Ismail Anil: India has always been a competitive football rival

The opponents of Churchill Brothers are short on match practice as the league is yet to kick-start...

New Radiant shall face Churchill Brothers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa in a group E AFC Cup fixture on Tuesday evening.

The Maldivian side haven’t had much competitive action except for the 1-0 victory registered over Singapore’s Home United a fortnight ago.

“Match fitness is an issue and concern. The delay in the local league’s start has deprived the team of any competitive games so far. That is certainly an issue, yes,” said coach Ismail Anil on his team’s preparations for the tie against Churchill.

He mentioned that although the club did participate in several practice games, match fitness gained from competitive fixtures was still missing.

“We did have a lot of pre-season friendlies, but unfortunately the friendlies we managed to arrange do not provide the club with the match fitness and experience we are looking for. It is quite below par,” he said.

Anil stated that adjusting to the weather conditions wouldn’t be much of a challenge for his side.

“A far as the weather and climate is concerned, it’s quite similar to what we have our country as well [Maldives].”

The Maldivian champions have done their home work on the reigning I-League winners who currently lie in the bottom of the league table.

“India has always been a competitive rival in terms of football. We have made all necessary arrangements and have studied the home team as well. We are going into the match well aware of the fact that the host team is the strongest. We are prepared.”


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