The Red Machines return to the top flight after a breif hiatus
Road to I-League
Two time I-League champions, Churchill Brothers Sports Club are back in the league after they were barred from the top flight in the 2013-14 season as they failed to meet Asian Football Confederation’s licensing criteria.
After fighting against the football governing body for three years, the Delhi High Court directed the All India Football Federation to consider the Goan club on merit basis. Churchill will be the only club from Goa as other three clubs, Dempo SC, Sporting Clube de Goa and Salgaocar FC withdrew from the league due to differences with the AIFF over the proposed roadmap of Indian football.
Alfred Fernandes will be the chief coach of the club. He was the assistant coach of the team on both the occasions when Churchill were the champions in the league.
The 50-year old started his career with local club Young Strikers of Benaulim in 2004. He spent two years with them and moved to Churchill in 2006 as an assistant coach. He has won many trophies with the club. His first achievement was the GPL in 2008-09, and from here there was no looking back for the AFC A license holder as he won three Durand Cups, two IFA Shield and Federation Cup in 2013-14.
Following their return to the I-League Churchill have been busy bolstering their squad for the upcoming season.
Retained: The club has retained Suraj, Pankaj Sona, Banpynkhrawnam N., Sandeep Subba, Chesterpaul Lyngdoh and Nicholas Fernandes from the GPL team.
Transfers In: The Varca-based club has roped in Trinidad and Tobago striker Anthony Wolfe. He was part of the team in 2013-14 and had played in the 10 matches. The club has also signed India international defender Denzil Franco and Clifford Miranda. Franco was with FC Goa in the recently completed Indian Super League season. However, he did not appear in a single match due to injury, while, Miranda was part of Minerva Punjab FC at the start of the season.
They have also signed Adil Khan from Dempo SC, Rowilson Rodrigues from FC Bardez and Keenan Almeida from FC Goa to strengthen their defence. While, Seriton Fernandes and Antony D’Souza were also signed by the coach Alfred to add pace to their wings.
Formation and Tactics
The Red Machines will be tough to break down in a 4-5-1 shape that offers both solidity and flare.
Singh starts in goal with the experienced pair of Rowilson Rodrigues and Franco marshalling the back four. Adil will sit at the base of the diamond behind the two Fernandes’ Brandon and Kingslee. D’Souza and Seriton provide the width on the flanks with Anthony Wolfe upfront.
Man to Watch: Anthony Wolfe
Wolfe is known for creating his own chances in difficult situations and also known as a goal machine. The head coach Alfred will have high hopes from the T&T striker and the responsibilities of the goalscoring will be on his shoulders. He is likely to wear the armband for the club.
Priyant Singh and Naveen Kumar
Denzil Franco, Rowilson Rodrigues, Adil Khan, Meldon Silva, Satish Singh, Keenan Almeida, Suraj, Sandeep Subba and Banpynkhrawnam N.
Clifford Miranda, Brandon Fernandes, Anthony D’Souza, Seriton Fernandes, Kingslee Fernandes, Aniston Fernandes, Joshua Vaz, Veegan Ferrao, Surchandra Singh, Surabuddin Mollick and Chesterpaul Lyngdoh
Anthony Wolfe (F), Pankaj Sona, Nicholas Fernandes and Agnelo Colaco