A stern test awaits the young Indian Arrows when it takes on a resurgent Churchill Brothers in their I-League clash on Monday. Churchill, which is lying in the second-last spot in the 10-team event, made a host of changes in the new year romping in four foreigners in a bid to rekindle its poor form.
And it now looks like a settled side as it remained unbeaten in its last three matches but still remains three points below Indian Arrows, which is placed seventh. A win tomorrow will ensure Churchill remains above the relegation zone and also replace the Arrows in the seventh place.
Osagie Monday, who scored in Churchill’s win against Shillong Lajong, has been a pillar in the heart of the side’s defence. New comer Dawda Ceesay along with Mechac Koffi have combined well upfront.
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However, playmaker Kalu Ogba is doubtful after he limped off in the first half against Lajong. Kalu has been the fulcrum of the team attack and coach Alfred Fernandes hopes that he get fits in time. Jovel Martins is the other player who has not fully recovered and the Churchill coach does not want to field him tomorrow.
“We are going into tomorrow’s match with a lot of confidence after our two consecutive win and a draw in the last three matches we have played. Indian Arrows is a very good team and are very good in counter attack. So we can’t be complacent,” said Fernandes.
Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos said all the games in the tournament are tough for his young side. “We come into this match on the back of two defeats, while Churchill brothers have won two matches and have lot of confidence going into tomorrow’s match. They have changed a lot of players and it has been good for them. They know if they beat us tomorrow they will be on same points with us and it is going to be a big challenge for us to beat them,” said de Matos.
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“Our aim is to get as much experience from this tournament. The boys are playing well and I am happy the way they are progressing. I am not worried about the results. We have lost matches mainly due to individual mistakes,” he added.
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