Chennaiyin FC, Goa aim for good start to ISL season
Chennai, Nov 18 (PTI) Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa step into a new era of sorts when they begin their campaign in the fourth edition of Indian Super League (ISL) under new coaches after a forgettable third season, with a game at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here tomorrow.
The two coaches - John Gregory (Chennaiyin FC) and Sergio Lobera (Goa) sounded upbeat about their preparations and said the pre-season had been very good and the players were looking forward to the first game.
Gregory, who has taken over from Italian Marco Materazzi), who guided the team to triumph in ISL-2, said the team had prepared well and would put up a good show while stressing the importance to start well.
"We are in pretty good shape.. We have 25 players in the squad.. Unfortunately, we had lost four players away for three weeks (on national duty), which disrupted our plans.. It is about being able to do what you do in the training ground in the match."
He also said all the hard work in pre-season was one thing but Sunday (the opening game) was important.
"We have had a good pre-season but all starts on Sunday.. That is when it matters," he added.
Gregory said 21-year old mid-fielder Germanpreet Singh, who took a knock during the AFC qualifier against Myanmar, may not start tomorrow's game, but hoped he would be available for the November 23 encounter against NorthEast United FC.
"We have a 25-man full squad from which we can pick the starting XI.. Germanpreet came back from national team with a little bit of a knock.. He may not make a start in tomorrow's game.. Hope we can have him back for the second match," he said.
The Englishman said the team would have a very pragmatic approach for the season ahead and wanted to reward the fans for sticking by them through thick and thin, by producing results.
"You wanna start well.. Obviously, for our fans who stood by us during through thick and thin.. They will be here in their droves and there will be a great atmosphere at the stadium.. Want to reward our fans, who stuck by us through a difficult year (last year)," he said.
The Goa team, which is rebuilding after the exit of the legendary Zico as coach and a poor run in the 2016 edition, would be aiming for a good start.
Coach Lobero said he was looking forward to the new season after the good pre-season and added he was happy with the overall composition of the team.
The Spaniard said it was important for the players to play a style of football that was best suited to them and would bring the results.
Teams: Chennaiyin FC: Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Shahinlal Meloly, Pawan Kumar. Defenders: Henrique Sereno (c), Inigo Calderon, Mailson Alves, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Dhanachandra Singh, Fulganco Cardozo, Sanjay Balmuchu, Keenan Almeida.
Midfielders: Raphael Augusto, Jaime Gavilan, Rene Mihelic, Thoi Singh, Bikramjit Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Germanpreet Singh, Francis Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa. Forwards: Gregory Nelson, Jude Nworuh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Mohammed Rafi, Baoringdao Bodo.
FC Goa: Goalkeepers: Laxmikant Kattimani, Bruno Colaco and Naveen Kumar. Defenders: Amey Ranawade, Bruno Pinheiro, Chinglensana Singh, Jovel Martins, Mohamed Ali, Narayan Das, Seriton Fernandes and Sergio Marin.
Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh, Anthony DSouza, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Mandar Rao, Manuel Arana, Manuel Lanzarote, Mohammad Yasir, Pratesh Shirodkar and Pronay Halder. Forwards: Adrian Colunga, Ferran Corominas, Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh.
(Match starts at 5.30 p