Philippines, Afghanistan or Maldives: Who should be in Nehru Cup 2012 ?

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The haze around the teams which are going to be part of the 2012 Nehru Cup football tournament to be hosted by Indian football federation AIFF is becoming clearer now.

It has been reliably learnt that the Nehru Cup 2012 will have 5 teams including India. Syria, Jordan and Kenya have confirmed their participation which leaves room for one last team.

This being a marquee event, AIFF will surely try to bring at least one top tier team from Africa to increase the attraction. The negotiation with Nigeria the Super Eagles failed. The Nigerian FA was willing to participate but due to the opposition of the Nigerian football team coach, they backed out.


At this moment, AIFF is negotiating with two other top-tier African teams. One of them, Cameroon, has given verbal agreement but AIFF is still awaiting their written commitment on the matter.

Cameroon are ranked 59th in FIFA Rankings. Just 2 rungs down at 61 is Senegal who are being seen as a backup in case Cameroon does not participate.

What if  both these teams back out? AIFF have got interests from 3 other nations namely Afghanistan, Maldives and Philippines the Azkals.

On Philippines

The AzkalsThe Azkals may have defeated us in the AFC Challenge Cup concluded recently in Nepal but they are not the team I would like to see in Nehru Cup. They are very inconsistent. The reason for this is that they depend heavily on foreigners who somehow have some Filipino connection. The home grown talent is negligible. One of the proofs is their recent debacle in the AFC U22 Championship Qualifiers. If the players manage to assemble from all over the world in the last moment, they will be a good team. But during the period of this tournament, it is highly unlikely that those players will be released by their respective clubs.

Verdict: Thumbs Down

On Maldives

Maldives have a great player in their team, namely Ashfaq Ali. Another exciting player is Thoriq, though he is semi-consistent. Although I would say yes for these to players, they are not exciting as a team. Their performance in SAFF Cup 2011 was poor to say the  least. Recently they got thrashed by Turkmenistan whom we have made a habit of thrashing. So they would not be a competitive side. And aren’t we bored of them?

Verdict: May be

On Afghanistan

Afghanistan have improved vastly in a short time. From favourite whipping boys 2 years back to the finalists in SAFF Championship was a great leap. And even in the final, they showed that they were worthy of the place. It would have been exciting to see how the match would have turned up without the red-card to Afghanistan. Till 70 minutes they gave a tough time and then conceded a penalty. Afghan captain and goalkeeper lost his cool and pushed the referee. Then it was 4-0 for India in 20 minutes. Every Indian and Afghan football fan would want another game to be played between India and Afghanistan. And what better opportunity than Nehru Cup? The memories, the rivalries are all fresh in our mind. So let us play!

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Somesh Upadhyay is the editor and co-founder of Indian Football Network. He has been closely following Indian Football for more than 12 years and is extremely passionate about it.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Have u ever thought of Nepal
    Powerhouse of south Asia

    Come on call them and test your skills
    They were the most impressive team in every tournament they played but lack of good results

  2. Indian authosr sucks.

    Last Challenge cup they said that the Philippines is Not a Serious contender.

    And now Philippines are very inconsistent.

    I think you don't want to lose again.

  3. "At this moment, AIFF is negotiating with two other top-tier African teams. One of them, Cameroon, has given verbal agreement but AIFF is still awaiting their written commitment on the matter."

    Please Invite the Ajax cape town.

  4. "Philippines the Azkals".—– oh come on if you would put a "constructive" criticism on print could you at least get your facts straight?, you don't even know the name of the team. May I suggest you check your sports news or maybe the latest FIFA ranking. I believe that says alot.

    By the way to save you the trouble its The Phillippine National Team. Azkals is the team monicker.

  5. because our national team defeated yours made your thumbs down? oh come on! don't bury your grudges on us. first of all, your national team showed poor game against us. it is always noticed that we mostly of the time have the ball. your nearest attempt was few meters from the goal, at its the nearest. Sorry pals, I'm just stating my opinions. no hard feeling. :D

  6. By just reading the remarks the writer has for our team, it clearly shows that until now they haven't recovered yet after feeling down on the Azkals last March. The writer is so good……..in making fancy excuses.

  7. You gotta let the Azkals join your own competition, why? First off, you said that our team depends mostly on our foreign-based players. So, this is your chance to prove that no matter how many strong players we have, still your team is the better. Secondly, for your team to have the redemption after losing on the Azkals last Challenge Cup. If your team is the better, match with us baby! Prove it baby! Not unless your afraid of having another defeat against our team.

  8. What kind of report is this? This is biased. Every journalists (or those trying to be one) know that the reports they post or submit shouldn't be lop-sided (I mean favoring one and not the other). This guy prefers Afghanistan to play but disregarding Philippines and Maldives, probably it's because he doesn't want his national team to lose again to Philippines, calling them "foreigners" when in fact none of them were naturalized. They have at least one Filipino (either father or mother) parent, how can you call them foreigners? Of course you won't expect them to still look like 100% Filipino when most of them have one white parent.

  9. "The Azkals may have defeated us in the AFC Challenge Cup concluded recently in Nepal but they are not the team I would like to see in Nehru Cup. They are very inconsistent. The reason for this is that they depend heavily on foreigners who somehow have some Filipino connection. The home grown talent is negligible. One of the proofs is their recent debacle in the AFC U22 Championship Qualifiers. If the players manage to assemble from all over the world in the last moment, they will be a good team. But during the period of this tournament, it is highly unlikely that those players will be released by their respective clubs.

    Verdict: Thumbs Down" -PATHETIC, just admit that Southeast Asians are better :)).

  10. I agree with Fly Bat. Philippines NT overpowered your India NT in the Challenge Cup last March. "Somehow have Filipino connection?" They truly have one, not just "somehow". They're half Filipinos meaning they are Filipinos. And like what Fly Bat stated, only 2-3 europe based-players (Fil-Foreign) were present during the CCup, meaning the rest of the squad were playing not abroad 'cause they have their local league in the Phil where they play. Well, I guess "Nehru Cup" is an opportunity for you guys to have some revenge against them. Good day.

  11. Philippines should be in this tournament…The PHLteam that defeated India in the Challenge Cup called up only 2-3 Europe based players.Niel Etheridge.Paul Maulders and Ray Johnson…Juani Guirado played for GLobal FC that time…Most of them played in UFL or PHL local league..

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