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INTERVIEWS



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Right mix of height and technique is required: Tanumoy Basu

AIFF MEDIA 24.04.2013 : There is no one better than Tanumoy Basu, Goalkeeping Coach of All India Football Federation developmental side Pailan Arrows, to comment on the future of goalkeepers in India. Presently in Bangalore to have a look at the ongoing 2nd Division League, Basu who guarded the citadel for the Big-Three in Kolkata in the 80s and the 90s, feels the right mix of height and technique defines a goalkeeper.

In a freewheeling interview to www.the-aiff.com the former India goalkeeper spoke at length on the overall scenario in terms of goalkeeping in the country. EXCERPTS:

Comment on the current crop of goalkeepers in India.

The gap between height of a goalkeeper and his technique needs to be bridged. Goalkeepers from Bengal are very sound technically but are not tall enough. Goalkeepers who have the height and hail from other states generally, lack technique. In modern football, a goalkeeper needs to be both tall and technically sound. He is not only the shot stopper, but the first line of attack. Distribution is very important.

The current crop of goalkeepers we have, are either tall or technically sound. A mixture of both is what is required. You need to deal with crosses and in modern day football flank movement has increased a lot. So height is of paramount important, along with of course technique.

How can this problem be solved?

A goalkeeper needs to be spotted at that tender age. Then you need to research on his family background and check on his potential height in the future. You need to nurture him. All over the World follow the same procedure.

What is being done to bridge it?

The All India Football Federation Academies are looking into the matter. We have Scott (O'Donell) and Rob (Baan) at the helm and they are doing their best to cater to the issue. It is their philosophy that a player needs to be developed from very tender age. I would like to add that scouting doesn't solely stay the responsibility of the AIFF Academies. Coach Education is also very important.

How are things at Pailan Arrows?

Arrows are a developmental side. But as we play in the I-League, we also need results. So we need to strike a balance. At present we have one matured goalkeeper who can deliver the goods in the League, and other two three rookies who are being nurtured. See the motive here is to groom the players and release them to play the I-League for other clubs. At present, all our custodians are ready for the next step.

How important is the role of a Goalkeeping Coach?

Very important! In modern day football, the goalkeeper is not only a shot stopper. He has to distribute well and inside the 18-yard box, his passing accuracy stays pertinent. For a goalkeeper to attain all that and at the same time keep pace with the rigours of the season, a Goalkeeping Coach is essential. But unfortunately in India people don't realise that. Barring few clubs in Kolkata and one in Goa, most I-League clubs don't have Goalkeeping Coaches.

What are the main areas he should focus on?

Developing the technical ability and working on fitness stays the main role of a Goalkeeping Coach. I would like to point out four major areas - shot stopping, tackling crosses, one on one situations and distribution. You need to plan your schedule likewise. Moreover, maintaining fitness is very important. Only one plays and other two or three sit out for a match.. So maintaining their fitness is essential.

How do you see the future of Indian goalkeepers shaping up?

On the surface it seems a vacuum may be created when the likes of Subrata (Paul), Karanjit (Singh), Subhashish (Roy Chowdhury), Sandip (Nandy) and Arindam (Bhattacharya) leave. The onus is on Goalkeeping Coaches working at the youth level to fill the void in the next one and half years. It's a massive challenge and I am working on it.

MESSI & MARADONA-KOLKATA




MARADONA in KOLKATA 2008

MESSI In KOLKATA - 2011



GUEST-COLUMN - GERMANY



Experience of an avid Bengali Football Fan residing in Germany to watch a top rated Bundes Liga Match.

MATCH : Schalke 04 vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Result : Shalke 04 won 2-0 : Scorers - M. Hoger 30', J. Farfan 83'
Yellow Card: Toprak 30', Reinartz 33', Spahic 82' (All Bayer Leverkusen )

Match witness : Nandita and Debmalya Banerjee : Veltins arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

31st August 2013: By DEBMALYA BANERJEE : Imagine you are going to YBK for Kolkata Derby. The ticket costs a nominal Rs. 50 or so, But then if you are from Northern suburban Kolkata, to reach YBK at first you need to take a train, then another bus or auto. Alternatively, overcrowded buses on EM bypass are your only hope if you are coming from either Barasaat or Jadavpur side. All in all it will cost you another 30-40 Rs. extra on transport.

But here I am, watching a Bundeshliga game between two German footballing giants Schalke 04 and Bayer Leverkusen. Schalke's home ground Veltins arena is some 30 odd km away from my home, and the transport is free!! Yes, on a matchday, your match ticket is your pass for train, bus and tram.



In the field, the match is played for 90 minutes, but the 'game' for the fans last much longer. The moment you step into a train in the direction of Gelsenkirchen, the home of Schalke 04, one notices supporters wearing team t-shirts and scarves. And once we were in the town, it was all covered in blue-white, the team colour. Even the local church had blue and white flags hanging from its window. From the train station we took a tram to the stadium. Of course, the tram was packed with Schalke supporters.

A five minutes' walk from the tram stop took us outside Veltins arena, and wow! It was a site. A vast see of blue and white, singing and waving scarves. You can notice a singing stream of red, too. Those are the Leverkusen supporters. Police made sure the two sides remain separated and any emotional outburst could be kept to a few heated exchanges of words from a distance.

The stadium can only be reached through automated gates. The bar code on your ticket would let you in, and after a thorough body check by security guards, you are finally inside the Veltins arena. A packed stadium was really helpful to boost the morale of the team. A gigantic team jersey was held up in the gallery when the team anthem was played.

In Kolkata, or let's say in India in general, to spend a quality weekend with your girlfriend or wife you would take her to CCD or Barista, or maybe to an IPL match if you can afford it, but not to a high voltage football game. Not unless she is used to the filth in and around the stadium loo, the chaos at the gate and foul words flowing all around. But here in Germany, a football stadium is another very good option to spend quality time with your loved one.

Veltins arena has a restaurant, a gym, a souvenir shop, even a casino inside. And if you are here just for the game but don't mind a quick drink, snacks and beer counters in the stadium are there for you. It was the first time for my wife in any sort of sports arena, and she just loved the experience.

Inside, the atmosphere was electrifying with songs and drum beats and synchronized claps of the supporters. Of course Leverkusen fans were outnumbered 57,000 to 4,000. Leverkusen came in with a 3 win - 0 loss record in Bundesliga this season compared to 2 losses - 1 draw of Schalke. A win was desperately needed, and understandably, emotions were high during the game.

Every good move was appreciated with claps, and any mistake by a Schalke player was rued for a second, but followed by immediate cheering to lift up his spirit. Despite their mistakes, no one was ever shouting foul words at the players. There were occasional songs with lots of "shit" in it, directed to the opposition, but that is very much part of the German football culture and no one takes that personally. A scene from the 1st half.

The focus was on Kevin-Prince Boateng on his Bundesliga debut. Coming straight from AC Milan on Friday 30th, he was in the playing eleven on Saturday. Unlike his role in the central midfield in Milan, at Schalke he has been given no. 9 and was playing as one of the two strikers in a 4-4-2 formation. Upfront, he was combining well with Peruvian Farfan, but his contribution to the game in this unusual position was limited to a misconnected shot, deflected by a Leverkusen defender and a good header from a Farfan cross, brilliantly saved by the goalkeeper; both in the 2nd half.

His striking partner Farfan had his moment of glory on the 83rd minute when he converted a well-earned spot kick. Also he delivered the ball from a free kick 30 yards out that was deflected in by Marco Hoger on the 30th minute. The combination of Farfan and the Japanese right back Uchida was phenomenal in the game. Uchida came in his team defense by clearing dangerous balls on a couple of occasions. For the most part of the first half, the game was locked in the midfield and attacking third with both teams failing to create many clear chances.

2nd half was much better for the home team as there midfielder general Julian Draxler, who had a quite 1st half, was in his true colours. The final whistle after 2 added minutes kick started celebrations all around; the much needed win in Bundesliga has finally been achieved.

The long queue outside the souvenir shop told us that the club must have achieved some new fans with the day's performance. The celebration continued on our way back home. All the people around us - happy with their team's victory over a powerful opponent - sang their heart out in support. In the tram the celebration continued but eventually faded out, as the crowd had dispersed by the time we have reached the train station.

Most of these fans will not have a chance to travel all the way to Mainz in the coming weekend for another Bundesliga encounter. But still their hearts will travel with the team, shouting 'Schalke null vier' (Schalke 04), irrespective of a win or loss. This spirit of the supporters is what keeps a team alive, not by swearing at the team players, and neither at the opponent.

I hope Indian fans, especially Kolkata fans, will learn the skill of positive supporting soon. Football in our own country is at the crossroads. The spirit of the fans will decide which way it will progress.

GUEST COLUMN FROM : Gelsenkirchen, Germany - Debmalya Banerjee for www.kolkatafootball.com

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