruits of TRAU FC played a key role in shaping the I-League table.
Speaking of TRAU, in the previous round Tajikistani striker, Komron Tursanov, had set the record of the fastest goal in the I-League when he scored within nine seconds. This time around, it took him 105 seconds to score the opener. We blame the humidity for the sluggish start this time around.
The overall tally after round 3 looks like this:
Foreign players – 23
Indian players – 17
Own goal – 1