THEY ARE considered a force to reckon with in the North. But Thursday's ONGC 2nd Division League match against Oil India in Kolhapur will give one a fair idea about where the exuberant bunch of youngsters from New Delhi Heroes stands in the pecking order.
Coach Chima Okorie and his boys have left no stone unturned in their preparation for their maiden national league appearance, and going by their coach's words, the Delhi-based outfit is expected to dish out an aggressive band of football in the league.
Considering the fact that they are one of the two first-timers from the NCR — the other being Amity United — in the league, not many would put their money on the Heroes to lift the title, but Chima is confidence personified.
"Fitness is key to performing consistently in a tournament like this, and I know all my boys are fighting fit and hope they would give other established teams a run for their money in the league," said Chima.
Chima has a balanced team that plays a good mix of attack and defence, but attack is still the team's forte, and leading the pack will be Harvinder Singh.
Singh won the award for the best forward in the Delhi league and, if he can strike the right chord, then it will do a world of good to the Heroes' fortunes. "He performed well in the Delhi league and is eager to carry on the form in this tournament," said skipper Stanley Ciprian. Ciprian will guard the Heroes citadel along with Sheriyat Raza, Prashant Jaggi and Inder Singh.
After Amity United were beaten 2-0 by Mohammedan Sporting in the opening match on Tuesday, the onus now lies on the Heroes to redeem the pride of the representatives from the North.
Amity never looked like getting the better of Sporting after conceding an early goal, but dished out a better show in the second half.