Air India took an early lead against Salgaocar FC, before being pegged back to a 1-1 draw at Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune on Tuesday evening.
The Airmen’s interim coach, Anthony Fernandes though had few regrets after the game, as he felt the sides were equally matched. He stated, “In today’s game I cannot complain because both teams were on equal terms and both sides played well. We saw some good attacking football.”
With the Mumbai-based side finishing the game with 4 forwards on the pitch, Air India’s desire to win the tie could not be questioned. Fernandes reiterated the same, and said, “That was our plan and we wanted the three points eagerly and put in all our resources but we could not get a win.”
The interim coach did feel though, that the team needs to improve their concentration and play at an optimum level throughout the game, if they want to move closer to the top of the table.
“In the second half we did not start well, this has been a problem for a while with us. But slowly we got our grip back. There was more aggression in the first half from our players but to play continuously at that pace for 90 minutes is not possible, there are patches they will be low, but we got back in.”
Air India also has several off the field issues to deal with as well, including the employment of a new head coach, with Anthony Fernandes having continued in his present position since a while.
Fernandes though was hopeful that a solution shall be reached soon. He revealed, “Air India has a complicated process, as we need approvals from the board, but in the next 2-to-3 games, we should have a new head coach.”
With Air India presently being a club run as a Public Sector Unit (PSU), they do not satisfy rules for a professional club that have been laid out by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Giving more details about the same, Fernandes commented, “The AFC issue is under process, the legal process is going on. We have received the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), but the manager could be in a better position to give you details.”
The delay in paper-work has also seen the Mumbai clubs continue to play in Pune, though a return to the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai is eagerly awaited by both, fans and club officials.
The Airmen’s interim coach too felt that the team would do better, once they are playing infront of their home supporters and is looking forward to the same.
“We are also eagerly waiting for a return to Cooperage, as we look forward to having some home support. That would be real advantage, as supporters will be there to cheer for us. Then even a dead person will come and play with a lot of enthusiasm,” he concluded.
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