Indian footballers win hearts despite Asian Cup exit

first_img0Shares0000India did not even quality for the last Asian Cup, but dared to dream of glory after stunning Thailand 4-1 in their opening match in the United Arab Emirates © AFP / Karim SAHIBNEW DELHI, India, Jan 15 – Football fans and pundits were full of praise for India Tuesday even as an injury-time penalty cost the Blue Tigers an unlikely spot in the Asian Cup knockout stages and prompted the coach to resign.Despite its giant population India is a footballing minnow at a lowly 97th in FIFA’s world rankings, and its players are used to being overshadowed by the nation’s glamorous millionaire cricketers. They did not even qualify for the last Asian Cup, but dared to dream of glory after stunning Thailand 4-1 in their opening match in the United Arab Emirates.Having lost to the hosts in their second match, the 0-0 scoreline going into injury time in their final match Monday against Bahrain would have been sufficient to see India through.But a rash foul by skipper Pronay Halder gave Bahrain a penalty, converted coolly by Jamal Rashed.The Hindu daily said India had “won hearts aplenty” with their performances, earning plaudits as they “threw their bodies at the ball, defended doggedly and put up a fearless display.”“The Indians had endured a long journey to rub shoulders with Asia’s best. Unfortunately for them, the journey ends here,” the newspaper said.Coach Stephen Constantine stepped down after the game, but said “the boys have exceeded expectations” and that he was “exceptionally proud of the players for everything that they’ve given” © AFP/File / Khaled DESOUKIESPN India said the bid to reach the knockout stages had been thwarted “in the most diabolical of ways”.Coach Stephen Constantine stepped down after the game, but said “the boys have exceeded expectations” and that he was “exceptionally proud of the players for everything that they’ve given”.Beaten finalists on their 1964 Asian Cup debut when it was a four-team competition, India last qualified in 2011 when they were thrashed in every game and let in 13 goals.“The positives are, the team is much fitter. Full credit goes to Stephen Constantine that he has made it very cohesive, very fit,” commentator and author Novy Kapadia told AFP.“He has made the team that plays to a game plan.”– ‘Heartbreaking loss’ –Fans too chose to highlight the good moments on the field.“We loved the way India played, especially against Thailand. They fought hard against UAE and Bahrain. Keep it up. Way to go..” said a Twitter user, Amit Jain.The 0-0 scoreline going into injury time in India’s final match Monday against Bahrain would have been sufficient to see them through © AFP / Karim Sahib“Heartbreaking loss. but full marks to Chhetri and company for making us hope. lov u guys,” wrote another, Jaya Singh.Indian defender Sandeep Jhingan thanked the fans.“We defended like warriors and the defeat is really hard to take,” said Jhingan.“Disappointed seeing how it turned out but we can only go upwards from here. Proud of the boys and we thank the fans for their support.”But despite the Asian Cup heroics, cricket remains the only game in town for most Indians.Striker Sunil Chhetri overtook Lionel Messi in international goals during the tournament, but few Indians would even recognise their football talisman.Millions of Indians do watch England’s Premier League, but 34-year-old Chhetri has spent most of his club career in India’s domestic leagues, barring brief stints with Kansas City Wizards and Sporting Clube de Portugal’s reserves.India’s football players are used to being overshadowed by the nation’s glamorous millionaire cricketers © AFP / Karim SahibLast year Chhetri made an emotional plea to Indians to fill empty stadiums after just 2,569 turned up to watch the national team play in the Inter-Continental Cup in Mumbai.But in a celebrity scene dominated by Bollywood actors and cricketers, footballers rarely make a broader impact beyond the sports pages.“Cricket is number one, every other sport has to accept that they can only compete for the number two spot,” Kapadia said.He added: “We shouldn’t get carried away (by the Asian Cup performance). It is a step forward. The team is still not World Cup material”.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Best present

first_imgI have much to be thankful for this holiday season. I have my job and a decent man for an employer. I have my wonderful family, a nice house to live in and my health. More importantly, I have my freedom: I can (even in this paranoid time) come and go at my pleasure. I can say whatever is on my mind, and I can defend myself and my family. All this is mine because I live in what is still, without a doubt, the greatest country on the planet. And anyone who reads this has the given right to disagree with every word I may write. So in our headlong holiday rush, think of this: The reason we are as free as we are is due to a wonderful document called the Bill of Rights, celebrated on Dec. 15. It is the best Christmas present we, as Americans, have. Daniel F. Taylor Tujunga Health or food Re “Elderly caught selling prescriptions” (Dec. 13): When I first saw the article about elderly people selling their prescriptions in Kentucky, I thought that’s good police work. Upon reading further, I saw that they were selling them to get food to eat. I then realized what a “great” president George W. Bush is – giving us a health program that is probably lagging behind the health services we are providing in Iraq. I also see that Bush called the new drug plan “perplexing but a good deal, and people should sign up for it.” That sounds like an Enron representative I once spoke with. Hal Gold Woodland Hills Blacks and pollution Re “Worst air in black areas” (Dec. 14): As usual, the leftist Associated Press has basic economics backward. The poor (blacks) live in polluted areas because they are cheap to live in. Nobody is going to site a smelter in Beverly Hills; the land values are simply too high. In other words, the poor voluntarily are drawn to polluted areas by iron laws of economics, which liberals are a little fuzzy about. There is no conspiracy to force them there. So long as there are differences in land values, rich and poor will automatically sort themselves out. James F. Glass Chatsworth Slavery thrives Re “Training starts to spot slaves” (Dec. 14): When some goon says he’s taking your hard-earned money to spend as he pleases, you are but a slave to your master. When that goon tells you how you will vote in an election, you are his slave. Then he tells you you cannot work for a charitable cause the “massa” ain’t getting paid. What else can you be but a slave? Yes, slavery is alive and well in America. It just goes by a different name: unionism. The union bosses take, order and extort from their slaves (members) as they please. What others use such intimidation, much as slave masters do, to keep members on the plantation? Bob Tanabe La Cañada Turning down free Regarding “LAUSD may pay for once-free land”: Where is Ross Perot when you need him? Barry Brenner Woodland Hills An orange stripe I drive to and from work every day, crossing the Orange Line busway twice at Woodley Avenue and Victory Boulevard. The primary paint color of these buses is a neutral gray, which blends with the surroundings like camouflage. Why not paint a wide bright orange line completely around the bus so it stands out? This would be appropriate and draw attention to its presence. It certainly wouldn’t prevent accidents from the stupidity of bad drivers, but that needs to be addressed by the police or by mounting a “cow catcher.” Roger Oeland Van Nuys Global warming? Re “First steps” (Your Opinions, Dec. 13): Scientists are far from a general consensus on this subject. Some experts believe that global warming does not exist at all; more, that it is no threat to humanity; and yet more, that it is not caused by fossil-fuel emissions, but by natural climate changes that take place over centuries, not just the few decades that the believers in global warming examine. Finally, some scientists and laymen alike see this new “threat” as a ploy for poor countries to humiliate and get money from rich countries, especially the big, bad United States, by playing on our sympathy and guilt. President George W. Bush’s prudence is a welcome change from the media hysteria about this issue. Sylvia Alloway Granada Hills Uninformed ideas Re “Working class” (Your Opinions, Dec. 12): As a teacher, I agree that our educational system is not working to its full potential. However, teachers have no say in how they are paid or what holidays they will receive. Secondly, why would anyone attend college for four years and then pay for and participate in a credential program for a minimum of a year in which they student-teach (without pay) for 16 weeks of full-time work, only to be told to collect unemployment during the school breaks. That is an absolutely ridiculous idea. Also, my school district would not be able to afford to pay me or any other teacher an hourly rate for all of the hours that are logged outside of school hours. Not all teachers are good, but the majority of us do not deserve to be bashed by the uninformed. Rachael Pillar Palmdale Pluralistic society Re “If not for” and “Overpowering PC” (Your Opinions, Dec. 13): Letter writers Paul Vaughn and Sion Colvin and columnist Bill O’Reilly have got it wrong on all counts. This is a pluralistic society, not a Christian society. Merchants saying “Happy holidays” or “Season’s greetings” are being inclusive, not anti-Christian. Christmas was set to coincide with pagan holidays around the solstice, as we do not know when Jesus was actually born. And those who insist that only the narrower greeting of “Merry Christmas” will do are the real PC police. David Holland Northridge Not now or ever Re “Overpowering PC” (Your Opinions, Dec. 13): Letter writer Sion Colvin is 100 percent incorrect in writing that America is “a Christian country.” America is not now, has never been and will never become “a Christian country” as long as millions of non-Christians, such as myself, have anything to do about it. Thomas R. Atkins Sherman Oaks Or lacking mercy I was somewhat surprised to see the headline “No mercy” on the Dec. 13 paper. The large headline says “No mercy,” but the story is about Stanley Tookie Williams, AKA “the murderer” in my book. I am assuming the Daily News will soon have the same headline – in much larger type, of course – and the story to follow will be about the four people murdered by this Tookie guy. Can you say “gurgle” as in the delight expressed by this Tookie guy? Ray P. Keesler La Crescenta No difference Who gained when Stanley Tookie Williams was executed? Did it bring back his victims? It is understandable but regrettable that the victim’s families want revenge. But the state’s killing a man – whether guilty or not – is ethically the same as what he did. It promotes the idea that violence and revenge are solutions to problems. We witness daily how well revenge works in Israel and Palestine. There is little evidence that capital punishment lowers the murder rate. If we were really serious about this eye-for-an-eye stuff, we should execute the sentencing judge whenever an innocent man is executed. Bob Schultz Lake View Terrace Beliefs Some people believe in “intelligent design,” just as some people believe that if you put a horsehair in a bottle of water it will turn into a snake. George Atkinson Sherman Oaks AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more