Premier Futsal, the world’s first-ever multi-national futsal league, announced on Thursday the signing of former Manchester United star Paul Scholes as a marquee player for three seasons.Scholes is one of those rare English footballers who played their entire professional careers at a single club. He is one of the most decorated footballers of England and is one of the most successful footballers in English club football.Scholes has won a total of 25 trophies, featuring 11 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies during his stint with Manchester United.Scholes, part of Manchester United’s memorable squad of 1992 – the famous golden generation which included stars like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers Phil and Gary – is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of modern football. He boasts a staggering 718 caps for Manchester United over an illustrious career spanning 22 years.’FUTSAL A FASCINATING FORMAT'”Futsal is a fascinating format that has played a pivotal role in developing the skills of some of the greatest football players. I have seen futsal grow not just back home, but also across the world and I have played in a few of those tournaments,” Scholes said in a release.”Premier Futsal will be a great way to introduce the sport to India and I’m looking forward to meeting the fans across India who I know are some of the most passionate in the world.”Scholes thus became the second of the eight marquee players who will be a part of Premier Futsal, a five-a-side variant of football.advertisementAfter roping in Alessandro Rosa Vieira, the sport’s most renowned player fondly known as Falcao, as it’s first big signing last month, the league signed former Portugal football star Deco and Scholes.Players will be allotted teams through a player draft which is slated to take place later this month.Premier Futsal, a game which is split into two halves of 20 minutes each, will be hosted by eight Indian cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad and Goa from July 15-24 in a franchise based league in the inaugural season.
By Bharat Sharma New Delhi, Sep 26 (PTI) Indian table tennis will soon have the services of a full-time foreign coach each for senior and junior teams, an unprecedented move aiming to build on the historic gains made this year. MP Singh, secretary general at the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), told PTI that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) gave a go ahead to having a separate head coach for senior and junior teams after a dream campaign at the Asian Games where the country won a couple of bronze medals. The junior head coach will be appointed by next month while senior coach Massimo Costantini’s replacement will be named by December. The stellar performance at the Asian Games, where India won its first table tennis medal in 60 years, came after the high of Commonwealth Games where the nation topped the tally with eight medals including three gold. “We have to have two separate foreign coaches for seniors and juniors. With senior likes of Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das not getting any younger, we have to ensure the feeder lines keeps producing world-class players,” said the TTFI secretary. Sharath, who has been India’s finest for the last 15 years, is 36 and women’s veteran Das is 34. For now, there are enough men’s players to choose from but trailblazer Manika Batra is not getting the support she needs to challenge big teams. “2018 has been the best ever year for Indian table tennis. Results have been coming and to continue this upward trend, we have to strengthen our junior programme,” said Dhanraj Choudhary, long-time table tennis administrator who is now a advisor of TTFI.advertisement Till now, senior head coach was travelling with the juniors for important events like the Youth Olympics, putting additional burden on him. Foreign coaches were called for junior paddlers but only for camps. “Now, the junior head coach will be based out of India for the term of his contract. We have already recommended six to seven names to SAI. The appointment will be made soon,” said Choudhary. For Costantini’s replacement, TTFI is awaiting recommendations from world body ITTF. The Italian, himself, could propose a few names considering he will be working as ITTF high performance director. “Though 2019 is a lean year, the focus has already shifted to the 2020 Olympics. And for the CWG and Asian Games in 2022, we need to start now. That is why we felt the need of a full-time junior coach,” added secretary Singh. PTI BS KHSKHS