Sreenidi Deccan all set to compete for top honors in the I-League this season

Sreenidi Deccan players in training
Sreenidi Deccan players in training

Sreenidi Deccan FC, one of the latest kids on the block in the Indian professional football structure, in a manner of speaking, are going all out with their preparations for the upcoming I-League season.

Having come excruciatingly close to promotion into the Indian Super League (ISL) last season, they ended up relinquishing the top spot in the I-League to Punjab FC owing to a string of disappointing performances towards the business end.

Those results would have stung the players and staff of the Deccan Warriors, but it has also given them the impetus to push forth in the upcoming season and vie for top honours.

They did well in the Hero Super Cup that was played at the fag end of last season, coming up trumps against a strong Kerala Blasters side and holding Bengaluru FC to a draw. Sreenidi are a relatively young club, having got entry into the I-League only in the 2021-22 season.

This goes a long way in speaking for their dedication and commitment, given that they managed to come runners-up in the league in only their second season. Everyone at the club has bought into the growth mindset that has been set in place by their chairman Dr. K.T. Mahhe and technical director Fabio Nunes Ferreira.

A part of the Sreenidhi Educational Group, Sreenidi Deccan are only the second club from Hyderabad - after Hyderabad FC - to represent the city in the Indian professional football structure. The philosophies of the club are simple, yet refreshing.

Players of Sreenidi Deccan are being put through their paces in a fitness training session.
Players of Sreenidi Deccan are being put through their paces in a fitness training session.

The long-term vision in place here is to focus on the growth and development of young players, and for this, the Sreenidi Football Academy has done a terrific job. Although there is an ample mix of senior players in the side, the focus is on developing young talent and giving them the platform to express themselves to their full potential.

The management, unlike many other football clubs, is alive to the requirements of the modern-day game and goes all-out in order to ensure that attention to detail is paid as much as possible.

They try to ensure that the tiniest of issues are taken care of, and the needs and demands of the players met in order for them to succeed at the highest level. Sreendi's preparations for the upcoming season are underway in full swing, and as was stated by their head coach Carlos Vaz Pinto in an interview with Sportskeeda earlier, they want to focus on the process as much as possible and allow the outcome to remain its by-product.

When such a mindset has been ingrained deeply into the psyches of everyone at the club, it is challenging not to see how they cannot succeed. The goal, as always, is to enjoy the journey and not just worry about the destination.

The focus remains solely on the process at Sreenidi Deccan FC

Sreenidi have reinforced their ranks quite well this season, with the additions of William Alves, Ibrahim Sissoko, Sajid Dhot, and Eli Sabia being key. Rilwan Hassan has returned to the club, bringing a wealth of experience with him.

Experienced goalkeeper Albino Gomes too arrived to add to the quality of the squad. Lalnuntluanga and Lalbiakliana have joined the first-team squad along with a host of other youngsters who have been promoted from the reserves.

Training has been going full-fledged, as was attested by Sreenidi Deccan's strength and conditioning coach Jorge Ovando, who spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda.

"We are preparing strongly to ensure that our players adapt quickly to the efforts required by the game system since a lot of intensity is required. Every day, we see how each player feels physically before and after the training session," he said.
"Each player performs their individual exercises according to their needs to prevent injuries, increase muscle mass, and lose fat. We prepare each session together with the staff and monitor the intensity of each training session to keep track of the load," Ovando added.

Physio Prabhakaran Natraj, who is a vital cog in the Sreenidi wheel, also had a chat with Sportskeeda about his plans to ensure that the team remains injury-free through the majority of the season. Although it is a challenging task, it is something that he has geared himself up towards.

"Sreenidi Deccan FC have a collaborative approach in getting the players primed in pre-season by athletic screening and exercise testing for performance. We impart holistically standardised preventative rehabilitation, fitness programs, rebuilding strength with optimal loading, managing pain, restoring mobility, emphasizing on recovery nutrition and preventing reinjury through personalized strategies," Natraj explained.

The role that the support staff plays behind the scenes is often overlooked, and it is sad that it is so. However, at Sreenidi Deccan, everyone on the staff is delegated with set responsibilities and they all get their due shares of credit.

The players are gearing up for the I-League season, which is expected to start in the last week of October. The coaches are quite excited too, as can be expected.

Goalkeeping coach Rafael Gracio also spoke to Sportskeeda and gave an inkling about the hard work taking place behind the scenes.

"We have four goalkeepers - two seniors and two youngsters - who are currently undergoing different training regimes with respect to their fitness levels. We are working with them on different aspects of the game like ball handling, set pieces and ball distribution. As it is pre-season, all of them have benefitted from getting some minutes under their belt," he said.

It has to be said that the infrastructure that the Deccan Warriors have in place bodes well for the players. They have two full-sized training grounds apart from the Deccan Arena, which is the stadium where they play their home games.

Another full-sized training ground is in the works. Sreenidi Deccan also have state-of-the-art swimming pools, gyms and physiotherapy/rehabilitation centers that cater to the players' fitness needs. The club's base is in Aziznagar, about 20 kilometers to the south-west of Hyderabad.

Attention to detail remains one of the buzzwords used at the club, and by the look of things, it appears as if things are being taken care of. The players have very little to complain about, be it with their accommodation or nutrition, and can focus single-mindedly on preparing for the upcoming season.

Their goal will be to go one better than last time around and win the I-League, which will also get them promoted into the Indian Super League. Going by the look of things, and the culture of growth instilled at the club, achieving their goals will not be too difficult for Sreenidi Deccan.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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