Magical Odafa wants to win Federation Cup for Churchill

Kolkata: After guiding Churchill Brothers win their maiden IFA Shield title, Nigerian striker Odafa Onyeka Okolie now wants to win the Federation Cup for his side, a title missing from the cabinet of reigning I-League champions.

“We have started the season in a perfect manner. I thank God for this achievement. Now, we want to continue with the momentum. We are yet to win the Federation Cup and this year we will add that to our list as well,” Odafa, who starred in his side’s 2-0 win over Mohun Bagan in the Shield final, said.

Revealing the mantra for his success, Odafa, who was I-League top scorer last season, said the dream of playing in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup is what motivates him to achieve the fate.

“Playing in the AFC Cup is a big moment for Churchill. A good performance will change our luck. So my priority is AFC Cup. I am really looking forward to play in the AFC Cup. It really motivates me to do well each day,” the Indian striker said.

He is the highest paid Indian striker at the moment but that does not put pressurises Odafa.

“There is no pressure on me being the top Indian striker. I am used to such situations.”

Churchill Brothers coach Carlos Pereira said Odafa was a key player in their win but the credit should go to the entire team.

“This is not my glory but it’s of my boys. I am very happy for the team. Odafa is a key player and today he proved again. He makes a difference and all the other players also make difference. It’s a team game,” said Pereira.

“This is the right way to start the season and proved that our boys are in shape. They have done actually what we had planned,” added the Goans coach.

The Churchill coach said Mohun Bagan sorely missed the service of Chidi but medio Marcos Pereira and goalkeeper Shilton Paul impressed him most.

The Indian Football Association, meanwhile, adjudged Tata Football Academy’s Vijay Kumar as the ‘Best Coach’ of the 114th IFA Shield.

The Tata outfit had stunned 27 times Shield champions East Bengal in the group stage to shatter their semifinal hopes in the tournament.

The IFA also awarded former footballers Abdus Sattar, Krishna Chandra “Keshto” Pal and Arun Sinha Rs 1 lakh each.

Bureau Report

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