Gokulam Kerala vs Chennai City - Akbar Nawas slams training facility in Kozhikode

Akbar Nawas Chennai City FC I-League 2018-19
AIFF Media
Bino George responded to Nawas' criticism of the training ground and said that Gokulam Kerala had no other option...

Chennai City head coach Akbar Nawas expressed his displeasure at the training facilities provided to his team by Gokulam Kerala ahead of their I-League clash on Sunday. 

Both teams trained at the Calicut University Ground which is approximately 23 kilometres and an hour's journey away from the Corporation Stadium which is situated in the town centre of Kozhikode. 

The Singaporean coach said, "We were quite upset about what happened in the morning. We had to travel for one hour and nobody knew how to get to the ground. The ground was bumpy, I advised my players not to train in case they pick up injuries.

"It was an issue in the morning. It is what it is. It doesn't mean we are going to compromise or not show up tomorrow. There is nothing we can do about it, we just have to prep ourselves."

On Sunday's contest, Nawas praised Gokulam Kerala's fighting spirit and said that his team will take the game to the hosts. 

Pedro Manzi Chennai City

"We can do better for sure. We are trying to build a team. Mistakes will happen but it does not mean that we won't continue to play the way we play. Gokulam are a decent team, they fight well and have a never-say-die attitude."

Chennai City owner Rohit Ramesh and full-back Edwin Vanspaul put out sarcastic tweets referring to the lack of a proper training ground.


Gokulam Kerala head coach Bino George responded to Nawas' comments on the training ground facility by saying that the club had no other option since all the other training grounds were already booked. 

"I heard that Chennai City complained. Last time, their main ground where I-League matches were played was painted to make it look green. They improved it this season. We used to train at Devagiri Ground but they were already booked, Medical College Ground was (also) already booked. Even if we try to book, the situation is such that we won't get a ground. We had no other option.

"We will have to face it (consequences) now, when we go play there (in Chennai)...they will think we did it intentionally. We didn't get a ground at NEROCA. We practised on an artificial ground and played on grass. We cannot say anything."

Gokulam Mohun Bagan Henry Kisekka

The Malayali coach revealed that the club is close to signing their sixth foreigner. Ivory Coast striker Arthur Kouassi is set to join the team, subject to the league's approval.

"We were searching for the sixth foreigner. We can only sign free players. Not every foreigner can succeed. It was a friend of mine who suggested Henry Kisekka, a friend has suggested this foreigner as well.

"Performances will improve when there is competition up front, I believe. The team will be set in a few games. After 2-3 games, the team will play according to my style. Foreigners this season are far better than last season."

Bino George Gokulam Kerala I-League 2018-19

Bino George could spring more surprises in the starting lineup after the exclusion of Arjun Jayaraj in the first team against NERCOA left his counterpart bemused. 

"We respect Chennai City, they have more points for us. We must get three points on our home ground. We choose players based on our opponents. After the match against NEROCA, their coach enquired why Arjun did not play. They had prepared a strategy to stop Arjun. That plan worked."

Both teams are unbeaten after the first two rounds. Chennai City won 4-1 against Indian Arrows being held by Churchill Brothers 2-2 on Thursday. 

Gokulam will host Nawas' men after back-to-back 1-1 draws against Mohun Bagan and NEROCA FC