I-League 2018: Churchill Brothers take on Minerva Punjab in their opener
Two-time national league champions Churchill Brothers are ready to start afresh as they take on defending champions Minerva Punjab in their opening I-League encounter on Sunday.
The Goan giants have trained rigorously under the watchful eyes of their Romanian coach Petre Gigiu and are much better prepared for the upcoming challenges, feels CEO Valanka Alemao.
The team has undergone a major revamp with the inclusion of five foreigners from Uganda, Gambia, Bosnia, Lebanon and Trinidad and Tobago along with talented local boys mostly from the Dempo and Salgaocar.
“We are better prepared this time compared to last year with adequate time available for the selection of the players and the head coach. The boys have undergone rigorous fitness regimen and all are fit and looking forward for the tough journey ahead,” CEO Valanka told reporters on Thursday.
They have already played a couple friendlies, losing to Pune FC in one and beating FC Goa in another.
“Our first match in the I-League is against Minerva and the start is always is going to be tricky. I am hoping we get the right start, which will boost the morale of the team,” she said.
Romanian coach Gigiu is quite happy with the way his players performed in the training. It is a good squad with quality foreigners and are raring to go with the sole objective to regain the prestigious national title, which they have won twice in the past.
“The players have displaying excellent work during the training and feel great about themselves. They are highly motivated lot and once they click, there is no stopping back. But the element of luck also plays its role,” stated Gigiu.
Churchill Alemao, the patron of the club said, “We have revamped the team and have retained some of the core players that played last year. We have good depth both in the attack as well as in defence with the midfield also ready to rise to the occasion.
“Striker Willis Deon Plaza of Trinidad and Tobago is our trump card,” stated Churchill senior.