The hosts have drawn their first two games in the group so far.
Minerva Punjab welcome Nepali side Manang Marshyangdi in their first home game of AFC Cup at Kalinga Stadium. With both the teams still with the possibility of making it to the next stage, at least mathematically, the fixture promises goals and excitement for the fans.
Minerva coach Sachin Badhade and Manang Marshyangdi coach Chhiring Loosang Gurung met the press for the pre-match press conference.
Sachin Badhade (Minerva Punjab)
Neither of the two coaches wasn’t chatty, with the focus on getting the maximum points from the game. Minerva coach Sachin Badhade emphasized the fact that the game is a must-win for them, given the fact that they are playing at their ‘home stadium’.
He said, “We need to win tomorrow’s match as we have only two points and the win is a must if we want to progress further. The weather is a benefit for us and we will give out best. We should have won our last match against Dhaka but it was bad luck we gifted them both the goals.”
The Minerva coach took the occasion to appreciate the support the Odisha government showed to the club by letting them play at the Kalinga Stadium, halting the construction work for a few more days. He said, “Thanks to Odisha state govt for letting us host the match here.”
Chhiring Loosang Gurung (Manang Marshyangdi)
Manang coach highlighted the weather and climatic condition to be a possible challenge for the Nepali outfit. The team comes from a place where the situation is different from it would be in Bhubaneshwar.
He opined, “The weather is going to be a big problem for us in tomorrow’s match. Since we are from a very pleasant climate, it will difficult for us to adjust to the humid conditions here.”
Minerva and Manang both need a win from the game. But the coach of the Nepali side refrains to accept that the team is under pressure after a questionable start to their campaign.
He explained, “We have lost two matches already but our team is not all pressurised. If the results in the previous two matches had gone in our favour, we would be in tremendous pressure tomorrow.”
Nepal national team and Manang captain Biraj Maharjan thinks that he and his side are all well acquainted with the Indian football and that the challenge would be to play as a team. He said, “We are well acquainted with Indian football. Football is a team game.”
Minerva have their full squad to choose from for the fixture.
Manang also have their full squad for the game.
Roy, Das, Nurain, Primas, Akashdeep, Amandeep, Samuel, Amena, Harminder, Chote, Alhassan.
Bishal, Kamal, Asif, Tamang, Maharjan, Bista, Rai, Gurung, Sujal, Somide, Oladipo.
Did You Know?
- Both the sides are winless in the tournament so far – Minerva drawing both their games while Manang Marshyangdi losing both.
Manang Marshyangdi are yet to score in the tournament.
The game is scheduled to kickoff at 6:30 PM IST at Kalinga Stadium, but there is no broadcast scheduled in India.