Churchill will look to keep winning; Gokulam FC to re-start
MINOO FERNANDES | NT
Churchill Brothers FC has got back to winning ways whilst Gokulam Kerala FC last won around two months back. Yet, the two teams are set to keep the I-League juggernaut on the roll as they meet each other at the Tilak maidan in Vasco today.
Both sides had tied 1-1 in the first leg in Kozhikode and at this stage of the league, nothing less than a win will make any side happy.
Both Churchill and Gokulam, in their 11 games, have played an enterprising brand of football, the former far more effectively than the latter.
Churchill, on the other hand, has been quite impressive. Their two losses notwithstanding, they have maintained their position in the top half of the table quite consistently despite losing key players to injuries in recent times.
According to their Romanian coach Petra Gigiu, “I know it’s very difficult to win the championship. Now that we are in the fifth position, it is very important for our players to try their best to win, as theoretically, we can but practically, we will see.”
“Tomorrow’s match against Gokulam Kerala is not an easy game. It’s a good team and their players work hard. Nenad will be missing tomorrow’s match because of his booking but Eldor will be making his comeback tomorrow and Plaza too, which can be of advantage to our team. We will try to come back and score in tomorrow’s game,” said Petra during his interaction with the media during the pre- match briefing.
Kerala coach Bino George’s problems, gauging by his frequent signings, seems to stem from the foreign attacking option. In news coming in, Trinidad & Tobago Pro League top scorer Marcus Joseph is likely to make his debut on Thursday.
Joel Sunday, who appeared in three games in between, has been released. This, after Antonio German left a while back and after Bino had also drafted in Ghanaian Christian Sabah and Ivorian Arthur Kouassi as attacking options, earlier this season.
The affable coach pinned a lot of hopes on his new signings on the eve of the game saying, “Recently we have two new strikers, Marcus Joseph from Trinidad & Tobago and Charles from Ghana, so the team is hoping to play well. I know the Goans have good foreign players. Our style of playing is attacking football and after the two new strikers have joined, our team’s confidence levels have increased.”
They will need all that confidence as Churchill, with their attacking force consisting of the likes of Willis Plaza, Dawda Cessay and Anthony Wolfe, will certainly be a handful at home. The trio has accounted for 14 of the 19 goals scored by Churchill so far.
Plaza, in particular, and Wolfe lately have been clinical this season and Gokulam’s defence, which has let in 18 goals till now, will be tested to the hilt.
“Though the task of winning the title is difficult, it is possible to get the title to Churchill Brothers, going into the half way stage of the season”. “Yes, my team is chasing the title,” said Gigui. “Our focus in on winning the remaining matches” said Willis Plaza while replying to a question from a scribe.
“Anthony Wolfe is scoring goals and I feel good about it because he is my country man” said Plaza.
“Churchill Brothers is a good team and is going to be a tough battle tomorrow” said coach Bino George.
“Churchill Brothers have good foreign players and they are making a big difference in the team “said the player of Gokulam team Mohammad Rashid who accompanied the Gokulam coach at the pre match press briefings. (With inputs from AIFF Media)