ISL diaries: Dhanarajan tribute and the sacking of Lobera

I-League club Gokulam Kerala handed over the ticket sales revenue, worth Rs. 5.60 lakh, from its home game against Churchill Brothers, to the late Dhanarajan’s family.

Expressing solidarity: Dhanarajan, 39, had played for Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan SC among other clubs. He died while playing a seven-a-side match for FC Perintalmanna in Perintalmanna, Kerala, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

 

Several Indian Super League (ISL) players offered solidarity to the late footballer Dhanarajan Radhakrishnan, who passed away in December while playing in Malapuram’s Sevens football tournament.

Dhanarajan, 39, had played for Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan SC among other clubs. He died while playing a seven-a-side match for FC Perintalmanna in Perintalmanna, Kerala, after a cardiac arrest.

Several ISL players supported I-League club Gokulam Kerala’s initiative of handing over around ₹ 5.60 lakh — the ticket sales revenue generated from the home game against Churchill Brothers — to his family.

Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri (220 tickets), Kerala Blasters skipper Sandesh Jhingan (1000), Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Amrinder Singh (500) and Chennaiyin FC midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh had all purchased tickets for the game.

“To help Dhanaraj paaji’s family, I have bought 1,000 tickets for you. I can’t come to the stadium because of my injury. I would love for you all to get those tickets and go to the stadium and support Dhanaraj bhai’s family. Please come in large numbers,” said Jhingan.

Two time ISL champion Chennaiyin FC, too, brought 1,00 tickets.

Gokulam had extended invitations to Dhanarajan’s wife, Archana, and daughter, Shivani, for the game and it handed over the cheque to them at the EMS Stadium, Kozhikode.

Coyle weaves his magic at Chennaiyin

Owen Coyle’s first season in India has gotten off to a cracking start as the Scotsman has guided Chennaiyin FC to five wins in eight matches, three more than what his predecessor John Gregory managed all of last season. The two-time ISL champion has gone from strength to strength, netting 15 goals in four successive wins, and now sits fifth on the table with a strong chance of making it to the playoffs. Chennaiyin’s star striker Nerijus Valskis also leads the race for the Golden Boot with 12 goals to his name.

FC Goa shockingly sacks Lobera

Looks like there’s trouble in paradise at FC Goa as the management terminated the contracts of coach Sergio Lobera and his two assistants.

Troubled times: FC Goa has sacked its head coach Sergio Lobera ahead of the ISL playoffs.   -  SPORTZPICS / ISL

 

The move comes at a juncture when the side is second on the table and is engaged in a battle for the top slot to claim the coveted AFC Champions League berth.

While the club’s statement said the two parties mutually agreed to separate ways, reports have suggested there was a discord between the senior players and Lobera, which had been brewing for a while, and that the management thought it was best to let the Spanish coach depart before the play-offs.

The club has named Lobera’s assistant and former India footballer Clifford Miranda as the interim manager, who will be assisted by technical director Derrick Pereira.

Berating referees

There isn’t a press conference that goes without Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat berating the referees. It was more of the same during BFC’s back-to-back home games against Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC. On the eve of the match against Odisha, Cuadrat went on a nearly 10-minute monologue on referees and had to reminded by a scribe that the initial question was not really about refereeing. Ahead of the Hyderabad contest, when he was asked whether he was in favour of reducing the number of players from abroad, he connected that too to the refereeing.

On the attack: On the eve of the match against Odisha, Brengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat went on a nearly 10-minute monologue on referees and had to reminded by a scribe that the initial question was not really about refereeing.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

 

Mere increase in the number of Indians, both players and referees, without looking at the quality will do no good, he stated. As if on cue, the referee in the BFC-Hyderabad game booked Nishu Kumar for a foul committed by Suresh Wangjam and the situation seemed ripe for another dressing down, only for Cuadrat to sport an exasperated look and just say: “you can’t do mistakes game after game, it’s crazy.” The Catalan, it appears, has given up.

By Aashin Prasad, Shyam Vasudevan & N. Sudarshan