Goa: In a proverbial David versus Goliath match-up at the Tilak Maidan in Goa, All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) developmental side Indian Arrows will go up against the mighty Gokulam Kerala in the seventh game of the I-League 2019-20 season on Friday.
The game is the second one on Friday and is scheduled for a 5PM kick-off to be televised LIVE on DSPORT.
The side from Kerala is much improved from the one which was stunned by the Arrows, who were a different outfit themselves, exactly a year ago in the 12th I-League. The combination of Trinidadian Marcus Joseph and Ugandan Henry Kisseka is gelling well for Gokulam and it was evident in their opening game win against Manipur’s NEROCA FC at home.
Coach Fernando Valera sounded cautiously optimistic ahead of the game, “Our triumph at home gives us confidence but we must be respectful to the rivals and we know that Indian Arrows is a very intense team.”
On plans for the game, he added, “we need to maintain concentration, be dynamic and try to control the game.”
The Indian Arrows, on the other hand, have a new coach in Shanmugam Venkatesh and plucky youngsters like Ashish Mishra, Ajin Tom and Vikram Partap Singh and it remains to be seen whether they have settled down as a unit early in the season.
They are no longer all of the U-17 variety with players now having had international U-19 experience as well.
Coach Venkatesh, however, was guarded in his assessment ahead of the Arrows’ opener saying, “We are a new team and are here to produce the future of Indian football. I would like to thank the AIFF for the opportunity. It’s a big challenge and I am very excited and confident and looking forward to working with this set of boys.”
“They are not at the same age level as the senior professionals and physically, it will be a difficult match for them. However, we have our own strengths. Stamina and technical ability-wise we are good and we will keep working on them.”
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