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Asian Cup diaries: Indian football's goodwill and the Nepali connection

The Asian Cup is a virtual mini-World Cup where press from across Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas are present.
The Asian Cup is a virtual mini-World Cup where press from across Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas are present.

The goodwill for Indian football at the Asian Cup encompasses a wide variety of journalists, who spot India on the accreditation lanyard and then start talking positively. The Asian Cup is a virtual mini-World Cup, and press from across Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas are present to keep an eye on emerging talents, or looking for angles on stories associated with coaches who have a link to their specific region.

The Indian Super League (ISL) seems to have marked India out as a football country...

Asian Cup diaries: Double punched in the stomach at dinner time

Indian team poses for a photo ahead of the kick-off against Bahrain.
What the Asian Cup will miss most is the buzz about the Indian team.

Having watched the Indian men's hockey team lose their much-anticipated World Cup quarterfinal just a month ago in Bhubaneswar, the elimination against Bahrain after a late penalty in the Asian Cup was like being double punched in the stomach at dinner time.

The odds were stacked so well for India, that a friend and her husband actually chose not to come to Sharjah, because they were that sure that they would watch the team in their round of 16 game again in Dubai.

To be fair, objective journalists...

Mohun Bagan coach quits after loss to Real Kashmir FC

Mohun Bagan coach Shankarlal Chakraborty resigned from the job after the team's 2-1 home loss to I-League debutants Real Kashmir FC on Sunday, citing his 'moral responsibility' to do so.

Mohun Bagan's title hopes are all but over as they suffered their second consecutive defeat after losing to Neroca FC. "I've informed the club officials that I do not wish to stay anymore. Now it's up to the club to take a call," Chakraborty said at the post-match news conference.

Mohun Bagan have a packed...

Sandhu, Jhingan, and Thapa: The Chandigarh boys are India's spine

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is now India's undisputed first-choice goalkeeper.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has become India's undisputed no.1

In the annals of Indian football, there's not been too much of a storied history of the northern Indian union territory of Chandigarh -- most Punjab players have been from the villages closer to Hoshiarpur, Mahilpur, Mithapur and Ludhiana -- which shouldn't come as a major surprise considering the relative newness of the city itself.

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The form of Sunil Chhetri (centre) will again be key to India's chances.

When India last played the AFC Asian Cup in 2011, they were level with their opponents for a total of 17 minutes across three matches. Is 2019 and their return to the elite Asian fold going to be any different? Or should some of the ground realities be considered when setting expectations from Stephen Constantine's team?

India, ranked at a 22-year-high of 97, are the 15th-best in Asia, which technically puts them in sight of a round-of-16 place in the 24-team event in the UAE. Fact is, this is just...