A new-look DSK Shivajians FC, under Manager Dave Rogers, is set to take on Sporting Club de Goa in their first-ever Durand Cup encounter at the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi on Sunday..
The face-off between the two I-League clubs would formally inaugurate the 128th edition of the tournament. Interestingly, DSK Shivajians FC made their I-League debut against Sporting Club de Goa at Goa, which ended in a stalemate.
Pune-based DSK Shivajians FC goes into the game fresh from a victory over I-League champions Bengaluru FC in a pre-season friendly. The morale-boosting win will certainly be motivation enough for the squad to make an instant impact in their first tournament of the season.
Looking forward to the Durand Cup opener, First Team Manager Dave Rogers, said: “We are eagerly looking forward to the Durand Cup. We have worked really hard in the pre-season. The players and coaches are excited to take part in this prestigious tournament. The fact that our first match in the tournament comes against an I-League opposition makes the first game even more vital.”
The last time the DSK Shivajians and Sporting Clube met was at the Balewadi Stadium, Pune, in the I-League, where the former registered their biggest victory of the season, defeating their Goan counterparts 3-1.
DSK Shivajians FC, ahead of the season (2016-17), has strengthened their squad by adding former Irish youth international midfielder Shane McFaul. Similarly, Spanish winger Juan Quero earned a contract extension following his impressive performance in the I-League last year. The signing of North Korean striker Kim Song Yong, who spent the last two seasons leading the line at Bengaluru FC, ensures Manager Dave has experienced players at his disposal.
A host of youth players from the Liverpool FC International Academy – DSK Shivajians add sting to the side. The eleven graduates that make up the majority of the 20-man team are players who have played under Dave for two seasons.
Comparatively, DSK Shivajians FC’s Goan rivals go into the tournament off the back of having played the Goa Police Cup and one match in the Goa Professional League. In the three competitive games the Goans played so far, they have lost one and won two.
Having remained unbeaten against the Goans, DSK Shivajians FC would look at their track record as another positive.
The match will kick-off at 6:30 pm.