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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

‘Next four games will shape our identity,’ Hyderabad FC coach Brown before ISL debut against ATK

Brown and 13 players, including Marcelinho and Marko Stankovic, joined the new franchise from FC Pune City that was dissolved following financial problems

football Updated: Oct 25, 2019 11:12 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times
Hyderabad FC coach Phil Brown
Hyderabad FC coach Phil Brown(HydFCOfficial)

After six weeks of training, Hyderabad FC will debut in the Indian Super League (ISL) against ATK here on Friday and coach Phil Brown said he hopes the franchise will forge an identity in the next four games before the international break.

“When you’re a new franchise going into a new league, I think we have a responsibility to play the right kind of football to enhance ISL’s brand. There are 10 franchises in ISL but we have no identity yet. We have four games in 11-12 days to do that,” said Brown on Thursday.

Brown and 13 players, including Marcelinho and Marko Stankovic, joined the new franchise from FC Pune City that was dissolved following financial problems. “Marko has a great mentality and understanding of the Indian game. Marcelinho is the kind of player who can win games of football anywhere,” he said.

After their first game, Hyderabad FC will travel to Jamshedpur before hosting Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United FC on October 6. They are led by goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh who, along with Adil Khan and Nikhil Poojary, has been part of India’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers.

“Since I am pushing Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) and Amrinder (Singh) in the national team, this is a very important season for me,” said Singh whose team will represent a city that had six in India’s squad for the 1956 Melbourne Games and four in the 1962 Asian Games team that won gold. Syed Rahim, who coached India to two Asian Games gold medals in a career that spanned from 1950 to 1963, too is from Hyderabad.

Brown said the team trained in Goa where the temperatures were in the range of 35 degrees Centigrade. Coming to Kolkata in the middle of a wet spell would be a blessing, he said. “Hopefully that allows us to show the level of fitness to win the game.”

Appeal for Gordillo

Brown said Hyderabad FC have appealed the eight-game ban on midfielder Nestor Gordillo who played for I-League champions Chennai City FC last term. Gordillo was banned for four months for signing a ‘pre-contract’ with FC Pune City despite having a year left in his deal with Chennai City. He is available only in the return fixture on December 21.

Praise for Stimac

Brown said he has noticed a change in the mentality of the India players in his squad. “There’s professionalism in the players now. When the national team is in good hands, I know my players will be in good hands. That professional mentality spreads in our camp,” he said.