The Churchill gaffer felt the point was a deserved one…

Churchill Brothers registered their first points on the table at the fourth attempt, securing a 1-1 draw in Pune against DSK Shivajians. The Goans had gone a goal behind in the 22nd minute and trailed for most of the game. But a resurgent second half performance saw the side rally hard and get level through defender Adil Khan in the 86th minute. 

Head coach Alfred Fernandes was pleased with his side’s effort, as he met the press after the game. “To tell you frankly, it is a big relief for me. I had just a couple of sessions to assemble this team. It was tough to get the formation going and we were thrown directly in the big sea against Mohun Bagan. Living up to the expectations of the Goan fans, we have been putting up a good show.”

The 50-year old continued, “Though we have lost our first three matches, I have no complaints. Against Mumbai FC, we conceded in the last minute, that could have been a victory or at least a point. Finally, a point has arrived and something to show on the points table.”

Churchill have competed so far with only two foreigners in their squad. Their last minute squad assembly has meant the club are still in search of two foreign recruits, something that Fernandes reiterated, “We are slowly getting into the groove and hopefully by the next match or after the Bengaluru FC match, our foreign players will arrive. We are looking for a foreign defender who can be a leader at the back and who can really carry the team from the back four.”

Fernandes also stated the need of fire power upfront. “As you know, we are lacking the firepower upfront, which is very important. We have been doing everything. Either the post is coming in our way or the penalty is not converted. So hopefully with the foreign striker coming in, things will get sorted.”

During the game, Churchill had missed a golden oppurtunity to get back in the match, missing a penalty struck by striker Anthony Wolfe. “I had a word with Wolfe after the match. I told him that the 90 minutes are gone and so it has to go out of the system. He is a professional team man and I have the confidence in him to work hard. I will always nominate him to take the penalties,” the coach stated. 

The Churchill boss also opined on his team’s hurried preparations for the season. He said, “DSK played in the I-League last year. They had a whole year to prepare. They also have some four quality foreigners and quality players. We still gave them a good fight and showed that we can still play against the best teams. I literally had only three sessions before the season.”

Churchill Brothers are the only team from Goa in this season’s I-League, a tag that certainly adds pressure when you’re from the state. “In football, there is always pressure. Who does not face pressure are the teams who do not have relegation fears. Being the only Goan club, our management decided that we will make a team based on Goan talent. At a given time, eight Goans are always in the playing XI, which is after a long time – probably after eight years when Dempo SC were winning the I-League,” he finished off.