Minerva challenge awaits Gokulam Kerala FC tomorrow
Kozhikode, Jan 5 (PTI) A tough challenge awaits debutants Gokulam Kerala FC as they take on red-hot Minerva Punjab FC in an I-League match at the EMS Corporation Stadium, here tomorrow.
Gokulam Kerala FC's home outing hasn't been good so far and they were on the receiving end in their final match of last year when reigning champions Aizawl FC overpowered them, thanks to double strikes by Daniel Addo and Andrei Ionescu.
During the pre-match press conference today, coach Bino George explained that the cold plunge in his foreign recruits' form and injury was averting them from getting the desired results.
"Ours is a new team. It will take time for us to settle down as a unit. The same applies to players as well. Foreigners are scoring goals for other teams. We are not getting the same sort of services from ours. That is our problem," he said.
He informed that the seasoned prolific striker Odafa Okolie is likely to debut tomorrow for the yellow outfit provided that the formalities are completed.
"Odafa Okolie knows what the team seeks from him. He scored nine goals in the second division last season and we had every reason to go after him. Odafa's paperwork is pending. If it is done, he will play tomorrow. Hopefully, we will get it done by today evening," George said.
He added that former Salgaocar FC defender Balwinder has also been added to the Gokulam Kerala FC squad recently.
He further said that his team is drawing motivation from Arrow's miraculous performance against Mohun Bagan where the young guns held the Kolkata giants to a gutsy 1-1 draw.
"Indian Arrows held Mohun Bagan and this is football. So we will try hard to get a result," George said.
"Minerva lost their last match against Aizawl 2-1. Now they are coming from an extreme climate to a coastal climate. So, there will be a difference and that might give us an advantage."
On the other hand, Minerva, who had a fairytale start to the season, had to leave the ground empty-handed against Aizawl FC in their last match.
And they will surely look to churn a positive result tomorrow against the debutants.
"It is an away game and the experience of an away game is different. We don't want to lose games because right now we are second in the table," said coach Khogen Singh.
Asked how his boys will capitalise the 10-day break and go out all guns blazing, he stated, "We had a rest of 10 days and it could be an advantage but all the teams in Hero I- League are professional and I don't think this will make any difference on the pitch."
Chencho, the Bhutanese playmaker, has been the vital cog for the Blue outfit so far