The two coaches will know a game of this calibre is often played out in the context of a make or break tie for the dueling sides...Week two of the I-League has come and gone, but neither Dempo SC nor Rangdajied United are nowhere near the ‘idealist’ start they hoped to attain heading into this encounter.
Rangdajied just haven’t been good enough and fear has already set afoot that the recently promoted I-League Division II side could be headed back with a hasty re-union with the second tier of Indian football.
They were at the end of a bitter thumping at the hands of Bengaluru FC and lost the week before that to United Sports Club. Still without a goal in the 2013-14 season seems to make matters worse for the Meghalaya based outfit.
Coach Santosh Kashyap, though, seems to think otherwise. “We are a new team playing in the I-League. The fans will have to be patient to see the team perform to its full potential,” explained the ex-Indian international.
While opining that his squad’s foreigners weren’t upto match fitness, Kashyap said, “These players are used to the short passing game but my game is the direct attacking strategy.”
His views were strongly backed by his skipper Eugeneson Lyngdoh while he also admitted that local lads were raring to have a go in front of local support. “I hope they (the players) are capable to bringing out what is expected of them.”
Meanwhile, I-League observers seem to have ditched the challengers tag for Dempo SC, while the coach himself seems to accept that his side could end up fighting for survival rather than for trophies, if they continue on their present lacklustre style of play, it reads for bitter assessment.
Dempo’s hunt for that elusive first win won’t be favoured by the fact that heading to Meghalaya is considered to be quite a herculean task itself.
Arthur Papas’ resurrection of Dempo seems to be hitting a brick wall as of now, with large amounts of criticism befalling his choice in foreigners who don’t offer much to his team’s build for success.
In his post-match interview at the end of Dempo’s last encounter against Mumbai, Papas assessed that his foreigners would grow in stature as the environment around them became more conducive.
“Individuals don’t always play well on their own. If they get the ball straight from defence, I don’t expect them to do much,” as he explicitly opines and he will look to iron out these flaws. However Papas will not be at hand to guide his team on Friday as he is in Australia for personal reasons with assistant coach Mauricio Afonso taking charge of the game.
"We look forward and hope we can play well as a unit. The morale of the players is still high. I am confident they will play to win," said Afonso.
Dempo have a few injury concerns with Samir Naik, Peter Carvalho and Godwin Franco being doubtful for the game in Shillong.
Two teams battling it out to get their season underway is the correct recipe for a fire-cracker. Both coaches will take a tactical view of the match, yet when it’s time for a slug-feat of sorts, the gaffers will look to out-do each other in the unappealing of ways. And that’s usually how matches of such importance end up. This just could be one of those matches you can’t comment on until the fat lady sings.
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