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Indian Arrows host struggling Gokulam Kerala FC in I-League

Indian Arrows will look to take advantage of Gokulam Kerala FC’s poor form when the two sides meet in the I-League at Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium on Friday

football Updated: Dec 21, 2017 16:56 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Arrows,Gokulam Kerala FC,I-League
Luis Norton de Matos is confident of his side doing well in the I-League this season.(HT file photo)

When the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) decided to field a team of U-19 footballers in the I-League, not everyone was convinced of the purpose it would serve Indian football. Many were of the opinion that the youngsters, most of whom played for India in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, will not be able to compete with the older boys in the league. However, if the first three matches are any indication, Indian Arrows have already proven their worth. They will be looking to impress once again when they take on fellow debutants Gokulam Kerala FC in New Delhi on Friday.

Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos is well aware of the doubters, and at the pre-match post conference, said that his team cannot wait to prove them wrong with their performance.

“When I proposed the idea of fielding the youngsters against experienced players in the I-League, many people were surprised. But, in Europe, it is a common practice and it is important for the 16-17 year olds to get as much match practice as possible. I think their experiences in the league this year will help them in developing their game and it will also to train them for the future,” Matos told the media.

Indian Arrows started their campaign in style with a brilliant 3-0 win over Chennai City FC with striker Aniket Jadhav scoring a brace. However, it has not been smooth sailing for them since the opener as the youngsters were handed consecutive defeats by current league leaders Minerva Punjab.

Matos was a bit disappointed with the defeats, but the Portuguese coach believes that the results are not his team’s prime concern right now and they need to enjoy their game in the first season.

“The players need to learn from their experience in this league. Results can wait for the moment. I was really happy with how we played against Minerva Punjab in the last game and it was the individual brilliance of their striker Chencho (Gyeltshen) that proved to be the deciding factor,” he said.

Their opponents – Gokulam FC – have also struggled to make their mark in the I-League till now. The debutants have just one point from the three matches and in their last game, they suffered a heavy defeat against NEROCA FC. However, Gokulam Kerala FC coach Bino George is not ready to give up on their campaign and he believes that his team is capable of bouncing back in the competition.

“Most of our players are inexperienced. We were a late addition to the I-League, and as a result, we can only take foreign players who are free agents. But we have taken lessons from the first three matches in the league and our aim is to finish in the top-four,” George said at the press conference.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 16:44 IST