Indian Football has successfully finished off with Hero ISL and Hero I-League. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing more to football than just games. It has been a massive week for India. AFC Cup has been postponed. Spanish Footballer and ex-Barcelona star, David Villa joins Odisha FC. Danish Farooq joins Bengaluru FC and an Indian Women’s football club gets a chance to participate in a major AFC tournament. Let’s have a look at each of them one by one.
AFC CUP POSTPONED
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed today that the AFC Cup 2021 Group D matches which were to be held in Maldives from May 14th to May 21st 2021 have been postponed. There was a protocol breach by Bengaluru FC. There has also been a severe rise in COVID-19 cases in Maldives. Indian clubs participating, Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan FC have been told to return back to India. AFC is in contacts with other participating clubs and officials who have not entered Maldives to cancel their arrangements. Therefore, the AFC Group D matches are postponed until further notice.
DAVID VILLA JOINS ODISHA FC FOOTBALL COMMITTEE
Ex-Barcelona and Spanish star David Villa joined Odisha FC as their Head of Global Football Operations. He has also been joined by Victor Onate and Odisha FC’s ex-coach, Josep Gombau in this committee. Gombau and Onate’s roles include advising the coaching staff, improving the Indian and youth players of the club and providing general support to the on field activities among others. Odisha FC managed to finish at the bottom of the league in this season’s ISL and have already started to improve from next season. David Villa also owns Queensboro FC which will play in the USL Championship, second division of Major League Soccer. Who know’s maybe we get to see some inter-club transfers in the future?
INDIAN SIDE TO COMPETE IN AFC WOMENS CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP PILOT TOURNAMENT
An Indian club will feature in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021 to be held later this year. The tournament will be played between October 30th to November 14th 2021. It will be a huge boost for Indian Women’s Football as the country lines up to host FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 and AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022. India will feature alongside Iran, Jordan and Uzbekistan in the Group B (West Zone). The AFC Women’s Club Championship is set to become AFC Women’s Champions League, so it will be quite an experience for the Indian clubs. AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das stated that the competition will provide a “huge boost” to women’s football in India.
DANISH FAROOQ JOINS BENGALURU FC
Bengaluru FC had their worst season recently after missing on the playoffs for the first time since joining ISL in 2017-18. They have already signed Sarthak Golui from SC East Bengal on a free transfer. Danish Farooq have also been added to their attack, after the winger joined the club on a free transfer from Real Kashmir FC. He has already won the I-league second division and IFA Shield with Real Kashmir. He is set to learn a lot from Indian captain Sunil Chettri at Bengaluru and could be the perfect addition to the likes of Udanta Singh, Aashique and Suresh.