BY SUDHAKAR SHANBHAG | NT
PANAJI: The defeat in the Federation Cup final to eventual winners East Bengal does not rankle Dempo SC coach Armando Colaco, who has accepted the loss as a missed opportunity in adding another silverware to his club’s already bulging trophy trove.
And, with the I-League round the corner, India’s most successful club coach isn’t brooding over that loss for sure.
The epic final played last Sunday in Siliguri was of marathon proportions, which in the end was sealed by East Bengal in extra-time but not without being stretched and pushed to the edge by the I-League holders in what proved to be a thrilling 120-minute encounter that gave the spectators full value for their money.
However, that event is now a thing of the past and Armando has now sets his sights on I-League – a domain Dempo has simply learned to conquer and has developed a liking to annex the coveted crown whenever an opportunity has beckoned them. Three of the five I-League titles and over all 5 national league crowns have the name Dempo SC inscribed on them for being the Indian Champions. And, as Armando once again leads his men the target will, definitely, be no different.
With local challengers and former champions Churchill Bros awaiting Dempo in the lung-opener at Fatorda, on October 6, Armando is keen to get the desired result in his team’s favour.
“Yes, not winning the Federation Cup was a bit disappointing. But I must say that we played very good football in that competition and the fact that we managed to reach the final spoke of the effort and commitment the players put in during the entire tournament,” Armando told The Navhind Times on Wednesday. “In fact, Dempo played at two different venues- Jamshedpur and Siliguri- and even in the final we held the upper hand but sometimes things don’t work in your favour. That’s football I must say and may be a bit of bad luck bugged us and we could not seal the issue in our favour,” he continued.
“I can only say that we played very good football till the final whistle in the finals and in the end it was East Bengal who won the title,” said Armando.
Asked about the I-League, where Dempo, will be defending their title, the former national coach reminded that his team will continue to play the kind of football that has been appreciated by one and all.
“I have always told the players to enjoy their game and not worry about the result. We at Dempos do not pressurise the players but allow them to play with freedom and that’s how the seeds of success are sown at a very early stage,” remarked Armando, while explaining his novel philosophy on football, which is built on the strong pillars of man management - a crucial but important cog in the success wheel of club administration.
On Churchill as Dempo’s opponent in this season’s I-League opener, the head coach of India’s most successful club, said: “Churchill have played really well in the recent Federation Cup and we know they will come prepared.”
On his team’s tactics, Armando maintained that no coach can speak of his tactics in the open. “However, one thing I can say is that tactics can be changed but not the style,” Armando summed up.