Kharsyntiew calls for supporters to turn out in numbers, George terms league 'battle of foreigners'
This will be the Reds' first game without long-time manager Thangboi Singto while the Southerners make their top flight bow.
Shillong Lajong Assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew addressed the media on behalf of head coach Bobby Nongbet and sounded optimistic going into the team's first I-League game against Gokulam Kerala FC. “The first game is always the toughest, not only for us but also for every team. Since Gokulam is a new side, I am sure they are going to give their 100% against us. So, we have to be ready mentally, our players have to be ready. I believe it will be an exciting match and we always hope for three points.”
On being quizzed about the team’s indifferent form in pre-season, he said, “In the first friendly match against United Sikkim, the team didn’t perform well because most of the players were playing together for the first time. The combination wasn’t there. But, now, the team is shaping up well.”
Kharsyntiew also stressed upon the need for home support and appealed to the fans to make their support felt. “We expect the supporters to come and cheer for us, because we need the 12th man. Apart from the players we need the supporters to help us because it is an important game for us.” He refused to divulge any information about the team composition but touched upon the importance of an injury-free season. “At the moment there are no injuries thankfully, we hope the players go through the season injury-free, because that’s really going to help us.”
“The best players have moved to the ISL; It will be a battle between the foreign players this season-Bino George
Ahead of Gokulam;s first ever I-League game, coach Bino George feels no pressure at all. Speaking to the media ahead of the away game against Shillong Lajong, George said that his local boys are not used to playing in chilly weather conditions. “In the practice matches, we played against 2-3 tough ISL teams, [Kerala] Blasters, Bengaluru FC and FC Pune City. But, regarding the climate, although our foreign recruits are used to playing in colder climate, the Kerala boys are finding it difficult to cope with the weather here [in Shillong]. Lajong have got many local lads in their team making it easier for them.”
On being asked about the team composition he said, “We have five foreigners as per AIFF rules. All of them are playing. Then, 3-4 Kerala boys alongside 2-3 Bombay (Mumbai) players. There is a good coordination between the local and foreign players.”
George spoke about Lajong being a very good side but he believes his team will give them a tough competition. “They are a good team. We respect our opponent. They have a good rhythm. We will definitely give them a good competition. They will have home advantage but we believe in the Almighty, we have worked hard and hope for a good result.”
He added, “We don’t have much pressure. I can confidently say that this season the best players have moved to the Indian Super League. So, the competition will be between the foreign players on each side.”
“We have some good young players, all below 25 years of age. The last six seasons, Kerala has had no I-League teams, so everybody is looking forward to us. [We have got] good foreign players. We haven't played any competitive matches in this season yet. I am satisfied with the overseas recruits. But, how they perform we will get to know as the season progresses,” the coach said about his local and foreign boys in the squad.
George has backed his boys to start positively without putting any load of expectations on them. “It is difficult to expect anything now. We are only seven months old. But, I have confidence in my boys to start well. If we can have a good start we will get the support in our next matches. Lots of the players do well in age group level games. But after that, they fail to live up to expectations. Atleast Kerala needs a platform at club level to show their dominance. So, I have told my boys to wake up, go out and do their best.”
Published: Sun Nov 26, 2017 04:48 PM IST