News Article

I-League Season Review: Churchill Brothers SC

Written by: Ravish R Narvekar

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It was a season of two halves for the returning Red Machines who looked relegation candidates in the first half of the campaign but bounced back under new management...

It proved to be a very up-and-down season for Churchill Brothers as they finished sixth in the league table with 20 points.

The Goan club couldn’t cut it in the league but they did upset some big clubs in their campaign as they defeated Bengaluru at home. While they also managed to upset Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal FC in the second half of the season.  

Despite losing most of the matches in the first half of the season and sitting at the bottom of the table, the Red Machines managed to rise up from the lower reaches and for that all credits go to one of the most experienced coaches on the Indian football circuit, Derrick Pereira.        

 Fact Sheet of I-League 2016-17

 


 Season Finish: Sixth

 Games Played: 18

Won : 5

Lost : 8

Drawn : 5

Win %: 27.77% 

   GF: 24

GA: 26

 

 Pre Season

 The club got less time to build the team as compared to other teams in the league as their place in the league was confirmed just two weeks prior to the start of the season.

However, in the budget given by the management, the assistant coach Alfred Fernandes did an excellent job in terms of recruitment.

Whereas they failed to sign a head coach due to lack of time and assistant coach Fernandes was given huge responsibilities of the team. Before they flew to Kolkata to face Bagan in the opening encounter, the team had just three practice sessions together as the team was still in the process of recruiting players. There were few players like India international Fulganco Cardozo, Kyrgyzstan midfielder Bektur Uulu and A. Kromah who signed after completion of three rounds.

 Top 3 Players

 

Adil Khan
Chesterpaul Lyngdoh
Keenan Almeida

The 28-year old was consistent in his fantastic form all season long, giving his best for every second of the match.

Adil was given new responsibilities as a central defender by coach Fernandes and the defensive midfielder showed hard work pays off when he did a great job adapting to his new role in the squad.

Despite being new to an important position in the squad, he never gave up improving and was very difficult to break in the entire season. Adil’s best performance came in the match against Bengaluru where his solid defending along with his partnership with Rowilson Rodrigues helped his side to register their first win in the league.

He was the only player to start all the 18 matches, while he also scored two important goals against DSK Shivajians and Minerva Punjab AFC.


 

 

 The 20-year old winger was one of the best signings by the club. However, he was not the first choice of coach Fernandes at the start of the season but the winning goal against Bengaluru made his way clear in the starting XI.

The talented midfielder was always pinpoint with his passes and his darting runs on the flanks always made it troublesome for opponents to stop him. While he was easy and comfortable in drifting on both the wings.

Lyngdoh showed his magic with his feet as he was butter smooth with the ball, easily dribbling past defenders, while he was always creative with his passes.


 

 

Almeida had a slow start to the season as far as his individual performance was conceded but as the season progressed was extremely skilled and excellent with his performances.

He played a major role in defence, while he was always helpful for midfielders in counter-attacks as he is quick with his feet. The full-back is the second consistent player after Adil playing 17 matches, while he also wore the captains's armband.


 

Games: 18
Clean Sheets: 4

Games: 14
Goals: 3


Games:
17
Clean Sheets: 4



 

 Flop of the Season

Bektur Uulu: Though the Kyrgyzstan midfielder scored four goals against Chennai City FC at the end of the season, Bektur was one of the poor foreign signings of the league.

The 22-year old was slow with the ball at his feet resulting in wasted possession on many occasions. He never quite seemed to be up to the mark, despite being young and physically healthy. there wasn’t one good performance from the midfielder expect for the four goals against the southern outfit.

Even an average domestic signing could have made the difference in the team as he was wasting his spot in the squad. It was really frustrating to see him in the starting XI, while other talented U22 players like Kingslee Fernandes and Banpynkhrawnam Nongkhlaw were warming the bench.

 

Bektur's Performance in I-League 2016-17 

Matches:16

Goals: 5

 

 Top 3 Performances 


 
 

  1. East Bengal 1-2 Churchill Brothers (Match Report and Highlights)


  2.  Churchill Brothers 2-1 Bengaluru FC (Match Report)




  3. Churchill Brothers 2-1 Mohun Bagan (Match Report)

 

 

 Coach's Report Card

The season started with assistant coach Fernandes managing the team in the absence of the unsigned head coach. However, he did an excellent job in signing the players with the given budget but failed to lead his best XI resulting in just four points from ten matches played and sitting at the bottom of the table.

With more than half the-season gone, the club management understood the need for a change of head coach and signed the most experienced coach Pereira and it was like he brought a magic wand as the results started following with his arrival.

Surprisingly, the same squad under him started playing smartly. The winning intentions were clearly seen in every player. Their every touch of the ball was meaningful unlike before. They won the first match 3-0 against DSK Shivajians. The same winning result followed as they edged out Bagan and eAST Bengal in their next two matches.

The experienced coach brought in the much needed positive morale boost in the dressing room. His solid defensive tactics helped his new club to plug the hole in the defence. While he also helped and motivated each and every player to regain their full strength as a result players like Anthony Wolfe and Ansumana Kromah were seen in good form.

 

 Lesson to be Learned

Being the only team from Goa, Churchill should have built a strong squad but the low budget made it difficult for the coach to scout top class players.

They were without any head coach for more than half of the season and that resulted in the club sitting bottom of the table in the middle of the season. The picture of the league table could have been completely different if Pereira was signed at the start of the season.

 

 Fan View

 

Vandesh Humraskar

 

“All Goans' hopes were on Churchill Brothers this I-League season. I personally didn't expect them to do wonders but they played pretty well. Defeating the likes of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC were the standout moments for me. The 4-5 defeat to Minerva showed the fighting spirit of the team.  The 6-1 goalfest against Chennai City was one of the matches to be watched. All the foreigners did pretty well for us. Kromah scored six goals while Talgat and Wolfe scored four each. Brandon and Adil showed some kind of form scoring three and two goals respectively. The entry of coach Derrick Pereira was the turning point of the league. For me, Kromah, Wolfe, Talgat, Brandon and Adil were the standout performers. This team did pretty well in the 10th I-League above my expectation.”

Published: Sat May 06, 2017 10:02 AM IST

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