Churchill Brothers FC is set to sound the gong with its senior players whilst Punjab FC will look to soak it with an array of players who have already played for Indian Super League (ISL); from its youth development system and mix of foreign players in the first I-League match of 2019-2020 being played at the Fatorda stadium after a gap of three years.
The story has not been as good as it was before for Churchill Brothers but could get better largely because the emphasis is on local talent and leading the herd is Glan Martins. The team that was relegated two seasons back and finished fourth last season will try to start the new season against a team that has turned all eyes with its stupendous youth development results.
Whilst Churchill Alemao is hoping to jump into the youth development system – if he gets aid from the government – as he asserted, Punjab FC is reaping the fruits of the leap it took by itself four years back. So, Fatorda, off the field, will be a fight between a man who is dreaming to do what a man is doing.
Churchill Brothers FC starts with Willis Plaza upfront but will be missing the services of a good goalkeeper to ward off the attacks from the Punjab FC lads who have Dipanda Dicka upfront and a galaxy of new foreign faces.
“Willis has been the top scorer and a lot will depend on him. I expect the boys from Goa to contribute equally well,” Churchill Alemao had told this newspaper in conversation a few days back.
“I like to bring in new faces and give others the platform to shine on. If they join other teams later it is good for them,” commented Punjab FC owner, Ranjit Bajaj.
Churchill Brothers FC is plagued without a good goalkeeper. Present keeper Jafar Mondal is good but not up to the mark of this competition. “I had tried for another keeper but did not succeed,” lamented Churchill. “But we can do with this one. He is not bad,” he added.
If Churchill has not managed to fill in the best in the goal, his defense appears resolute with Jovel Martins and Meldon D’Silva capable of soaking the pressure and the midfield is capable of entertaining with Glan being the star and capable of getting the shine out of Qan Gomes in particular.
Punjab FC has started this season by signing eight players from the ISL. A smart gamble that could disturb Churchill’s first gulp of 2019-2020 or that of other teams.
Churchill Brothers FC is starting without a coach as Churchill is not happy with Edward Ansah who was his goalkeeper before. “He is a good goalkeeping coach but cannot organise the midfield. That is why I am getting another coach. I will tell you when the new coach comes,” said Churchill on the sidelines of an interview. “I will keep Edward even after the new coach comes,” he added.
Churchill Brothers, having already had the upper hand last season against Punjab, where the side from Goa who defeated the visitors in their home ground 2-0 and 0-0 draw away in Ludhiana.
“The difference this season and the last is, that the entire squad is new apart from 3-4 players. We have changed our philosophy to meet the standards and demands of the modern day football, knowing that most of the other teams have got foreign coaches and are going to play serious tactical football. We have a perfect blend of top experienced players who know the Hero I-league very well and a bunch of fantastic young players who are currently playing in the Junior national teams,” said Yan Cheng Law, coach of Punjab FC