“Now we have the goal of winning the I-League and we will be focused on getting it. We want to put the name of Gokulam as high as possible in India and that is why we need all the fans to join us. We will be focused on our work. The most important challenge is to win the I-League. We will respect our rivals, but I am convinced that we will be a very tough opponent.”
This was what coach Santiago Varela said ahead of the 2019-20 I-League season.
For him, it is simple: Gokulam Kerala FC is here to win the competition and will do so by implementing a style of play that not only dismantles the opponent but also allows for them to score goals in a blitzkrieg.
Indeed, Varela’s men have played an impressive brand of football. The style of football has reaped rewards as well as the team finds itself top of the table with 2 wins under their belt in as many matches, joint top with Churchill Brothers SC.
Their last match in the league was against Indian Arrows, a match they won through a goal that has become synonymous with the team. After winning a foul deep in their area in the 48th minute, a long and quick free-kick was taken when the ball eventually found its way to Henry Kisekka, who used his skill to get close to the goal and then neatly placed it into the net.
From winning the free-kick to scoring the goal – all of that happened in a space of just 17 seconds, which displays the type of football that they play. Such a demanding playing style requires optimum fitness levels and Gokulam Kerala FC have left no stone unturned to ensure that in order to achieve peak performances. A grueling pre-season routine has got them ready for the season from the get-go and roping in India’s leading sports nutrition brand, Fast&Up, as their nutrition partner further accentuates their commitment to fitness.
The fact that Gokulam Kerala FC are among the lesser financially strong clubs in the league – they are valued at €1.6 million (7th best among the 11 teams in the league) – means they have to find other ways to get better off the other teams in their quest to lift the I-League title. And hence, a key focus has been given on being fitter than the other teams. They might not be able to compete with the others financially to sign a player, but the management is ensuring they aren’t outrun or physically beaten in any match.
The results are visible as Gokulam have conceded only one goal in their two matches and have scored three times – doing just about enough to win both the matches.
The I-League has a long and grueling season. It began in November this year and will end in April next year, which means that the teams would have to play in both winter as well as summer. On top of that, playing across the country in diverse weather conditions is sure to take a toll on the players. Hence, the players would need to be in top shape to ensure consistent performances.
This is where Fast&Up helps as their supplements provide the necessary fuel that an athlete’s body requires to be in optimum shape. The intake of Fast&Up along with the players’ regular diet has not only helped them stay in great shape physically but it has also aided them have a clear thought-process on the pitch.
Once a player knows that his body is fit, his mind automatically starts to work to its full capabilities corresponding to the body.
Since Gokulam players have made Fast&Up a part of their life, it would be safe to assume that they will be in peak physical shape throughout the season – and that would help them stay on top above everyone else.
How that is reflected on the league table at the end of the season remains to be seen. But, one thing is for sure – Gokulam Kerala FC are not here to merely make up the numbers, but be counted among the title challengers come April 2020; and their preparation bears witness to that.Published 16 Dec 2019, 13:46 IST