Coach Talk: Federation Cup Team Profile - Churchill Brothers starts a new series, where the head coach of the respective team tells you all that you need to know about their team before the Federation Cup...


Subhash Bhowmick is the technical director of Churchill Brothers, with Mariano Dias being the head coach, since the former Indian International does not have an AFC “A” coaching license.

Bhowmick was called in mid-way through last season, after the club owners lost faith in Portuguese Manuel Gomes, though there was no sizable improvement in the squad’s performance, after the former Mohun Bagan coach took over the reins.

Bhowmick's major achievements as coach was with East Bengal, with whom he won the ASEAN Cup in 2003.


                                                    Key players have left Churchill over the summer...

Bhowmick is happy with the deals done by the club during the summer, and commented, “We have got a very young side, and have signed two very young boys from the Pailan Arrows, Gurtej Singh and Bikramjit Singh, and got two new players from Lebanon, of whom one is a cente-back (Bilal Najjarin) and the other a striker (Akram Moghrabi). Both are Lebanon national team players. I am happy with the signings this year.”

The Goan side have released Antun Kovacic and ND Opara, replacing them with two Asian signings in the form of defender Bilal Najjarin and Striker Akram Moghrabi.

However they have lost several key players over the summer, with goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya, defender Gouramangi Moirangthem and midfielders Lalrindika Ralte and Zakeer Mundampara, all leaving for new pastures, with the club replacing them with players who are either still untested, or not of the same quality.

Tomba Singh and Sandip Nandi add experience to the side, but not much in terms of quality.


About the club’s schedule during pre-season, Bhowmick informed, “We had our pre-season in Goa. We started out in July with our camp  and played a few matches against clubs like Pune FC and Dempo.”

On being quizzed about whether the focus of the camp was on fitness drills, the former Mohun Bagan coach added, “We cannot only look into fitness, as if we do only fitness, in two months players would die! So we have also focused on tactical and technical aspects and our playing style.”


The Churchill Brothers coach is playing his cards close to his chest, when it comes to revealing details about how his team shall lineup. He said, “Formation depends on the resources we have got and I don’t believe in to sticking to one formation and you have to play according to your and your rivals strengths, and this is constantly changing.” View – With several players leaving over the summer, Churchill’s squad balance has been affected. Apart from Steven Dias, there isn’t really any width present in the squad, while creatively, the squad will be over-reliant on Beto.

The defense could still prove to be the Goan side’s strongest point, as Naveen Kumar, Gurtej Singh and Najjarin provide good options in central defense, while Raju Yumnam and Denzil Franco have been a solid part of the side for a while.

Henri Antchouet will hope to kick on from last season and have a better campaign this time round, with Moghrabi hopefully weighing in with a few goals of his own.


Beto will play a vital part for Churchill this season...

Bhowmick was yet again non-commital about the players on whom the squad shall rely over the season and stated, “We have many players with potential in the side. So I do not want to mention anyone in particular. We have signed some good youngsters and I am happy with our squad.” View – One look at the squad sheet, and it is clear that the team is heavily reliant on their foreigners this season. Especially in attack, the Indian options leave much to be desired, and the trio of Beto, Henri and Moghrabi will have to share most of the goal scoring burden this season.

Beto infact will play a very crucial role this season, as no other player comes close to his playmaking skills in this squad.

At the back, Najjarin will be expected to bring his International pedigree and class to the Churchill defense.

Lenny Rodrigues meanwhile will look to establish himself as one of the premier Indian midfielders, having played a pivotal role in India’s Nehru Cup triumph.


Can they get the better of the Mariners?...

About Mohun Bagan and Air India, who are in the same Federation Cup group as Churchill Brothers, and his own hopes for the tournament, Bhowmick commented, “Mohun Bagan and Air India  are both good teams, as expected in such a tournament. So far we have no injury issues and we hope to field a strong side.” View – While not a vintage Churchill squad by any stretch of the imagination, on paper atleast, Churchill Brothers should be able to give Mohun Bagan a good fight, in their bid to progress to the semi-final. Air India will also be high on confidence after winning the Durand Cup, and cannot be discounted.

Whether Bhowmick manages to get the best out of the limited resources at his disposal might decide Churchill's fate, not only in the Federation Cup, but in the I-League as well.


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