Goalkeeper Shilton Paul has vowed to try to win the I-League title for a section of Mohun Bagan supporters…
Fernando Santiago Varela feels a new sense of challenge at Churchill Brothers ahead of the 2020-21 I-League season. After a stint with Gokulam Kerala before taking on Churchill’s challenge, Valera hopes for better things to come.
“It’s a new season for me. I am very happy to be in this historic club and it is a new challenge for me. I have to show that I can help Indian football grow, ”said the Argentinian-born Spanish coach who previously led Gokulam Kerala to the Kerala Premier League 2017-18 and Durand Cup 2019 titles during his two years with the southern team.
“I think every year the I-League and the (Indian) Super League get better. Little by little Indian football is developing and I think we are doing a good job at Churchill Brothers. We are ready to fight in every game to bring the trophy to Goa, ”he added.
the Red machines started their preseason in Goa from the second week of November and are set to play their first game on January 10 against Indian Arrows, a team from Varela classified as one of the competitive teams they have faced.
Arriving in Calcutta just a few days ago to be quarantined, he said: “I think this is not the best option to be ready in a week. It could have been better to be in Calcutta earlier but the conditions are the same for all teams. We cannot find excuses, we have to be ready and show our mentality to play in these conditions.
“I remember when I was at Gokulam last year one of our most competitive games was against Indian Arrows. Now we’re going to start against them and even after switching players I’m sure the players want to show they are ready to play. in the league or in the national team. We have to be focused to play with a good mentality. “
Luka Majcen (Slovenia), Clayvin Zuniga (Honduras), Hamza Kheir (Lebanon), Bazie Armand (Ivory Coast)
Goalkeepers: Shilton Paul, Shibinraj Kunniyil, Nora Fernandes,
Defenders: Suresh Meitei, Mamit Vanlalduatsanga, Hamza Kheir, Keenan Almeida, Samuel Shadap, Schubert Pereira, Kamran Farooque, Vikas Saini, Wendell Coelho, Jovel Martins,
Environments: Israil Gurung, Clencio Pinto, Sourav Das, Kingslee Fernandes, Joseph Clemente, Bryce Miranda, Lalengzama Vangchhia, Fredsan Marshall, Bazie Armand, Quan Gomes, Richard Costa, Clayvin Zuniga,
Attackers: Luka Majcen, Vinil Poojary, Ginminthang Hangsing, Hafis Mohammedali, Lamgoulen Hangshing
Varela expressed her satisfaction with the team of 30 members at her disposal. He also turned down the possibility of loaning Indian Super League (ISL) players during the January transfer window.
“I am very happy with the team. We have a mix of experienced players like Shilton and young players who are ready to play their first I-League. We don’t think we will loan an Indian Super League player. The objective is very clear: to help the players of Goa. So I focus on them and I will do anything to help them grow, as I showed last year (with Gokulam Kerala) ”, he said.
However, despite the absence of heavyweights Mohun Bagan and East Bengal who have joined ISL from this season, the 47-year-old is not ready to take a team lightly.
“There are other teams. The challenge is for all teams, ”he said. “You can’t say that just because East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are not there, we can get the title. We have to respect all the teams and first we have to show in our training that we are ready to win the title. ”
“You have to be competitive and maybe we can take some points from what I did wrong last year and I have to improve to show the players that I am not like last year and that I can be better. If I don’t try to improve my version, I can’t help my team. To have a winning mentality you always have to improve and I have to start (improve) with myself, ”he said.
Regarding the new league format in which all teams will play a single round against each other before being split into two groups to play for the championship and relegation respectively, he continued. : “I told the players that an opportunity would present itself for everyone. but they have to fight for their place and I will choose the players who are ready. The goal will only be to win the next game. “
Churchill Brothers goalkeeper Shilton Paul was once part of a secure bio bubble when he showed up on loan for Bhawanipore during this year’s I-League qualifiers.
“It was pretty good how the IFA (Indian Football Association, the governing body of football in West Bengal) organized the second division. Before I came here, I told the players how it was in the bio bubble and we are doing well. will remain the same until the end of the season. It will be difficult because we are far from our families and without spectators at the stadium. We have to be very focused and motivated, ”he explained.
For one who has spent the last 14 years of his professional playing career under contract with Mohun Bagan, the 32-year-old is hoping to win their third I-League title at Churchill Brothers and one for the Mohun Bagan supporters who follow him.
“I am happy to join Churchill Brothers, one of the biggest teams in India. I will use my 14 years of experience (in Mohun Bagan). We had a good preseason with practice sessions twice a day. We are ready for the matches. So I hope we can win the I-League.
“There are some good teams like Round Glass Punjab, Real Kashmir and others too, but we are confident enough to win the championship. I think it will be a good step.
“When I joined Churchill Brothers, a lot of Mohun Bagan supporters told me that they would support us (Churchill Brothers) because of me. So, for sure, we will try to win this trophy for them ”, he concluded.