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I-League 2019-20: Aizawl FC's Stanley Rozario - Only a good start will help us move forward

21:31 SAST 2019/11/15
Standly Rozario
The former India assistant has a task of managing the fixtures of the MPL and I-League...

Aizawl FC head coach Stanley Rozario has stated that the fixture congestion due to the upcoming I-League 2019-20 season and the ongoing Mizoram Premier League (MPL) will be a worrying factor.

The People's Club is set to kick-off their I-League campaign against Mohun Bagan on November 30 but has the local league ties to deal with, other than a potential clash in the MPL final on December 14.

"It's a worrying factor for me. We will be playing around five to six matches in 15 days. The worrying part is playing in two different leagues and travelling between places. The boys should not get injured and fatigued," the 59-year-old told Goal.

"Psychological pressure will also be weighing heavily on the boys because the matches are all result-oriented. It's a big challenge for me and my boys. The only advantage is that we play our big game against Mohun Bagan at home," he added.

After opting not to participate in the Mizoram Football Association (MFA) Super Cup in order to focus on their pre-season, Aizawl took part in the Independence Day Celebration Football Tournament where they lost against FC Venghnuai in the semi-finals via a penalty shoot-out in August. 

In the MPL, Aizawl conceded only three goals till the 10th round that included eight clean sheets. However, interestingly, they lost their Round 11 match against Mizoram Police FC 6-5 despite leading 5-1 in the first half.

"Sometimes it happens in football. After leading 5-1 at half-time, it was like a nightmare. I want to say, at this point in time, that this is very good for the players and for me also. Suddenly dropping like this after winning continuously helps you learn a lot from a situation like this," Rozario admitted.

The club has so far managed with only two foreigners, Liberian midfielder Alfred Kemah Jaryan and Ugandan defender Juuko Richard Kassaga, while Nigerian defender Eze Kingsley Obumneme has been the latest addition among the overseas recruits.

"This is totally a developmental team. We have inducted nine boys from our academy and around 15 boys are below the age of 20. The boys have been improving and developing but it (the standard) won't work in the I-League. We need some more foreigners and they need to train and acclimatise to the weather other than understanding our philosophy. I'm also eyeing some of the local talents from the local league to strengthen our side," the Aizawl coach revealed.

Given the young squad at his disposal, the former Shillong Lajong and United Sikkim tactician mentioned that he enjoys working with an enthusiastic bunch of northeastern boys for a reason.

"Northeastern boys have that talent and potential to upset any big club and I'm always happy to work with northeastern teams. I'm looking forward to a positive start (in the I-League) as a winning start will give more motivation and confidence to the boys.

"I don't want to commit anything such as 'we want to finish in the top half' or anything like that but I want a good start. Only a good start will help us move forward. Otherwise, it will be very difficult, because last year the same thing happened before I came in and brought them up from 10th to a seventh-place finish.

"So collecting points in the starting itself will help us from getting in trouble in big matches as every team will also get stronger and better as the league progresses," Rozario reasoned.