After a good start to their debut season in the I-League at home, Real Kashmir FC are now travelling across India to play away games.
Their away journey started with a draw against Gokulam Kerala followed by a win against league leaders Chennai City. Now they have come to Kolkata to face an in-form East Bengal side on Friday.
Speaking about his side’s performance so far, Kashmir coach David Robertson said, “I think the enthusiasm in the team is very good. We are a new team. We have been very consistent in all the nine games we played.”
On his side’s chances of winning against giants East Bengal, Robertson suggested, “We have to be realistic. We are a new team and we are playing good football. We are in a good position at the moment but for us, the three most important matches are Mohun Bagan, Chennai City FC and East Bengal.”
The Scottish coach is aware of the reality and he acknowledged the superiority of the Kolkata clubs. He said, “It was always going to be tough but we did well against Chennai City. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are the biggest clubs of India. As a 12-year-old boy in Scotland, I had heard about these two teams. They are the biggest clubs with biggest budgets. The pressure is on them to get results. We do not have any pressure. If we win it will be a big shock.”
On being asked about the I-League telecast fiasco, the Scottish coach opined, “After tomorrow we will pretty much play against all the teams at least once. So we know all the teams, the preparation will be pretty much the same. But it is definitely disappointing from the clubs' and league's point of view. The football fans in India will be deprived of games. I am here for two years now and I think that this is a special and an exciting league.”
"Playing in I-League puts Kashmir in the footballing map in India. Till now people only knew about Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Ishfaq Ahmed from Kashmir. Last year we won the second division with five Kashmiri players in our starting lineup. That shows how talented the local players are.”
On opponents East Bengal, the Scottish coach said, “Jobby Justin, in my opinion, is the best striker in the league. They are a big team and we expect a tough game tomorrow.”