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I-League Preview : Bengaluru FC geared up for historic Bagan game

21.09..2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

 

BFC PRESS RELEASE : Bangalore: After two months of intense pre-season and amid all the buzz surrounding the club, Bengaluru FC is all set to make its I-League debut against Kolkata side Mohun Bagan at the Bangalore Football Stadium, in Bangalore on Sunday.

Coach Westwood has a completely fit squad at his disposal against the Karim Bencherifa-coached team. "We have 27 players and it's great to say that each of them is fit and raring to go. It's a credit to everybody - the players, the coaches and the support staff," said Westwood at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.

Bagan will be without their talismanic striker Odafa Okolie but Westwood said his absence doesn't alter Bengaluru FC's plans. "Well, he is their key player and it's unfortunate for them if he isn't playing. We are prepared to play against the best team so his being there or not doesn't change our strategy. I'm only concerned about my term," he said.

The Bengaluru FC squad has a nice mix of youth and experience and has seasoned players like John Menyongar and Sunil Chhetri on the team. Defenders John Johnson, Curtis Osano and striker Sean Rooney complete the foreign players list. The squad also has as many as six local players.

Bagan coach Bencherifa said the I-League had taught him well not to underestimate any team. "It's a long season and it's all about being consistent. In the I-League there aren't any big or small clubs. Bengaluru FC will be tough opponents. They have a few match-winners on the team. All we need to do is be consistent and get off to a good start.

Bencherifa also added that the resilience which kept Bagan afloat last season will be taken inspiration from in the season ahead. The game kicks off at 4 pm.

Rangdajied United All Set For I-League Debut Against United SC

21.09.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

 

RUFC PRESS RELEASE : Newly-promoted Rangdajied United FC is set to embark on its debut I-League voyage with a clash against United SC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday. The blues, formerly known as Ar Hima, had put up an inspirational show in the second round of I-League Second Division, back in April, to become the second club from Shillong to gain promotion into the Indian top flight.

The club now faces the prospect of playing the country's top clubs, week in, week out, beginning this Sunday in Kolkata. Santosh Kashyap, who took over as the head coach of the club this summer, has named an 18-men squad that had traveled to the West Bengal capital for their opening league game.

Leading the team on the pitch will be former Shillong Lajong man Eugeneson Lyngdoh. The 27-year old winger had two successful seasons with Lajong, and particularly caught the eye in the 2011-12 season. He grew up playing with the blues, and now returns to the club for its debut I-League season.

Excited for the sojourn like all the club members, Eugeneson said, "We are ready for the challenge. United SC is a good team but we have come here for a purpose and we will give our best to achieve that."

The club has brought in several players over the summer, including former Pune FC forward Edmar Figueira, and is looking to fly high right in it. The first game against United SC will represent a different challenge for Rangdajied from those they faced in the second division. The Kolkata club, who have been struggling financially in recent times, have quite a strong team consisting of the likes of Ranti Martins.

On the other hand, the Rangdajied side is a mix of young and experienced players. A majority of these players have little or no experience of top flight football, while players like Lamine Tamba and Figueira have played and excelled in the I-League.

The players" lack of experience may demote Rangdajied to the status of minnows, but considering the blues are a relatively unknown package to the other sides in the league, the North East outfit will be hopeful of surprising a few teams throughout the season.

Coach Santosh Kashyap however is confident of good show. "We have won our three matches of Shillong League, which is a very competitive league, with a huge margin. So, if we can play the same way, there is no reason as to why we cannot win."

"All the team members are fit and everyone is equally excited. The hot and humid conditions of Kolkata will be difficult for us, considering that Shillong has a very cold climate. But this cannot be an excuse in professional football. We will have to adapt to it and get out results," Kashyap added.

The club has a very good defensive line-up, with new arrivals Lamine Tamba, Prateek Chowdhary and Munmun Lugun set to add steel to the backline. With Poibiang Pohshna, right back Thomas Saikhom, youngster Pynshongdor, Ambilstar Sun to add to the new signings, the coach will have several options to pick his back four from.

The United SC side has a well-oiled midfield, with Lalkamal Bhowmick pulling the strings from the middle. For Rangdajied to get a good result out of this game, it will be important for the blues to keep their opponents' midfield quiet, especially Bhowmick.

Restom Khriam, Bansarai Sun and Abocha Singh, all of whom were part of the club's I-League 2 triumph last April, will have a big task in their hands to stop their counterparts from dictating the game. Meanwhile, captain Eugeneson and new Japanese recruit Yohei Iwasaki should start on the flanks for the club.

At the top of the field, the club will bank on Edmar Figueira to get the goals, while the likes of Lalnunpuia will provide decent back-up to the Brazilian.

With Rangdajied United playing in its first ever I-League game, the excitement levels among the club's fans have reached a feverpitch. Although the locals will have to wait for their first home game, they will still be hoping for a good performance from the team in Kolkata on Sunday.