Super Cup: NorthEast United FC on supporting local players against Chennaiyin FC (preview)
Manjeri (Kerala), April 10 (IANS) North East United FC will count on the support of its home boys to propel them forward in the Super Cup, as they begin their campaign against Chennaiyin FC at the Manjeri Payanad Stadium, here on Tuesday.
The Guwahati team has six players in their ranks, who hail from Kerala and somehow played football in the Kozhikode-Malappuram district. The likes of Mirshad K, Mohammed Irshad, Jithin MS and Alex Saji are all local boys who have played for Gokulam Kerala before, while Mashoor Sharef hails from Malappuram district.
Northeast coach Floyd Pinto feels this could give his team an added edge.
“I saw the atmosphere in Manjeri during champion Santosh Trophy, and it was great. I hope a big part of the crowd will support us because we have a few players from Kerala in our side,” Pinto was quoted as saying by the AIFF.
The matches between NorthEast United and Chennaiyin in the ISL this season have been interesting with the latter emerging victorious on both occasions (7-3 and 4-3).
“We have improved towards the end of the season, and our last match against Chennaiyin was very close. I hope we can do better and win our first Our Super Cup match.
“Our result in ISL does not matter. This is a chance for us to prove that we can do well both physically and tactically. I see smiling faces in the training sessions. We will try to do our best,” he added.
Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, have had a league campaign to forget, and will be looking to redeem themselves in the Super Cup.
“We didn’t have the best seasons, but we finished them strong, which gives us extra motivation before the Super Champions Cup,” said Tomas Berdaric, coach of the team.
“It’s a good challenge for the upcoming matches, and a chance for us to go far in this competition. I’m excited about tomorrow, and so are the boys. Our first goal is to survive the group stage and qualify for the semi-finals.”
The German coach has been an avid follower of I-League events, and feels that clubs coming from a particular league will also pose a major challenge.
“It will be a good challenge against the Hero I-League clubs as well. I have been following all their matches and their stats and they have some good players.”