The upset win over table-topper Chennai City has further embellished Real Kashmir FC's dream run on I-League debut but Real Kashmir coach David Robertson says the two clashes against Kolkata giants will determine where they stand.
Real Kashmir is gearing up for its biggest challenge so far with Friday’s clash against Kolkata heavyweight East Bengal followed by Mohun Bagan on January 6.
Robertson said if his team could win against the Kolkata giants it will be a “shock“.
“The pressure is on them to get results. If we don’t get result, who cares. But if we managed to get something, then it’s a big shock,” said Robertson.
“We did well against Chennai. It might be a one-off game but who knows. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are the biggest clubs in India.”
Robertson said he himself was surprised to see his team's second place in the league standings.
“It may be a false position but the games against East Bengal, Mohun Bagan will dictate where we end up in the season. After our game against Mohun Bagan, we will know exactly where we’re heading in the season,” he said on a realistic note.
The club from the valley began its away journey with a draw against Gokulam Kerala and followed it up with a memorable win over league leader Chennai City and to reduce the points difference to one.
“It’s been a good story for the club. To be where we are at the moment is really fantastic. There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the team. We are enjoying every bit of it.”
“Playing in I-League puts Kashmir in the footballing map in India. Till now people only knew about Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Ishfaq Ahmed from Kashmir. Last year we won the second division with five Kashmiri players in our starting lineup. That shows how talented the local players are,” he said.
He lamented that the football fans in India would be deprived of high intensity football with the revised I-League telecast schedule.
It was recently announced that the broadcasters would cut down on the TV coverage to just 30 matches of the remaining 61 in the rest of the season.
While Mohun Bagan is the only side which will has all its matches shown on TV, defending champion Minerva was the worst-hit with only one match for the remainder of the season to be telecast on TV.
The decision has received widespread criticism and the Scottish coach of Kashmir said, “The football fans in India will be deprived of games. I am here for two years now and I think that is a special and an exciting league.”
The Scot also said even as a 12-year-old boy in Scotland he knew about Mohun Bagan and East Bengal as he termed himself lucky to face the two clubs in the I-League.
“East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are the two biggest clubs of India. As a 12-year-old boy in Scotland, I had heard about these two teams,” he said.
“They have the biggest budgets. I’ve been with big clubs in Scotland too, and playing with big clubs brings a lot of pressure.”
“At the start of the season, my aim was to get enough points to make sure we are safe in the league. I know how difficult it was for us to get into the league and how much it means for the people of Kashmir and the team. But as I said after these two games we will see where we finish.
“We got to be realistic in where we are. We will be playing against two of the biggest football clubs in India. They have fame, history behind them.”
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