The Coach With A Stealing Edge – Playing for Pride and Passion

Coach Hem Chandra Joshi is a Lucknow based seasoned football coach currently training young footballers in D.A.V. College. Coach Joshi started playing football in 1994 though soon got selected in Indian Navy. Hem Chandra took retirement from the forces in 2014 and returned to his hometown where he picked up his passion for the game once again and continues to ardently motivate and coach budding talents in football till date.

Hem Chandra is an ex-student of Lucknow Sports College after which he trained in Sainagar, Gujarat with four other of his batch mates from U.P. In 1997 they put together a strong football team for Gujarat with 11 of the best players from Uttar Pradesh. The team competed in the Schools National Football tournament in 1998 resulting in them bagging the 3rd position

He trained under 3 proficient football coaches who are all with the Indian Football Team, most importantly under Stanley Rosario who also coached for World Military Games.

Coach Joshi presently trains different age groups of kids and attributes various pivotal practices to each age group. For the under 13 yrs group he coaches them focussing on the grass root level and strengthening their basics in the sport. With the under 17 yrs players he focuses on tactics and technique of playing as well as endurance and strength. The under 23 yrs trainees are drilled with complete practice, fitness, strength and technique.

According to Coach Joshi, there are many quality players in our state but due to lack of thorough guidance and support from the football association they do not get the required exposure and upliftment necessary to excel in the game. There are 2 associations of football in the city, one is registered and the other is not. The non-registered association has proven to hold better tournaments with greater results yet it does not provide a future prospect for its winners. The registered association should organize more tournaments and give more professional support to the young players.

Hem Chandra has in his 9 years of football coaching churned out quite a number of National level winning young players. Some of them are:

Mohd. Imran from Banaras – Asian School Championship in Agra, represented India on 1st level

Rajneesh Rai – under 14 yrs category, represented U.P. at Schools Nationals.

Tushar Kaushik, Sheikh Mohd Anas, Avish Srivastava – under 17 yrs category, from DAV College, represented U.P. in Schools Nationals as well in Lucknow football league.

Abhishek Thapa, Deepesh Chauhan, Manish Chaudhary –  UP Football Sangh

Joshi points out that currently Mizoram is being called the ‘Hub of Football’ as the Mizo players painstakingly train and practice from grass root level all the way to the top. Every big sports club and sports academy around the nation presently have at least 5-6 Mizo players winning them laurels. It took them about 10 years of hard work and dedication toward the game to achieve their current success and recognition.

He goes on to say that, in spite of India having enough football academies and associations we still rank only at 97 globally in the sport. UPSF, District Football and UP Football Association should bring back and unite all the leading football sportsmen, veterans and coaches to all contribute to the need for apt guidance and training to the young talented players. This will empower the foundation of football and accelerate growth as well success amongst our budding talents. These accomplished trainers and experienced players have a lot to teach today’s generation of young players.

Joshi also indicates that, parents should pressurize their kids for sports and practicing on the grounds just as much as they get behind them to study their school syllabus. Parents are willing to invest in their children’s higher education like MBBS, MBA or Engineering to ensure their kids get good jobs with high paying packages. So then why not for sports? If parents put in that much money into 5-8 years of a sound sports education for the child, they will undoubtedly enjoy a thriving sports career which will in turn swoop the country up to towering heights of achievement in sports and international recognition.

Coach Joshi encourages youth saying that the goal should primarily be powered with the willingness and passion to play the game as well as to win laurels for the state along with self acclaim not for money. He states, “Always work hard and honestly, you don’t need any reference or fixes then. Excel with your own power.” “Play for pride, play for passion, Vande Mataram!”

India Complete A Nervy Victory Courtesy A Spectacular Bumrah And An Intelligent Pandya.

Rishabh Pant faces up a sharp Rubel hussain and gets beaten by pace the very first ball. Any other batsman would have been watching the next ball more intently and been absolutely still at the crease so that he plays it safe. Pant is not any other batsman. He simply goes for a walk across the stumps and disdainfully flicks the ball which is on off stump to deep midwicket. He gets only a single. But it is more a statement than a single.

*

The sharp sliders of Mossadek hossain is up next. Pant tries to be the responsible number four batsman as he plays out a couple of balls carefully. Then, he gets rapped on the pads and there is a vociferous appeal for LBW. Pant survives. One can almost sense that something is about to happen. You can almost hear the inner voice of Pant going “F**k this I am teeing off!” All it takes is one more ball. Pant is down the track depositing the ball 25 rows back of the sight screen.

*

India lose two wickets in three balls play out a maiden over. Bangladesh’s legs are firmly on the brakes. Shafiuddin steams in to bowl the next over to Pant, hoping he can maintain the pressure and possibly snaffle his wicket. Pant defends the first ball.

The next three balls can be described as thus.

“Whack!”

“Smash!”

“Thump!”

Bangladesh are back to the strategy of minimising destruction.

*

Pant has already swept shakib gloriously for a four in his previous spell. He attempts a similar shot in the next shakib over. This time though, he plays it in the air and is caught at square leg. Pant is disappointed. As he walks back, he practises the same shot again. This time he mimicks playing it along the ground. The shots will not stop, he seems to say.

*

India complete a nervy victory courtesy a spectacular bumrah and an intelligent pandya. While their middle order crisis is far from over, they will look back at the phase of their batting innings when Pant played with some satisfaction. For their middle order is in dire need of someone like Pant.

Delhi might have taken daredevilry out of their name.

Rishabh Pant still seems to have plenty of it in his game.

-Jagannath Janakiraman

Two Days, Two Matches and Two Chases of a Score of 338. Both Chasing Teams Lost But Not In A Similar Way.

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West Indies needs 132 runs to win off the last fourteen overs and have only four wickets in hand. There is the talented but inexperienced Nicholas Pooran batting well at one end and the modest bowling all-rounder Fabian Allen who just arrives at the crease. Allen seizes the game by the scruff of its neck as soon as he arrives at the crease. Neither Pooran nor Allen take the foot off the pedal even when they know that a wicket at that stage will amount to a hundred run loss. Allen plays the innings of his life which ends in an unfortunate run out. When he departs during over number 45, West Indies is well and truly in the hunt. Pooran carries on without bothering about who is at the other end and who else is padded up in the dressing room. The game hangs in the balance till over number 47 when Pooran departs. West Indies eventually lose by 23 runs.

*

Rewind to the previous day and India is in a similar situation against England, needing 104 off the last ten overs with a well set Pandya at the crease and the experienced Dhoni just arriving. Dhoni does not take the game by the scruff of its neck, admittedly because Pandya gets out soon. Dhoni is then joined by Jadhav and India still needs a challenging but not insurmountable 70 off the last five overs, with five wickets in hand. Unlike West Indies, India has a lot to play for in this match. A win seals a more or less certain Semi-final spot. Any kind of sporting logic dictates that the two batsmen in the middle go hard after the target. But what happens in those five overs is unfathomable. Dhoni and Jadhav play out a net session where they fine tune their strike rotation and Dhoni, like the boss that he sees himself to be, smacks a last over six and, with supreme nonchalance, refuses a single off the next ball. He manages five more runs in the next four balls and India eventually lose by 31 runs.

*

After the World cup frenzy subdues and someone pops into the internet to check the scorecards of these matches, he/she might simply think that these matches ended up with almost similar winning margins for the team batting first. The data shows little else that can be noticed. But scratch the surface and you will see the difference. Ask any keen cricket fan who saw both matches and he will sing you furious songs about the difference.

*

When the curtains do fall on Dhoni’s glorious limited overs career for India, he will leave me with a lot of fond memories. The way he soldiered a young team to become T20 champions in 2007. The way he seized a tense game on a frenzied Saturday night at the Wankhede to ensure India become World Champions in One Day Cricket. The way he masterminded a heist on a rainy evening in London to outfox England and steal the Champions trophy from right under their noses.

But all these fond memories will get punctuated by the memory of the farce that he, along with his sidekick, orchestrated on a placid Edgebaston wicket. A farce that mocked not only the spectators’ and fans’ reason to watch the sport but also the single most important attitude required for any professional sport – the intent to win.

– Jagannath Janakiraman

Winds Of Glorious Victory Ended the 2nd LaMartiniere Night Football Tournament 2019…!

There was no extra time for the dynamic players who battled it out 7 -A-side style on the football field at LaMartiniere Boys College Lucknow. Cool winds blew across the venue of the Night Football Tournament on the evening of June 17 as the stage was set for the final matches.  Enthusiastic football lovers as well as friends and family of the players gathered around Baker’s Field to cheer on and support their teams.

 Marking the culmination of the LaMartiniere Cup Season 2 Night Football Tournament organized by LaMartiniere Boys College in association with Ashwamegh Srijan – Passion For Sports. Powered by Clat Possible, Team Satyam and Lawrence Classes. Two final matches each of a duration of 40 minutes were held. The first final match was played by the two girls teams that won the prelim matches, Sacred Heart Girls School and Modern Academy. The finales second match was played between the boys teams White Eagles (boys in blue, Ashwamegh Srijan team) and AMC (Army).

This year’s football tournament saw for the first time an all girls football series which had a total of 4 teams contesting in the semi-finals. The finals match was well played by the charged girls in their florescent sportswear. The feisty goalie of team Sacred Heart gave the opposing footballers a tough chance for scoring goals and striker Afreen tackled the ball proficiently well. While Sacred Heart bagged the win in the Girl’s Night Football Tournament, Priya won “Player of the Match’ in the 2nd semi-final and Reena from Modern Academy won ‘Player of the Match’ for the final match awards for their ‘Squib Kicks’ and goals. The “Best goalkeeper” went to Divya from Army Public School team.

The boys’ final match was extremely energetic as each player from teams White Eagles and AMC gave the game their best sporting shot.  The AMC team-B dribbled and kicked off their way in their bright white attires to the raging win taking home the tournament cup, with their unbeatable ‘goalie’ Manoj Roy and their powerful striker Naoshang Khayi. The “Best Midfielder” went to Sagar Singh DPS, ELdeco, the “Promising Player” award went to Ujjwal Singh from Gunner’s Football Club and “Best Goalkeeper” was awarded to Naeem from White Eagles while Mohammed Afsal (AMC) celebrated his win as “Man of the Match” and “Top Scorer of the Season“. Brijesh Rawat got “Best Player of the Tournament” whereas the “Best Disciplined Team” was Super Sports Society.

The grand finale of this football series was graced by the honourable presence of connoisseurs of various professional fields and who share the “passion for sports’. Some of the guests included Mrs. Kanak Rekha Chauhan, Founder of Literature Festival, Lucknow, Anuragg Mishra, Founding member of Ashwamegh Srijan and a social worker, ex-cricketer and footballer, Tanveer A. Siddiqui, ex-footballer and Martinian, mentor to team White Eagles, Founding member of Ashwamegh, Mr. Satyam Sahai, 4 times winner of “Ironman” and founder of Team Satyam, Pramod Sharma, President of District Football Association and Lt. Col. Sanjeev Onial. They were seen enjoying the matches and later on distributed prizes to different winning categories.

Mr. Satyam Sahai “Ironman” in his endearing speech to the young sports talents present, congratulated the fervent players of the AMC team saying, “They have excellent potential and very well played.” The ‘Ironman’ also pointed out that, “With focus on thorough training and conditioning, the sky is the limit for any player” and motivated all the participants to “Take sports as a passion, there’s a sports career waiting for every aspiring player.” He ended by wishing the budding talents all the very best.

This exciting football series was possible under the diligent aegis of some of the most renowned coaches and referees from the District Football Association such as; K.N. Singh- secretary of District Football Association as well as senior football coach, LaMartiniere Boys and spirited host of the whole tournament, Moti Lal – international referee, Ashok Chakrawarti- senior referee, Ashok Rajak, Chief referee P.K. Bhattacharya (for boys and girls teams) and Moh. Hasan, Gopal Singh – senior coach LDA Stadium. All referees are affiliated to the U.P. Football Sang

Each winning team was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 along with the Football Night Tournament Trophy. Ashwamegh Srijan, a (multi-sports welfare NGO) wishes each winning player a successful sports career. In line with the vision : mission 1000 kids for sports, and the Ashwamegh motto “Passion For Sports“, the NGO is open to encourage and promote sports talents from every region of India and to  hand-hold them to a professional level in the sport with expert coaching, sports equipment, thorough education on the game and constant guidance.  The final match players all proudly posed with their prizes and jubilant smiles along with their mentors, coaches and the chief guests for the media.

Weather Strikes Again…!

The inclement weather has hit the Cricket World Cup hard as four of the 18 matches so far have been called off, the latest being  at Nottingham  between India  and New Zealand. And there is further bad news for cricket fans all over the world as there is a forecast of rains in major parts of England over the weekend and may disrupt a few more games.

The Indian team in Nottingham could not venture out even for their scheduled nets which has added to their miseries after Shikhar Dhawan was diagnosed with a hairline fracture and there is doubt over his taking further part in the tournament. 

Cricket fans on social media have gone berserk and are blaming the ICC for hosting the World Cup in the early parts of the season when there are more chances of rain than later in the summer, may be in August and September. 

Some of them feel that the hands of ICC were tied as ECB had set up a full Ashes Series later in the summer. England’s schedule includes a four-day Test match against Ireland at Lords from July 24, followed by five-Test series against old-foes Australia from August 1 to September 16. This long-drawn scheduled may well have influenced the World Cup dates.

Of course, everybody knows about the fickle English weather and nobody can be sure when it will turn inclement. But surely with a number of matches likely to be affected by rains, it is going to hit the ICC hard, both financially and reputation-wise.

The captains of the affected matches have just been philosophical, saying, “Weather is not in our control and we can only hope that we are not affected by the rains.”  

Neither is it easy for the team management to prepare for a game, not knowing whether it will be played at all, or it may well be a truncated game.

“The weather could play a huge part across the next few days. You have to get early wins on the board, because you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a couple of washouts that will leave you outside the top four,” feels Australian Captain Aaron Finch.

“You never bank on rain, you prepare for the full 50 overs and you have to work on the spot should that change,” he added.

“If it’s a really delayed start you might change your team and everyone needs to be prepared to shuffle their roles around and be really adaptable. We need to be ready to go for any situation,” said the Aussie skipper.

India themselves were lucky at the Oval against Australia on Sunday as it had rained incessantly for two days before the game and then also on Monday. It seemed the Rain God had relented on Sunday only for India to complete a comprehensive win.

One only hope and pray the weather turns fair, not only for the the India-Pakistan match, but for the tournament overall. Otherwise, ICC will have a hard time trying to salvage their reputation. 

Santosh Suri

Lucknowites Bending the Ball To New Sporting Goals

A 7-A-Side football tournament is being held at La Martiniere Boys College Football grounds from June 1st, 2019 and shall continue till 17th June, 2019.

La Martiniere College Cup, Season 2 is an initiative by La Martiniere College and conceptualized by Mr. K N Singh, the sports coach of LA-Martinere Boys.  Event is supported by Ashwamegh Srijan-Passion for Sports and powered by Clat possible, Team Satyam and Lawrence classes. The enthusiasm in the football community inspired the recurrence of the Season 2 of the same.

The highlight of this promotional game series is that all the matches are being played by the 7-aside rule i.e. a shorter version of the match runs for duration of 20 minutes split into two 20 minute rounds with a 2-minute break in between.

There are 44 football teams participating in the tournament .These teams are from different schools colleges and football clubs .the age group of the players vary from 14-32 years .All the players are a master of their sport and have been practicing for years now.

The tournament is a treat to see as there are national and district players in most of the teams, therefore increasing the quality of the tournament.

The tournament is being held at La Martiniere College, Bakers ground from 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm. There are 3 matches being held every day among 6 teams. The 16 winning teams will be competing each other from 11th onwards. And the finals will be held on the 17th June, 2019 .The teams participating are:

Another highlight of the event is that for the 1st time induction of girls’ football team in the tournament. 8 teams will play for the cup.  Girls’ tournament will commence from 14th and the final of the event will be held on 17th June.

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