East Bengal coach Armando Colaco believes the title race is wide open and it still has a long way to go. He agreed that Bengaluru FC has a slender advantage, being placed at the top of the table.
“It’s a long way to go. Although Bengaluru has the advantage, they are leading the table. Anything can happen. We have played less games, so we will catch up”, said Armando.
Armando praised his opponents and assured that the game would be a treat to watch. He said, “They are a great team, they are at the top. It’s their home game, so let’s see what happens. One thing I can promise is that it will be a good game.”
When asked about his team’s fitness and injury scares, Colaco replied, “I took over the team just a few matches back. The players were not fit enough, pre-season was not done, probably because they had to play AFC Cup. So things are not going in the right direction. I also couldn’t do much. I was really surprised as how the team played in Goa, the team has come back to a proper fitness level. They performed well in Goa. Hopefully, they would create chances and score goals.
“There are many players who are injured. There is Uga, there is Mehtab, Abranches. Cavin Lobo has got asthma, still he is carrying on, Khabra is injured too.
“I don’t think the team is depleted. We have got good enough players to replace. If I talk about few players absence, others will get demoralised. Of course the individual brilliance is counted, but remember football is team work.”
The coach was also asked regarding the rumours which are heard about Ranti Martins inclusion into the team, he mentioned: “See I have four foreigners, Moga, Uga, Chidi and Sueoka. I don’t like to drop anybody in the middle. I am very particular about all this. Even if a player is off-form in a game I never drop him. It’s the coach’s duty to give them a moral boost. Gurpreet was going through a bad patch. I told him to ‘just enjoy your game’. I don’t know if the officials have thought something else.”