We want to qualify for the I-League - Eagles FC coach Stanley Rozario

The former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan tactician has identified the Federation Cup as a learning phase for his "new" team

GOALBY   ANSELM NORONHA     Follow @apnoronha on twitter

Eagles FC are set to face Pune FC on 14 January in the oncoming Federation Cup, while Churchill Brothers SC and United Sports Club will be their other two opponents in Group A.

Stanley Rozario was appointed as the head coach of the Kerala-based outfit only last month.

"This is a new beginning for Eagles FC. Of course, the team was formed long back but they were not in the high level of football. The Eagles FC management has a good vision to direct this club in a big professional way and they are planning in the long term to make an impact on football, in Kerala particularly," he told Goal.

"There was a plan to bid for a direct entry in the I-League, which may happen next year. In between, when I got this opportunity, I thought that it's a new challenge and I have never coached in Kerala," Rozario continued.

"With only one month's work so far, this team has not undergone any pre-season [training]. So it's a very tough task in the Federation Cup. It's a tournament for the top tier teams in India where we are a new bunch of players."

The former Shillong Lajong coach also stressed on his side's main objective for which the Federation Cup will be used as a platform for the necessary preparations.

"Our main aim is to play in the second division I-League," Rozario revealed. "We want to qualify for the I-League in the coming season. That the ultimate aim of the club as well as for me. We got an entry in the Federation Cup because one club (Langsning FC) pulled out. So I want the boys to play and get some experience in the tournament where they can get more confidence and co-ordinate among themselves."

One direction | Moving towards playing in the I-League

The 53-year-old was however quick to mention that he does not have high expectations from Eagles FC in the Federation Cup.

"I cannot expect any big results. The worrying factor is that it was a very short time for me and the players to play a big tournament. All the 13 I-League clubs finished playing about 15 matches in the league. So they are match fit and the competition level will be very high, whereas we are only playing in the club level championship match within Kerala.

"I am motivating the boys to work hard and I'm sure that we will get something from the team to build up towards the second division I-League."

On Eagles FC's team composition, Rozario mentioned, "We had organised some trials to select some local talent, as you know there is a lot of potential in Kerala. India also have produced many top class footballers from here, like I.M Vijayan and Jo Paul Ancheri.

"We got some players from IMG-Reliance also. Sushil Kumar Singh, Govin Singh, Chitrasen [Singh], Bisheshwor Singh, Nadong Bhutia and Jagroop [Singh]. They are making a difference in the team, I can say."

Nigerian strikers, Koko Sakibo and Odili Felix Chidi, and Ghanian defender Charles Dzisah make up for the three foreigners in the team and the club may not sign a fourth foreigner. "We can play only three foreigners in the second division, so I think we will go with only three foreigners in the Federation Cup," Rozario reasoned.

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