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The Red Machines failed to reach the heights of last season. Goal's Atanu Mitra analyses and gives his verdict...

 Atanu Mitra
 COMMENT | I-League
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Goal in its end of season special analyses the performance of all the teams in India's top flight and in this piece, we focus on Churchill Brothers.

Churchill Brothers


Expectation : As the defending champions, Churchill Brothers were at expected to once again challenge for the title. Although they did lose several players in the transfer window such as Beto, Steven Dias and Sandip Nandy, they retained the core of the side. The likes of Hameed Adesope, Hugo Machado and Ahmad Al Kaddour made up the foreign contingent alongside Henry Antchouet.

Result: The start was disastrous and the performance graph never seemed to go up. Balwant Singh was the only consistent performer in the side but a poor selection of foreign players never really helped their cause. To fill in the quota of four foreign players, the club used as many as 11 players!

In the winter break, the Red Machines left everyone stunned by winning the Federation Cup, but failed to replicate that form in the I-League. They seemed destined to be the first champions to get relegated in India but a late strike from Balwant Singh saved their blushes on the final day.

STAT OF THE SEASON 

Churchill have recruited foreigners from 8 countries, highest in the league.

The Coach : The Churchill management started their season with Sukhwinder Singh as the technical director. With results not going in their favour, the former India coach chose to put in his papers. They once again turned to Subhash Bhowmick to rescuse their season. However the tension between coach Mariano Dias and Bhowmick was evident. While Dias guided the club to Federation Cup triumph, Bhowmick was reportedly absent from the technical area for the final two matches of Churchill Brothers.


There was a confusion over whose instructions were to be followed and Dias never hesitated to highlight the same.

Where it went wrong
: : Churchill's startegy to recruit foreigners was poor. They used 11 players in the whole campaign and except for Abdelhamid Shabana and Anthony Wolfe, none contributed to the team’s cause. The rift between the coaches was also a major problem as the players found it difficult to cope with different strategies.

Top 3 Performances

1. Salgaocar 1- 2 Churchill Brothers

2. Churchill Brothers 1-0 East Bengal

3. Churchill Brothers 3-2 Sporting Goa


Top Player of the Season
Balwant Singh

Balwant was the star of the show

 The former JCT striker was in golden form in this season as he was instrumental in saving his side from relegation. The forward was impressive in all the competitions and scored 10 goals in the I-League alone. He excelled throughout the season, winning his maiden India appearance as a consequence. His heroics were got rewarded as he was named the Indian Player of the Year by Football Players Association of India (FPAI).

Flop Player of the Season
Arindam Bhattacharya

Arindam performed much below the expectations

The Churchill custodian's return to the club wasn't noteworthy. His performance levels dipped as the season progressed and as a result, he found himself behind in the reckoning for a start.

AFC Cup is a separate competition and I-League is a separate competition. I’m responsible in AFC Cup matches and I can’t say what is happening in the I-League."

- Mariano Dias
(Churchill Brothers manager)


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