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I-League 2018-19: Akbar Nawas - I was sure that we would come back

15:35 GMT 09/03/2019
Akbar Nawas
After winning I-League Akbar Nawas wants an unified league with 20 teams...

Akbar Nawas gave all the credit to his players after lifting the maiden I-League trophy by virtue of finishing on top of the table with 43 points from 20 matches. 

"All credit to the players. They showed their character today. They helped each other and they delivered. There was a lot of pressure. During the halftime, I told them that during every single attack we should look for goal. 

"Everything was going against us. Eslava getting injured and then an early goal, it became very difficult. The way we played in the second half it shows our character. To be honest, I was happy that we were a goal down because I was pretty sure we could come back," stated an ecstatic Nawas. 

But the Singapore-based coach still believes that his side has room for improvement and his work now is to take the Indian players to the next level. 

"This is a process I repeat. The I-League win is a bonus. We have room for improvement. Next season we have to see how we can concede fewer goals and be more effective on the break. This season we kept possession and now we should try and do that more in the opponent's half. We have to go up another level as these players must get called up for the national team. 

"The win will boost confidence. All clubs now know that we can play this kind of football and still win. My players put my name on the landscape of Indian football. It is for them. I am very happy," said the I-League winning coach. 

The tactician believes that India should have a unified league and then the national team would benefit even more. 

"I hope we are there (playing the premier league) next season. It is not for me to comment. I think there should be a unified league with 20 teams. The national team would benefit more. Every professional player should play at least 45 games a season," opined Nawas. 

Gourav Bora scored a brace in the 3-1 win over Minerva Punjab and the young defender heaped praise on his teammates for helping him grow as a player. 

"It is a great feeling. Our coach told don't think about the score and focus on the game. The entire squad deserves credit for this victory. The foreign players have helped us a lot to get accustomed to this style of play. 

"On other days there a lot of foreign players in the box and today the full focus was on Manzi. So I took advantage of that and scored the goals," signed off the 20-year old.