Arthur Papas takes on a new challenge with the Golden Eagles, while Shillong Lajong will look to break their Goan jinx...Finishing fifth in the I-League last term, Dempo SC will have more than a point to prove this year as they will undoubtedly go into the new season hoping to win the I-League title.
The man tasked with the job is Arthur Papas who had a brilliant season with Pailan Arrows. This is an entirely different challenge altogether as he has to ensure that the club performs well wherein the results would play an important role.
While Pailan Arrows had the luxury of not being relegated, the Australian will have to ensure that the Goan outfit get positive results while at the same time promoting the younger lot.
“I can see that the young boys in the Goa League are really progressing and if they are progressing, then I'm not scared to play them in the I-League. If I played a whole team of young boys last year, I'm not scared to play three-or-four around better senior players,” Papas told Goal.
With Mahesh Gawli injured and Cresson Antao being deemed surplus to requirements, Papas is expected to hand debut to Simon Colosimo at the back with Shinnosuke Honda expected to partner him. Samir Naik and Debabrata Roy will take their full back roles on the right and left flanks respectively.
If deemed fit, else Godwin Franco, Peter Carvalho will play in the middle of the park with Jewel Raja and Clifford Miranda expected to play as the wide men. Beto will play in the hole behind the two strikers, Billy Mehmet and Jeje Lalpekhlua.
Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong have been poor travellers, being able to accumulate a mere eight points from a possible 39 in their away matches last term. They could only manage three points in eight games against Goan sides, of which just a point was won in Goa.
"It's always been a jinx coming to Goa to play against them. We have not been doing well against Goan teams in Goa. I think the last match we won against a Goan team here was when we beat Sporting Clube de Goa 1-0 in the 2009-10 season. After that I think we haven't really done much against Goan oppositions,” Singto recollected."It's a good challenge for us to do well and start the season positively. Dempo will be expecting to do well and so will we. We will aim to get a good result,” he added.
Lajong have made some smart moves in the transfer window as they roped in center forward Cornell Glen, the 2006 World Cupper, and Brazilian striker Uilliams Silva. Milan Singh, the former Arrows skipper, will be up against his former boss and the central midfielder would love to continue his progress at the north eastern side.
At the back, Minchol Son, who won six man of the match awards last term, will look to keep the Dempo attackers in check. The addition of Robin Gurung from ONGC FC shall definetely strengthen their back-line which was guilty of conceding unnecessary goals last season.
Two coaches who prefer to play an attacking brand of football, and surely the audience would love to witness the tie at the Duler Stadium, Goa on Sunday.
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