Arthur Papas is pleased that several Dempo players are part of the preparatory camp for the Asian Games in Bangalore and believes that a successful pre-season could see them challenging for all trophies.
“We have some immediate challenges due to the fact that we will not have a full squad to train with and prepare purely for the I-League. This is due to having the highest number of players of any I-League clubs involved in the Asian Games Squad and then followed by a large number of our players playing in the Indian Super League (ISL) for the Goa Franchise.
“I am supportive of this for various reasons but also understand the fact that this hinders our Dempo SC preparations without a shadow of doubt. I feel that if we are able to navigate through this period successfully we will find ourselves challenging on every front this season,” he said.
The former Pailan Arrows coach highlighted that Dempo’s strength was in the fact that they are united as a squad and with the right training culture, they can only make further progress.
“Our primary focus surrounds the continued improvement of the training culture and our style of play, a new season is a new beginning for all involved. I look forward to collaborating with the players who were retained, returning and also the new players who I really hope will go on to have a great career representing this great club.
“Our strength in the second half of the season was the unity of the group and I am excited to get on the field and work with each and every one of them again. Success on game day comes from creating the correct training environment and culture and we will be working hard to ensure we are successful this season.”
Papas stated that Dempo’s squad boasts of several youngsters who are of top quality which translates into a bright future for the club.
“One of the objectives set by our chairman, Mr.Shrinivas Dempo was to provide a platform for the top Indian talents at Dempo SC. I am really pleased with how we have managed to recruit what I consider the most talented young players both from Goa and also India into our squad. At the end of last season although we barely mentioned it, a report stated that Dempo SC averaged the youngest team in the I-League at season’s end and this was only possible due to the chairman’s vision and our belief that given the opportunity ,these boys can become very good first team players.
“A perfect example of how we evolved in this area was when we had eight players called up in the preliminary Asian Games squad. When I arrived (last summer), the club only had one player who would have been considered for this squad. All the young players we have understand that they must raise the bar and not only be happy to be at Dempo but be willing to push very senior players out of the way if they are going to play. Dempo SC as it stands today has without a doubt a squad filled with high quality young Indian players and the club is in a very good position for the future.”
Papas urged Dempo fans to stay loyal to the club and thanked them for their unwavering support at a time when the squad was undergoing transition.
“My message to our loyal fans is to thank them for being patient and not wavering in their support for this great club in what was a period of change last season. There is so much for them to be excited about for the future when you look at the makeup of our squad, and they got a glimpse of this future towards the end of last season when the team performed at a very high level and played an exciting brand of football at a high intensity.
“I assure all supporters that it is only going to get better this coming season!”