Category Archives: Football

An open letter to Sachin Tendulkar

Dear Sachin,

I am not sure how many such letters you would have received over your lifetime, but if I had to guess, I would say too many. And if I had to guess how many of them have been read by you, I would say none. However, I cannot let that discourage me. I believe my cause (let's face it, if there was no cause, there would be no letter), selfish though it may sound at the outset, has the potential to change the way the people of our country live.

I am not writing to tell you anything about your retirement or about how you should play more or play longer. I am not writing to ask you what is your next milestone. I am not writing to even mention cricket. Except that one mention here. You are the greatest sportsperson that our country has ever produced. I am not referring to talent, or your achievements. You are the greatest ever, only because no other sportsperson has managed to be an ambassador for India as you have. You are feared, respected, loved, adored, cheered and booed all at the same time, with the same intensity anywhere on this planet. The fact that the entire planet has Indians in all parts might have something to do with it should be ignored. The sport and your fellow citizens have given you a lot. We have made you what you are. Now that you are contemplating the removal of that irritating abdomen guard (I understand) for good, I believe it is the perfect time for me to make a plea.

The joy that we have got from looking at you doing what anyone does best is unparalleled. We Indians have now got used to watching the best in the world showcase their talent in our land. It is a habit that is extremely difficult to get out of. But you are aging, beautifully, but aging nevertheless. Given the fact that you owe a lot to us, it is now your turn to pay back. We don't want any part of your hard earned, and deservedly so, income. Over the years, you have made a lot of friends across the world. Each one of them achievers in their own right. Some of them the best in their business. These men/women respect you as much as you respect them. Coming straight to the point, I request you to convince them to showcase their talent in India.

Imagine Roger Federed vs Rafael Nadal in Chennai. Imagine Kobe Bryant dunking in Bangalore. Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo vs Messi in Mumbai. Imagine Formula 1 cars screaming across a track in Delhi. Ok, you don't need to imagine that. Money makes money they say. But I don't know how much money can be made out of this. I am sure lots. I can help you find out if you ask me to. And I can find others who will too. None of them would do it just for the money. They all have enough of it.  What we need more than money, is give these champions a reason. And I am not talking about them dribbling balls or dunking them for 20 minutes. I am talking about them showing us how competitive they are. I am talking about them having at least a few full blown matches. I know it is not impossible for you. And your sponsors.

I know none of them will ever ply their trade in India. They shouldn't. We can't manage that. But recent events have shown that if these professionals land, we will keep the stands full. I don't know of any other Indian who can do this. And very soon, you will have the time to do this as well. I request you. I plead you, to please give this a serious thought. For us. For India.

Thank you.

With highest regards,

Aditya Kandala
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Please find me a wife who will do this

I couldn’t stop smiling the entire length of the video. The groom’s reactions are just perfect. Just like the rendition of the Champions League Anthem.

People keep asking me what kind of wife I want. Up there is the answer. I swear on everything holy, I will be her slave for life.



(Hattip for the video: Ashay Kubal)

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World Cup Draw


So finally the draw for the Fifa World Cup 2010 in South Africa has been declared. It was quite a ceremony hosted by the South African Charlize Theron.

The draw is quite exciting and I must say that most of the groups are unpredictable with this being a home tournament for the African teams.

Group G is going to be the 'Group of Death' this time around, with Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast and the unknown North Korea.

France meanwhile would be feeling quite lucky to have been drafted in Group A!

I am looking for my favorites Spain and defending champions Italy who have got relatively easy groups.

So onto June 2010!


Indian sports broadcasters need a lesson in strategy perhaps?

When I was 14 years old, I had a pretty tough time dealing with academics. One of the subjects I was a little better at was Math and even in that I pretty much sucked at most of the chapters. So, I decided to practice like hell what I knew best and hope that most of the questions in the exam were from those chapters. This was when my teacher told me, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

I don’t think the smart alecs at ESPN-Star Sports (ESS) had a teacher like that. ‘Why?’ you ask. Because they decided that if they have xxx million dollars, the best thing to do, is to put all of these xxx million in one stupid little wicker basket called cricket. Oh! I forgot they have one of their xxx eggs in the EPL!

The point is, in the fight against SET, Ten/Zee and Neo, they are trying their best to get the biggest television rights away from the others. So they bid a whopping $975 million for a ten year broadcast rights deal for the Airtle Champions League (ACL). What happened? It Bombed! Advertisers are asking their money back, agencies are saying they will not advertise in the ACL again and all of them want some compensation or the other! This is fine I guess in the short term for a giant like ESS. One might say that they have the next ten years to earn this money back. But what if it flops again? The IPL is with SET, cricket in India is with Neo and most of the other places locked up by Ten. ESS does have the ICC events till the next world cup but is that enough? Maybe they bit off more than they can chew.

The best thing they could have done in this case was move to other sports apart from cricket. Football comes to mind and one might say that they do have the costliest league – EPL. But again, is one event enough? They could have wrapped up the relatively cheaper La Liga as well, but they let it go off their hands. All they had to invest in was the broadcast rights and Sky gives them the rest (presenters, commentary and all). They have the sheer cheek to call them the home of football and start a campaign called ‘I Love this Game’! They say all that with one league? Neo has more football on TV than ESS! Ten even shows Barca TV and ManU TV apart from the UEFA Champions League!

The problem is, none of the sports broadcasters in India are focussed on what THEY want to do. They think they have figured out the Indian consumer better than HUL and everything they dish out is what we want to see! Well, as if we have a choice!

I think the Indian audience is mature enough for a ‘Complete’ sports broadcasting channel. And the sorry part is, as of today, even if ALL of these channels are combined, we still don’t have most of the quality sports from around the world.

No La Liga broadcast in India!

This is absolutely pathetic!

It seems ESPN Star Sports (ESS) has decided to not renew their contract to broadcast La Liga in Asia. They have to pay USD 1 million per year for these rights as opposed to 13.5 million for 3 years for the EPL – this contract expires in 2010. This is the same way they lost the rights to the UEFA Champions League and Cup broadcast to Ten Sports – this also costs 1 million per year.

Their argument is they have enough cricket and EPL in their calendar and not many people would want to watch football at midnight (which is when La Liga is played – IST). Are you kidding me? Just this year when I though there will be more Liga matches on TV thanks to Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema, Zlatan and more gong to Spain, they decide to take the plug out completely! Not to mention the number of Ronaldo fans who would now want to watch Real Madrid games!

I have no hopes from Ten Sports giving more weightage to Spanish match in the Champions League as well now. To add to all this, it seems no other channel is interested in picking up the rights for La Liga as well.

It is a sad year for football! Atleast for me…

The new Madridista :)

The Champ is finally here! Ricardo Izecson Dos Santos a.k.a. Kaka. The new number 8! I don’t however like the fact that Gago gets 5 instead. Kaka should have got 5!

Anyways, look at the bloody crowd! And I love all the Champions League trophies kept on the stage 🙂

First of three presentations in a week. Albiol next and then on to the whiner!


Hala ……..!

I have been actively hooked onto football for a really long time now. However, the first real tournament I followed was the 1998 World Cup. Just before this I was badly hooked to FIFA ’98 which I still think is one of the best football games ever! We hardly used to get a lot of football on TV before that. After that I have watched every major tournament that has been aired all these years.

It was around the same time that I got a taste of club football. The Manchester Uniteds’, the Barcelonas’, the Juventus’, Newcastle Uniteds’ (yes it was awesome then), the Chelseas’ (it quite sucked back then) of the world were all new and the fact that teams other than nations were playing was somewhat weird. The fact that not many people watched all this didn’t help increase my knowledge (quite different from now ain’t it?). But one team that somehow caught my fancy was Real Madrid Club de Futbol; it had just won the Champions League in 1998 (which I didn’t even know existed), and would win it again in 2000 (which I DID watch). It’s been 11 years, 3 World Cups, 3 European Championships, 11 Champions League, and 11 La Ligas of which I have watched all. The two teams I support, national and club, are Italy and Real Madrid. In these 11 years, Italy has won the World Cup in 2006 and reached the finals of the European Championship in 2000 losing to France in extra time. Real Madrid, has won the Champions League twice (not counting the 1998 season), been the La Liga champions 4 times and runners up 4 times; and I have watched every one of these.

It has been 11 years and I still love this club. Right when it was captained by Fernando Hierro with team mates like Raul, Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf, Davor Suker, Fernando Morientes, Fernando Redondo and 17 year old called Iker Casillas; then captained by Raul and players like Carlos, Figo, Beckham, Casillas, Ronaldo, Owen (yes, Michael Owen) and the best ever – Zinedine Zidane; right upto now, still captained by Raul and supported by Casillas (who is still only 28 and the captain of Spain),  Van Nistelrooy, Cannavaro, Robben, Segio Ramos, Sneijder, Van der Vaart, Pepe and the latest confirmed signing Kaka (don’t want to comment on Ronaldo right now)!

It has not been the best of clubs to support for the only fact that you don’t get many people on your side. You either like Real Madrid or you hate them and around here, people are too obsessed with watching the EPL (which in my opinion is only the second best league) to like Real Madrid. Yes, it does not have the best defence, it has never had, but this is not because they didn’t have enough money to splurge on defence, but because investing in defence is not what Real Madrid does. They invest in attacking players who are magicians on the pitch, defenders have never been heroes in Madrid (apart from Casillas, who should be inducted in the Hall of Fame now itself). That is how they have always played and always will play.

Los Galacticos, Los Blancos, Los Merengues, Real, Madrid are all names they are known by. But their fans are only called Madridistas. I am one, and will be for a very long time.

Hala Madrid!