FC Goa play their first match of the season as they face NorthEast United at the Highlanders’ den at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, Guwahati. However, they are expected to be without three key Indian players going into the opener.
The home team, who won the ISL opener on Saturday against Kerala Blasters, prepares to play a tougher opponent in a span of less than 72 hours. Their coach Nelo Vindaga has pointed this out saying that Goa has fresh legs which might make things a little advantageous for them while most of the Highlander players are yet to recover.
The coach of the visitors, Zico however ruled this factor out saying, “It’s a standard time that every team get across the world. We are going to play 4 games at home with a gap of 72 hours between each of them. And I think it’s even better if you do it at the beginning of the tournament because now everyone wants to play. If you ask them to play every day now, they will play every day now.”
He further pointed as how NorthEast stands in a better position here. “For us, we are going to do this at the end of the tournament and sometimes there are injury issues. So it is not a positive point for us and not also a negative point for NorthEast.,” said the Brazilian coach.
Talking about the preseason and his team, coach Zico added, “All our players need games now. They all are waiting for games now. There is a difference between playing friendlies in the pre-season and playing a match in a tournament that is worth three points.”
The concern however for the team is regarding the injuries, which apparently is a long list. “Unfortunately we don’t have a full squad and we have a few injuries. But this is one thing that we have got used to in these kinds of tournaments,” said the coach.
The coach also lamented the unavailability of certain players due to ‘the’ issues last ear. “Because of the problems that we had last year, we lost some players while some other players who played last season are ruled out this season due to injury. But we are prepared for playing.”
The team has three key Indian players, goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, forward Robin Singh and defender Denzil Franco who could be injured. When asked about the same, the coach confirmed:
“Subhasish is a player that we know very well. He went with us to Brazil. He recovered from his knee problem there but he faced some other problem there. He had other chronicle problem there and unfortunately we lost him there. Robin played all the matches with us in Brazil. But after arriving here, during the warm up he faced some issues with the hamstring while Denzil had some muscle problem. We are taking care of them”
Zico also shed a bit of light on the problems which he was facing. “This is the problem that we are facing here. Some players have knee issues and then they don’t play for a long time and when they come back they pick up some other problem,” quipped the Brazilian.
He did not give out the list of injured players but mentioned that all of who are injured hasn’t travelled with them. All the players who came are prepared to play.
Commenting on the fact that NorthEast has never beaten Goa, the Brazilian legend said, “Every year is a different story. Things change every year. We don’t worry about the past and focus on what’s happening here.”Published 03 Oct 2016, 23:10 IST