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Super Cup 2019: Chennai City FC's Akbar Nawas - FC Pune City are favourites

1:08 am AEDT 31/3/19
Akbar Nawas
The Singaporean has stated that the Punekars will want to make amends to their poor ISL campaign

Chennai City FC, fresh from their I-League championship, come up against FC Pune City in the 2019 Super Cup.

The coach of the southern outfit, Akbar Nawas, feels that the Indian Super League (ISL) side will be the favourites in Sunday's Round of 16 encounter.

"I think Pune will be the favourites, if you take into account the foreigners that they have and their coach. We are no match to any ISL team in terms of budget. On paper, I'm sure they are the favourites," said the 43-year-old.

"For a team like Pune City, I'm sure they would want to do well in the Super Cup based on what happened to them in the league (ISL). For us, we won the league (I-League). It's a different motivation factor for us to play tomorrow (Sunday). How hungry are we to win tomorrow, we can only tell when we start the game," he added.

The former Tampines Rovers manager also shared his thought with regard to the timing of the Super Cup in comparison to how cup competitions are held elsewhere.

"All over the world, you play the cup competitions within the league itself and the final is normally after the league. So it's something new to me to play a cup competition after the league," he stated.

Akbar Nawas went on to explain what went behind the success of his team's championship run in the I-League.

"I think everyone knows that it has been tough from the transition of the players - getting in new players and staff on board. We had to reorganise everything on and off the pitch. We had build our strategies from scratch and I'm glad that we won the league. Credit to all the players. From last year's Super Cup, it gave me a glimse to what I could do with my players," he said.

Given the kind of impact the foreign contingent has had in his squad, Nawas revealed, "The good thing is, we went to scout them. So we roughly knew what they can bring to us in terms of the system that we want to play. So that was a good thing to see for yourself in order they assimilate well with the Indian players.

"I have to also give these players (foreigners) for assimilating with the local players. It's not so easy to integrate foreigners and local players so easily. You have to credit them for being humble and the local players for accepting them and learning from them."