East Bengal gear up for Al Orouba challenge



East Bengal gear up for Al Orouba challengeKolkata: East Bengal will face strong challenge in Yemen giants Al Orouba, as they gear up for the Group `B` AFC Cup opener at Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Tuesday.

The 2010-11 Yemen League and Super Cup winners have burst onto the football scene since their foundation in 2008 following the merger of Al Shabeen and Central Security Club.

A force to be reckoned with in Yemen, Al Orouba team manager Shafeq Sallam said AFC Cup would be at the top of their priority.

"We are professionals and our aim is to become one of the Asia`s best clubs. The AFC Cup is one of our top priorities and we will try our best to progress in the competition. This is a huge opportunity for our fans and all the stakeholders to judge our progress as a football club," Sallam said.

The team arrived in the city yesterday and were looking forward to play in India, a country not much known to them.

"We don`t know much about Indian football. But the players want to prove a point to everyone. They are a bit down after the FIFA sanctions. So we want to give our best," said the team`s Nigerian recruit Tofani Adriso.

Yemen have been banned from hosting international matches by the world federation because of the controversies within their national body.

East Bengal on the other hand are struggling to get their usual flair, as was seen in their sloppy 2-1 win over Bhowanipore Club in IFA Shield recently.

The tournament would provide them an excellent exposure to hit form.

Coach Trevor James Morgan is expected to get back his old defence line-up of Gurwinder Singh and Uga Okpara.

Playmaker Mehtab Hussain too has recovered from injury, which means he would be back with Orji Penn in the midfield while Tolgay Ozbey and Robin Singh would lead the attack.

PTI