Simpson may return only as consultant
TFA boys arrive to bolster Tollygunge
Soccer treat in store for city
The Stud, Alygator impress
Eight for tomorrow’s main event

Calcutta, Aug. 9: 
Fourteen months after the Board turned down a plea from many seniors, that Bobby Simpson be retained consultant, some within it have begun whispering Simpson be contracted yet again — this time, as coach.

Given a voice, the players would themselves pitch in with something similar. Pretty vociferously, as well. Only, in these parts, the cricket-cookie doesn’t quite crumble that way.

The whispering-campaign, of course, has coincided with more trouble for present coach Kapil Dev. Though Kapil’s appointment is for two years (till September 2001), his performance can be reviewed at the Board’s AGM next month.

“The AGM is the appropriate forum... Nothing stops the body from reviewing any appointment. In any case, the two-year bit isn’t strictly there in black-and-white. It’s largely only an understanding,” pointed out a well-placed Board source, speaking exclusively.

That Kapil’s tenure thus far has seen negligible gains and huge losses is bound to weaken the argument of those who may still back him to the hilt.

In fact, as was reported in these columns last Saturday, the move to look for a successor could even begin at the Board’s working committee meeting — in Bangalore, ten days from now.

However Simpson, Australia’s first World Cup-winning (1987) coach who is now with Lancashire, won’t oblige. Even if the Board makes a formal offer.

“I wouldn’t like to go into details, but I’ve already indicated full-time coaching of a national side is out. That’s been my stand for some years; it won’t change,” Simpson told The Telegraph.

Simpson’s decade-plus association (as coach) with the Australian team ended with the 1996 World Cup.

But, what if the Board again sought to enlist him as consultant — a position he held between August 1998 (the contract was signed earlier that year) and June 1999?

Speaking from Manchester, this morning, Simpson replied: “Well, a clear-cut answer will only be forthcoming after I’ve been sounded out on specifics... At the moment, without details, I can’t honestly say anything else.”

Though Simpson is on contract with Lancashire till September 2001, he will be free of major commitments between end-September this year and early-April next.

During our winter, however, Simpson will have “certain work” in Australia.

“It’s not that I’ll be engaged throughout the Australian summer, but I do have commitments to honour. I’m still involved with the Australian Cricket Board...” Simpson explained.

The International Cricket Council, too, routinely deputes Simpson to emerging cricket nations: The last such assignment took him to Nepal.

It’s significant that Simpson continues to remain on excellent terms with a clutch of Indian players — captain Sourav Ganguly downwards.

In an affectionate gesture, incidentally, Simpson had invited the team over for dinner (tandoori chicken featured on the menu) during one of the halts in Sydney, last season.

With Simpson not keen, Aunshuman Gaekwad already dumped and Krishnamachari Srikkanth overlooked last year itself, it’s intriguing who the Board will fall back on should Kapil either quit or be ‘persuaded’ to do so.

If the Sandeep Patil, Madanlal and Gaekwad examples are followed, the logical choice will be Roger Binny. But, then, Binny is doing a fantastic job with the juniors and if the Board actually has vision, it wouldn’t even think of disturbing him.


Calcutta, Aug. 9: 
Tollygunge Agragami, bolstered by the arrival of five former TFA boys in their ranks, are hoping to grab a point when they meet East Bengal in a crucial Super Division tie at the Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow.

Mohammed Kaiser, Samson Singh, Satish Bharti, Sumit Sur and Salil Duley — all back from the under-19 national camp — signed for Tollygunge yesterday. The presence of Prashanta Dora has also come in as a big relief and coach Shankar Moitra is hoping to turn things around.

Kaiser and Samson is expected to add a touch of dash in the forwardline. This will enable Moitra to strengthen the midfield with Felix, Shasthi Duley, Seriki Abdulateef and Bhabani Mohanty.

Tollygunge need four points from their remaining three matches — versus East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Salkia Friends — to make it to the Super Five.

East Bengal are also not short on confidence despite the impasse over Rennedy Singh. And today Syed Nayeemuddin and his players decided to stay clear off any controversy.

Rennedy joins practice

The impasse over his transfer is yet to be sorted out but Rennedy Singh joined practice at the Mohun Bagan ground this morning. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya was satisified with his condition.

Behala hold Rajasthan

Behala Youth held Rajasthan goalless in a first division group A match at the East Bengal ground .

In group B, Muslim Institute defeated Bowbazar YM Union 3-1. A. Ansari, S Rehman and Swapan Sarkar struck for the winners while Shantu Nandi reduced the margin for Bowbazar YM Union.

Calcutta Police overcame Aikya Sammilani by a Mohammed Firoz Khan goal. Barisha SC scraped past Ever Ready Association by a similar margin, Joydeb Chowdhury being the scorer.    

New Delhi, Aug. 9: 
The International Millennium Cup will be staged in Calcutta in January 2001, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi said at a press briefing today.

He said that the tournament will be organised by the AIFF, with their new marketing company, the Mumbai based Studio 2100.

Das Munshi said that after several days of negotiations, a deal was struck with Studio 2100 in Mumbai on March 14.

The semi finals and final of the International Millennium Cup will be staged in Calcutta but the group matches may be shared with another venue, either in Kerala or Delhi.

According to Das Munshi 12 to 16 teams are likely to participate in the tournament. He said that so far Colombia had confirmed their entry and Uruguay and Japan had shown interest.

However it is not certain whether the above countries will send their professional side, national A side or Olympic side.

The telecast rights for this tournament have not yet been finalised. The AIFF had directed Studio 2100 to conduct negotiations with Doordarshan.

However according to Das Munshi, Zee TV had also shown interest and are being asked to negotiate. The bid for telecast rights is being thrown open to all TV companies.

The AIFF president also said that due to this meet, the dates for the forthcoming National League will be readjusted. He said the National League is likely to start in November this year and will be held in two stages.

The first phase will conclude prior to the start of the International Millennium Cup and the second phase will commence after the tournament.

About the fixtures of the Durand Cup, the IFA Shield and the Rovers Cup, Das Munshi said a meeting will be held next week and the calendar of events will be announced in the last week of August.

He added that as it was the centenary year of the Rovers Cup, they would get preference in allotment of dates.

India’s pre-World Cup match schedule has also been finalised. India kick off their group 8 programme, against UAE on April 8 in Calcutta and the return match will be in Dubai on April 26.

In the period between April 8 and May 10 India will also play home and away matches against their other group opponents, Brunei and Yemen. There home matches will be in Calcutta and Delhi.

Das Munshi said that the chairman of Fifa’s technical committee, Mohammed Bin Hammam, has assured him that a foreign coach will be finalised for India within the next month. Three coaches have been short-listed, Roy Miller of Northern Ireland, Frenz Zenbin of France and Stici Binic of Russia.

The AIFF shall also discuss long term matters of planning and exposure with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on August 16 in Delhi.    

Calcutta, Aug. 9: 
The Stud, Alygator and Artifact were impressive from among the following horses seen exercised today:

Outer sand track

1,600m: The Stud (Upadhya) and Master Charlie (Brij) in 2-3s; (800m) 58 3/5s; (400m) 27 3/5s. Former a length better.

1,400m: Fame Star (Amil) in 1-51s; (400m) 29 1/5s. Easy.

1,200m: Tejeni (Amil) in 1-30s; (800m) 59s; (400m) 26 1/5s. Fit.

1,000m: Artifact (A. P. Singh) and Magnifico (Amil) in 1-14 3/5s; (400m) 26s. Former 4 ls better.

800m: Alygator (Surender) and Alastar (Amil) in 56 3/5s; (400m) 25s. Former one-and-a-half length better. Tanganyika (Amjad) in 57 3/5s; (400m) 27s. Little Boy Blue (Upadhya) in 57 2/5s;(400m) 27 2/5s. Easy.

600m: Dizzy Diver (Locke) and Armila (Engineer) in 42s; (400m) 25s. Former 6 ls better.

Sand track

1,400m: Chicarica (Rb) in 1-43s; (800m) 57 1/5s; (400m) 26 3/5s. Good.

800m: Whitney (Brij) in 1- 2 2/5s; (400m) 29 2/5s. Sapphire And Silk (Tamang) and Bird’s Empire (Rutherford) in 58 4/5s; (400m) 26s. Former head better. Storm Centre (Engineer) in 1-0 3/5s; (400m) 26 2/5s. Aristotemus (Yacoob) in 56 1/5s; (400m) 24 4/5s. Easy. Eau Savage (Shanker) in 58 3/5s; (400m) 25 4/5s. Winning Hand (M. Reuben) in 55s; (400m) 23 2/5s. Handy. Scimitar (Sher) in 55 2/5s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Sky Hawk (Yacoob) in 57 s; (400m) 25s. Easy. Sky Command (Som) in 53 2/5s; (400m) 23 2/5s. Moved well. Prince Of War (Gurang) and Mountain Memory (P. Alford) in 55 4/5s; (400m) 25s. Former 2 ls better.

600m: Royal Ruler (Rutherford) in 47 3/5s; (400m) 28 3/5s. Ballet Master (Gowli) in 45s; (400m) 27s.

400m: Noble Canonire (Gurang) in 26s.

Gate practice

From 2,000m to 800m: Highland Flame (Upadhya) and Alceste (Tamang) in 1-24 3/5s. First 800m in 55s. First named took a fly jump out. Latter droped out at 1,600m.    

Calcutta, Aug. 9: 
Barring the main event, the 1,200m Mamma’s Mink Cup, which has eight runners, and the concluding event, the 10-horse line-up of the Stolen Hours Handicap, fields in Friday’s card are poor. First race starts at 2 pm.


1. Scarlet Prince Handicap 2,000m (Cl IV, Rt 00-50) 2 pm: Hurricane Star 60; Bernadine 53.5; Avionic 53

2. Flower Dust Cup 1,000m (Cl V, Rt 00-28) 2.40 pm: Airstotemus 60; Dizzy Diver 58.5; Crest Star 58; Alygator 57; Slice Of Life 54.5; Orbital Star 52; Exclusive Girl 51.

3. Voluntary Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 00-50, 3-y-o only) 3.10 pm: Almond Rock 60; On The Bit 59; Queen’s Logic 55; Software 52; Abstone Queen 47.5.

4. Magyar Handicap 1,400m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 3.40 pm: Arizona Star 60; Airs Image 52.5; Atacada 52; Little Boy Blue 51; Aeolian 47.5.

5. Mamma’s Mink Cup 1,200m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 4.15 pm: Mameena 60; Optimum Choice 59; Defiance 57.5; Anolini 57.5; Sharp Sensation 55.5; Storm Centre 54.5; Double Crown 52s; Super Smile 52.

6. Stolen Hours Handicap 1,100m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72, 5-y-o & over) 4.50 pm: Char Bahar 61; Highland Flame 60; Sky Command 59.5; Just Kidding 59; Dancing Fire 57.5; Winning Hand 54.5; Sky Hawk 54; Scimitar 51.5; Mountain Memory 50.5; Iron Warrior 50.5

Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5 & 6.

Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 4; 5 & 6.    


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