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Goal looks at cluster A of the Federation Cup where the Red Lizards are pooled alongside Churchill Brothers, United Sports Club and Eagles FC…


Pune FC are one of the favourites

Mike Snoei’s side will go into the Federation Cup as one of the favourites to progress from Group A. In the four previous seasons when they participated in the competition, never have they managed to go past the group stages.

With influential winger Nikhil Kadam being ruled out of the tournament, the club has roped in Gabriel Fernandes from Dempo SC on loan until the end of the season. The biggest headache for Snoei would be to find a way to score goals. Apart from Mustapha Riga, they have the inexperienced Thongkhosiem Haokip as a back-up option while James Meyer isn’t a goal scorer though he has three to his name this term.

In their last five matches, they have recorded just a single win which suggests that they aren’t in the best of form going into the tournament.

In their last five matches, they have recorded just a single win which suggests that they aren’t in the best of form going into the tournament.


The Red Machines look to recover from the I-League setback

The semi-finalists from last season will look to find their form back before the I-League resumes next month. The Goan side are known to do well in Cup competitions but with a paper thin squad, expecting them to progress from the group remains a tough ask.

With Subhash Bhowmick, the technical director of the club not having travelled to Kerala due to personal reasons, Mariano Dias will have to prove his mettle as a coach. It’s tough being a foreign player at Churchill as should midfielders, AbdelHamid Shabana and Anthony Wolfe not hit the ground running, going by the fate of their colleagues, they could be shown the door! Anthony Pereira will b missing as he is still recovering from a knee injury.

Like Pune FC, they too have a problem upfront as scoring goals has been their Achilles Heel. And in the absence of a solid centre-back pairing, this is arguably the weakest Churchill side in recent years.



United Sports face an uphill task

The Kolkata outfit would hope to put to their financial troubles behind and let their football make the headlines. Coach Eelco Schattorie had spoken of his decision to resign but latter did an U-turn, much to the delight of the club, They have a decent squad to challenge the likes of Pune FC and Churchill Brothers but lack of motivation is hurting the squad. It mustn’t be surprising should they qualify into the semi-finals and much of that would depend on whether Ranti Martins and Eric Brown. In the absence of the injured Belo Rasaq, things don’t look rosy for United SC.


Stanley Rosario trying to make his presence felt

The Kerala outfit has an experienced coach in Stanley Rosario who has in the past guided an inexperienced Shillong Lajong side into the finals of the Federation Cup. The southern side have a number of IMG-Reliance players with the likes of Nadong Bhutia, Bijendra Rai, Avinabo Bag, Jagroop Singh, Bisheshwor Singh, Biswajeet Saha, Ramandeep Singh, Govin Singh, Ong Lepcha, Sushil Singh, Gouranga Biswas, Subhash Singh and Chitrasen Singh. They haven’t played many competitive games against decent oppositions. They recently participated in the 40th Kerala State Club Championship where they came second to Kerala Police. They will have the crowd to spur them on and any point won would be welcome.

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