|Colaco under pressure to emulate the success of Morgan in Federation Cup
Reigning champions East Bengal will go to the Federation Cup in Kerala as one of the big favourites, but they will have to hit the ground running after being drawn in a difficult group. Their record in the said competition has been exceptional having won four out of the last five editions.
Armando Colaco, in his time at Dempo SC, only managed to win the Federation Cup once and the challenge for him would be to ensure that the Kolkata outfit continue their dominance in the said tournament.
While they have easily dispatched the ‘not so strong’ opponents in the Calcutta Premier League (CPL) , they have failed to notch results against the likes of Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting. In the I-League, they have won two of their last five matches.
The Red and Gold will have to ensure that they start on a positive note as they would have no time to adapt in a group where some of the best I-League are for company. Winning Cup competitions is no mean feat for which having a large squad is essential, something which the Kolkata side has.
|Can they translate their league form in the Cup competition?
The fledgling club are on top of the I-League table in a season where they were guaranteed the safety of not being relegated. There wasn’t any pressure to perform so to say and that played an important role in the players putting their best foot forward.
One of the positives of the JSW-owned outfit has been that the club’s management and the coach Ashley Westwood have always shielded their players from feeling the weight of expectations. However having performed exceptionally well so far in the league, it will be interesting to see how they perform when faced with the prospect of having to play five matches in eleven days in order to win the competition.
Having won the FA Youth Cup with Manchester United, Westwood knows the importance of winning cup competitions. Sunil Chhetri will hope to win the Federation Cup having never won it in his career while Sean Rooney will look to break his duck in the tournament after flopping big time with Salgaocar FC last term.
Sporting Clube de Goa
|Gonzalo Neila - one of the reasons why Sporting are miserly at the back
Under Oscar Bruzon’s tutelage, it would be fair to state that this is one side, along with United Sports Club, who are adept at keeping possession for long periods. It is no easy task to play against Sporting and see more of the ball.
The Goan outfit play an attractive brand of football and have a settled team. Every player’s role is defined and their foreign contingent, namely Boima Karpeh, Ogba Kalu, Gonzalo Neila and Arturo Navarro, have performed well.
Unlike in the past where they had a leaky defense, Sporting have conceded only 13 goals in 14 matches. However they do need to work on their finishing as the number of chances created to the goals scored is very low.
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|Kashyap's tactical acumen to come to the fore
The north eastern squad doesn’t have a strong squad – which is of utmost importance in a knockout tournament like the Federation Cup. However Santosh Kashyap’s tactical acumen and motivational skills have come to the fore on several occasions and one wouldn’t bet against them coming up with a couple of decent results. They have a talented winger in David Nghaite who also scored in the final of the Shillong League and helped his side win the title for the first time in three years. Like Shillong Lajong, they too will have to adapt to the humid conditions in Manjeri.
Last season, Kashyap was shown the door by Mohun Bagan after failing to help them onto the knockout stages. He would be keen to make amends and ensure that his side give a decent account of themselves. The positive for them is that their foreign players are fit and by the end of the competition, Kashyap would hope that the coordination amongst them gets better.