Federation Cup Group C: Bagan won’t find it easy

Goal looks at cluster C of the Federation Cup where the Mariners are pooled alongside Salgaocar FC, Shillong Lajong and Mumbai FC…
Mohun Bagan

How would Bencherifa cope in the absence of Odafa

The Green and Maroon brigade will have to be on top of their game if they are to progress from this group. They are the only side in this cluster who have the luxury of four foreign players however much would depend on the fitness of Odafa Okolie who is to undergo a MRI scan to determine the extent of his problem in hamstring.

The manner in which Bagan play changes dramatically when Odafa is in the line-up. In his absence, the team lack a lethal goal scorer.

Defensively they have been miserly at the back in the I-League having conceded a mere 13 goals from 15 outings. Coach Karim Bencherifa would hope that he can guide the club to win a trophy this season.


Mumbai FC

Ezeh's second stint with Mumbai FC

One must admit that Mumbai FC have improved following the addition of Yusif Yakubu and some players from the IMG-Reliance bandwagon. They have been unbeaten in their last five matches where they faced the likes of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Pune FC. However they shall miss the services of Mohammed Rafi who has an ankle injury. They have strengthened themselves by adding the likes of striker Henry Ezeh, midfielder Sehnaj Singh and defender Rahul Bheke.

Sehnaj has been highly rated by several coaches in the country for his technical skills, especially his range of passing.  Khalid Jamil’s side are physically strong and set-pieces work to their advantage. Climax Lawrence’s experience in the middle of the park will be vital for their fortunes. They are the dark horses in the group.


Salgaocar FC

Derrick will look to change Salgaocar's fortunes

Form is certainly not on their side as they head into the Federation Cup having failed to register a win in their last seven I-League matches. And in four of those games, they failed to score a single goal.

The Greens are far too dependent on striker Darryl Duffy for goals and do not have a back-up option. Claude Gnakpa turned out to be a poor signing as the player failed to find the back of the net regularly and was suffering from a shoulder injury. Bikash Jairu from Mumbai Tigers has been roped in who was the top scorer in the Durand Cup where he netted seven goals.

In Derrick Pereira, they have an experienced campaigner who has won the tournament once as a coach of Mahindra United and thrice as a player for Salgaocar FC.

Much would depend on the form of their wingers, Francis Fernandes and Gilbert Oliviera too who are known to bomb forward at every given opportunity. They have been defensively susceptible lately and Pereira highlighted that it’s an area they have worked on during the break.


Shillong Lajong

Cornell Glen will  be the man to watch out for

The north eastern outfit have won three of their last four matches in the I-League. All their group matches are scheduled for a 4 pm kick-off which means they will have to adjust to the humid conditions at Kochi.

Striker Uilliams Silva has been ruled of the competition and Cornell Glen and Minchol Son aren’t hundred percent fit. Coach Thangboi Singto has highlighted that his focus is on the I-League and that he wouldn’t exert too much pressure on his side to yield results in the Cup competition.

They are capable of pulling off a few upsets and mustn’t be taken lightly as they are placed fourth in the league table. Making it into the last four would be asking too much from them, but they are no roll overs for sure.