Indian Football: Bhaichung and Rennedy Will be Missed
Team India is all set to face Maldives on Sunday for a friendly match as part of their preparations for the World Cup Qualifiers against UAE to be played on July 23 and 28. The match on Sunday will be the Blue Tigers first international since the resignation of Bob Houghton and will also be interim Coach Armando Colaco’s first assignment as the National coach.
The Indian Football contingent will face Maldives after over 20 days of preparation in Delhi under the watchful eyes of Coach Armando, who enforced a short ground passing game rather than the long ball strategy adopted by the former English Coach Bob Houghton.
“It’s exciting; there’s more responsibility. The passion for one’s country knows no bounds,” Armando said. But the seasoned coach that he is, Armando stays aware passion alone won’t win him a football match.
Selecting a mix blend of youth and experience, Team India did look good over the practices. But what might be a concern for the team is the lack of match fitness as most of the player sans the junior, played their last competitive match for their I-league teams close to two months back.
Subrata as usual will man the goal and he being fit for the match is a good sign for India as he has been consistent with his superlative performance. Starting the defensive line-up with Gouramangi, Raju Gaikwad, Robert Lalthlamuana and Mahesh Gawli would be a good option if Colaco sticks by his word of youth and experience.
The midfield is a case of concern for me as I fell no Indian players is as good as Rennedy Singh to carry out the responsibility in that area. His speed, clever running, his long rangers and above all his lethal free kicks will be missed. In the absence of Rennedy, likely starters in the midfield would be Syed Nabi, Lalrindika Ralte, Jewel Raja and Steven Dias.
The striking pair of Jeje and Chhetri has been a much talk off issue after their successful pairing in the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifier earlier this year. But what if anyone of them gets injured or is shown a card. None of the three other strikers in the squad ’CS Sabeeth, Sushil Kumar Singh, Baljit Sahni.’ is as good as them.
This is where the experience and leadership quality of Bhaichung could have come handy. He has the ability to lead his players from the front and lift them up Remember the last 15 minutes Bhaichung played in the AFC Cup against S.Korea. The whole approach of the game changed. Bhaichung’s undoubtedly is no longer a 90 minutes player. But he can still be lethal coming in as a substitute in the later part of the second half as his presence only lifts the moral of the team.
If Colaco stands by his word and play the mix blend of youth and experience then it’s good. However if the juniors are left out then he will have to face the wrath of the critics for the omission of senior pros like Bhaichung and Rennedy.