Indian Football Scores in Cyberspace – Web site devoted to increasing fan base

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Indian football is in the doldrums, but the dedicated staff at IndianFootball.com are taking on the task of restructuring Indian football’s image.

The aim of the site is to promote football in India and on the Net, and also bring NRI (non-resident Indians)/PIO (players of Indian origin) football players to India.

The site was launched in April 1998 by Germany-based Arunava Chaudhuri. The cyber-venture started by enthusiasts has notched impressive hit volumes, reaching 750,000 single User hits marks on Aug. 11. Thanks to a boost from this year’s FIFA World Cup, the site has received 150,000 hits this year alone.

Since its launch, the staff has grown into an editorial team of nine members, which is set to grow in the coming months.

Chaudhuri works in football management and as a journalist. Chris Pannakkaattu Daniel is a graphic (multimedia) designer. Both of them are based in Germany. Sujay Sharma is an analyst for Mahindra United — a Mumbai club in the national football league. Others who form part of the staff include a school student and medical student, a youth football player and an advertising guy.

Out of the nine persons, four are based in Calcutta, one each are in Mumbai, Kochi (Kerala) and Bangalore. The Web site is looking for football writers from Goa, Arunava said.

Since its start, IndianFootball.com has been working to cover all the latest on Indian football, be it news, schedules and results from not only the high-profile national league, but also from the 2nd Division, local leagues, youth football,” Chaudhari said.

On the occasion of the new hits record, IndianFootball.com is launching two new features on the site: Indian football TV listings and youth development projects in India.

The TV listings are part of the IFC Interactive section on the main page and provides the users all the latest TV schedules for Indian football.

“If your channel has any program on Indian football, do let us know. We will post it on our TV listing page,” said Chaudhari, in response to his two new features.

IndianFootball.com has also started a feature series on football youth development projects in India, where different projects across the country will be featured on the Web site.

“To start off the series, IndianFootball.com’s Harmit Singh Kamboe conducted an interview with the SEPT project founder Arun Kumar Nanu, a project in Calicut, Kerala, which IndianFootball.Com has supported since its start,” Chaudhari said.

The staff has also launched a partnership with the English football associations to offer an online learning qualification, Psychology for Soccer Level 1.

“This pioneering project is the first of its kind to be provided by any football governing body and is available to anyone with access to the Internet,” Chaudhuri said. “All one needs is an interest in learning more on the subject and an email address.”

IndianFootball.com is also holding a contest on the most popular Indian football players and teams. Voting via cyberspace takes place for the best player of the year, best foreign player, rookie of the year, best coach and team of the year.

“It is not always easy to run IndianFootball.com sitting in Germany, but it is fun for us as real Indian football fans and we enjoy our work,” Chaudhuri said.

The IndianFootball.com Awards 2006 final round voting is still continuing. More than 2,500 people have cast their votes so far. To pick a nominee, visit here.

Another new feature that has recently been added since the Germany World Cup is the roster of players of Indian origin.

“To be listed as a player of Indian origin one must play professionally, semi-pro, for an academy, or have been part of their state or national youth selections. Who gets invited or selected is decided by the Indian coaches. We just help them to trace, contact and invite players to have their bio listed on their site,” he said.

One section lists the eligible and the other lists non-eligible players. In the eligible section, 64 players are listed, including four women players.

Article by Armstrong Augusto Vaz

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