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The coach is heavily inclined towards youth participation in the CFL, wants friendlies included with the Mariners while being wary of ISL's impact on his squad....

Armado Colaco, the veteran Goan coach, has reiterated that he will give the youngsters at East Bengal, the right chances to break through into the first team in the Calcutta Football League while discussing a wide range of topics, from the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) to his foreign players.

“If you don’t give youngsters a chance to play at the Calcutta Football League (CFL), where would you play them then? Giving youngsters more chances is the only way to develop Indian football. It's not that I will take the CFL lightly. I will give opportunity to the youngsters. I'll give them extra confidence to go out and express themselves. I feel every team should play three under-20 players,” exclaimed the former Dempo SC coach, during a press meet at the Calcutta Sports Journalists Club, on the tender topic of giving youth the first team experience.

He also added, on the topic of fielding an all-youth inspired Indian team against their rivals from Kolkata Mohammedan Sporting in their first CFL Premier Division match, “I don't know now. But I also cannot commit on whether I will play Ranti (Martins). I will also have to keep the players fit for the AFC Cup.

"Also, what happens if someone like Ranti or any other senior pro (professional) gets injured? So, I really cannot comment as to whether Ranti will be there in our opening game.”

Colaco also revealed a pronounced dislike towards artificial pitches, believing them to be the root cause of injuries for players.

“Artificial turfs, I feel, are very bad for the game. It’s because of these surfaces that players tend to sustain knee and ankle injuries. This is one reason why I always make sure we practice at our ground.

“We’ll either go to Kalyani or any other venue when it comes to playing our home matches in the I-League. We’ll try and avoid the artificial turf (of Salt Lake Stadium) as much as possible,” he commented.

Colaco also opined that he would try to arrange friendlies with arch-rivals Mohun Bagan and opponents of the same ilk, considering the fact that many Goan clubs play each other in competitive friendlies, while Kolkata clubs do not. “I will request my secretary and play practice matches against Bagan if they agree,” revealed the ex-Indian national coach.

On the topic of the Indian Super League (ISL), Colaco seemed unperturbed with player participation, though being cautious as the number of important players he will miss for the season’s first Kolkata derby, against Mohun Bagan, come 31st August.

“As far as I’m concerned, many of my players will be going for the ISL. I have a difficulty -many of my players will go to various clubs and I won't have much time after they come back. There won’t be much time to adapt and get back to shape for (I-League and Federation Cup) when they return.

"At the end of the day, though, they are all professionals. So we should be able to handle it. Moreover, many of these clubs might go abroad for training which will be very good for the players. There is a lot to learn.”

“Now look, if a situation arises that players will have to be released before August 31, we have to face it then. It’s not just us, but other clubs too will face a similar problem,” elucidated Colaco.

Club Secretary Kalyan Majumdar, chipped in on the matter, stating, “As far as I know, the date of the players’ departure for ISL has been rescheduled to August 20. But can anyone guarantee if the CFL Derby will really happen on the 31st? The schedule keeps changing every now and then.

“So let’s see. We might try and hold back some of the players if the derby is held as per schedule,” revealed the head honcho.

“We cannot get all our seniors for Durand. So, if the juniors do well in CFL, we can certainly think of taking part in Durand. The CFL will give us a picture of how well prepared our juniors are,” concluded Majumdar on the topic of the Red and Golds’ Durand Cup participation. 

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