East Bengal will be playing for India`s pride tomorrow: Falopa
Kolkata: East Bengal coach Marcos Falopa on Monday declared that his bunch of bravehearts are raring to put their best foot forward as they will be representing India in the AFC Cup second leg semi-final against Kuwait SC here on Tuesday.
East Bengal will need to win by 2-0 or 3-1 margin in order to create history by becoming the first Indian football team to enter the final of the second tier continental club championship.
"It is a very important match for us tomorrow as we are playing for the pride of not only East Bengal but India as well. My boys have prepared well and are ready to try their best for our fantastic supporters," Brazilian coach Falopa told mediapersons at the customary pre-match press meet alongside skipper and India international Mehtab Hossain.
An emotionally charged Hossain on his part said that "we are ready to die on the field but won`t leave the turf without giving our last drop of blood and sweat."
East Bengal coach however feels that underdogs have always performed under pressure and cited the example of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta where the unheralded Nigerian youth team defeated a much more fancied Brazilian side in the gold medal match.
"No one wins before the game and upsets do happen in football. I remember the 1996 Olympics, when no one gave Nigeria a chance against Brazil. But eventually it was the African nation that emerged victorious. So we are going to fight till the very end."
Asked whether it is possible for a home team to stay relaxed before a high-profile match, the coach replied, "It is important to stay relaxed before such a big game but I don`t have to tell my players about it because they are all professionals and aware of their duties.
"Kuwait SC are a very strong side and have three or four very good players like Brazilian Rogerinho and Tunisian striker Issam Jemaa. They are very skillful but we have studied them and will try our best."