Tag Archives: ISL Football

Football ISL: It is a fresh start insists Odisha’s Baxter ahead of Hyderabad clash

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Suresh Wangjam of Bengaluru FC and Lenny Rodrigues of FC Goa in action during match 3 of the 7th season of the Hero Indian Super League between FC Goa and Bengaluru FC held at the Fatorda Stadium, Goa, India on the 22nd November 2020 Photo by Faheem Hussain / Sportzpics for ISL

Bambolim, Goa: A fresh start will be the mantra for both Odisha  and Hyderabad  as the two sides face each other in the Hero Indian Super League Season 7, at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday.

Both teams had seasons to forget the last term. Hyderabad ended a miserable campaign, losing 12 games and conceding 39 goals. While Odisha did manage to do the double over their opponents, they too did not fare too well, letting in 31 goals

But these stats are just a number for Odisha coach Stuart Baxter. “That’s history and it doesn’t help anybody. We’ve got two new teams now. They’ve got new players and we also got new players so things have changed at both ends. We will be playing a new Hyderabad,” Baxter stressed.

Baxter has attractive options in attack, with the signing of Brazilian striker Diego Mauricio and the capture of Marcelinho from Hyderabad — both players capable of changing the game in an instant. But the English coach reiterated that his game plan involved a lot more than just relying on individual players to produce moments of magic. “I think relying on players is risky. You’ve got to able to play without (depending on) anybody if you can. In football, there are no comfort levels. Your job is to stretch those levels.”

Hyderabad finished at the bottom of the table last season, recording just two wins. Part of the reason for this was their poor start to the season that saw them lose four out of their first five games. New coach Manuel Marquez Roca will be keen to avoid a repeat and get off to a good start. “Winning the first game is important,” he said. “Although given a choice, I would take a loss in the first game if it meant winning the remaining 19.”

The Spaniard has a youthful squad at his disposal and was pleased with the potential of his young guns. “Guys like Rohit Danu, Liston Colaco and Akash Mishra have a lot of potential. I’m sure that they can continue improving and become huge assets for Hyderabad in the future,” he said.

Odisha will miss defender Jacob Tratt and Jerry Mawihmingthanga for the clash while Hyderabad will be without the services of Francisco Sandaza.
HSB

ISL Football: Goa’s North-Eastern contingent adds extra edge to rivalry

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Jackichand Singh of FC Goa during match 4 of the Indian Super League ( ISL ) between FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa, India on the 23rd October 2019. Photo by: Sandeep Shetty / SPORTZPICS for ISL

Imagine living in a region known for receiving the heaviest rainfall in the world. For some, it is better left up to the imagination.

Aiban Dohling knows only too well. Twirling with the ball in the shadow of waterfalls, the central defender from Sohra exclaims on the Goa rains (and it has poured pups and kittens this season!), “This is standard for us. I can’t complain about it. Our people don’t even carry umbrellas.” Those of us listening are sure he’s half-joking. The trademark ponytail that he had brought from Shillong has been sheared though owing to the ‘heat’.

Beneath that light-hearted grin is a resolute footballer. One who had to overcome a serious injury after graduating from the Tata Football Academy to being one of the bright spots for his Lajong side in the I-League.

He is, however, not the side’s only player to have featured for the prestigious TFA and Lajong sides. Chinglensana Singh’s career path from Churachandpur, Manipur saw him hit the same two destinations before heading to Goa.

‘Sana’, as he is known, left the hills at 14 to play in the Mahindra United academy. Moving on to the Air India academy, the centre-back had two fantastic seasons in Shillong before becoming Goa’s 3rd pick in the draft ahead of season 4.

Another Manipuri to have played for Lajong is Seiminlen Doungel. Len had a fantastic start to life in Goa, scoring in the Gaurs’ 3-0 win on opening night against Chennaiyin. It is at Friday’s opponents NorthEast United where he is still fondly remembered for becoming their first-ever hat-trick scorer in the ISL in a 3-1 win over Chennaiyin FC.

The former JCT youth is also an Indian international, and has seamlessly settled into the FC Goa squad, getting into dangerous goal-scoring positions. He played on the opposite side to Jackichand Singh in the Lajong-Royal Wahingdoh local derby in the 2014-15 I-League.

Jacki had a barnstorming season in his and Wahingdoh’s first season in the I-League as he helped his side create waves on the national stage, scoring the winner for the Lajong side in a 2-1 upset of Churchill Brothers in 2011. Like Len, Jacki played for the Kerala Blasters before switching to the Gaurs.

Mohammad Nawaz, one of the youngest keepers in the division, was a part of the India Under-17 camp for the 2017 World Cup. Fuelled by his desire to play for a top division side, he started season 5 for the Gaurs between the sticks and hasn’t looked back since. 15 appearances and 5 clean sheets later, the 19-year-old has played the first 2 games for Lobera’s men in the new season.

Lalawmpuia, the lone Mizo, grew up idolising the likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua and Shylo Mama, and shone in the Goa Pro League last season, notching 13 strikes in all.

Guwahati is sure to turn out in numbers to watch this clash between two teams who were in the play-offs last season. They will have heroes to cheer on for both sides in what is sure to be a high-octane clash.

HSB