Gokulam Kerala FC will face Sreenidi Deccan FC in the I-League at the Kalyani Stadium on Tuesday. The defending champions will be squaring off against many of their former players who are now plying their trade in the side from Vizag.
GKFC head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese underlined that with all those factors considered, the game against Sreenidi Deccan FC will be "very important."
"Tomorrow’s game is very important for us, especially because there are many ex-Gokulam players in Sreenidi like Awal, Shibil, Mayakkannan, Lalromawia, Salah and coach Varela as well. They will try everything to win. We need to be very focused on our mental preparation," said the Gokulam Kerala FC gaffer.
The Malabarians are currently second in the points table with 18 points from eight games. They come into the clash against Sreenidi Deccan FC on the back of a 2-1 victory against former champions Aizawl FC. Asked how they plan to approach the game, the Italian coach said:
"We want to dominate and win the second ball. They are strong opponents but I have full confidence in my team. We have solid strikers and defenders."
"I’m a defender and I’m not afraid of any striker" - Gokulam Kerala FC's centre-back Aminou Bouba
Meanwhile, Sreenidi Deccan FC are placed third in the league standings with 17 points from nine games. The Andhra Pradesh team has five wins and an equal number of draws and losses. SDFC have been firing all cylinders up front and leading their attacking line is David Castaneda Munoz. The 29-year-old Colombian forward has already scored seven goals this season.
Gokulam Kerala FC's centre-back Aminou Bouba was also present at the pre-match press conference. Asked how the Cameroonian plans to deal with Castaneda, Bouba said:
"I’m a defender and I’m not afraid of any striker. I just do my job. It’s a new challenge for me in India and I’ve settled well here."
Meanwhile, head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese also reiterated Bouba's feelings and said the defender was enough to deal with the Sreenidi Deccan FC forward.
"Bouba is enough for him (Castaneda). All of our defenders will be more alert tomorrow as he’s a quality player."
A victory would be pivotal for Gokulam Kerala FC to keep up the pressure on their opponents Mohammedan SC, who are comfortably at the top of the table.