I-League: Arrows ready for Dempo challenge
Kolkata: Pailan Arrows, the developmental side of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), will look to get back to winning ways when they take on title aspirants Dempo SC in the 12th round of I-League here at the Salt Lake Stadium Saturday.
Goan giant Dempo suffered one of the biggest losses in recent times when they were humiliated 1-5 by Pune FC at home. This defeat cost the defending champions their interim top spot in the standings, conceding position to state-rival Churchill Brothers.
Coach Armando Colaco oversaw the morning practice session ahead of the team`s new assignment but chose not to speak to the media for a change, and asked his senior players to do the talking.
"It is right that Arrows are the only side without a foreigner but the team is very good as they are grooming the future India players," said Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, the goalkeeper.
"Arrows are a youthful side and have lots of energy. They will definitely look to make the most of home advantage. They are youthful and have abundant energy, which is the biggest point about the side," he added.
"We lost our last match against Pune FC but hopefully that would not have any impression in tomorrow`s match. It will be a new day and a new game. We have come out of that defeat, which was like a bad day in office. That would not affect our performance against out new opposition," Subhasish said.
Dempo are missing English forward Rohan Ricketts and seasoned Mahesh Gawli through injury. Even their Japanese striker Ryuiji Sueoka did not practice Friday owing to injury.
Nigerian Koko Sakibo was the only foreigner who turned out for the morning practice.
Arrows will be taking the field after a 11-day break. With team`s 11th round match against Mohun Bagan deferred, coach Arthur Papas hoped the break would not hamper the rhythm of the side.
"We have been playing every week and that set us in a rhythm. We hope the break would not affect the rhythm and the team continues to play its original game," said Arthur Papas after Arrows` practice.
"We have held Dempo 1-1 in our last meeting in Federation Cup. But that happened quite some time ago in September. Dempo is a good side and has a fine balance of foreign and Indian players. They would give us a tough challenge," said Papas.
Dempo have 25 points from 11 matches while Arrows are on 14 points gained from 10 matches.