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ISL 2017: Rowllin Borges may miss NorthEast United FC’s opener vs Jamshedpur FC

NorthEast United FC’s skipper Robert Lalthlamuana feels Rowllin Borges’ absence will not dim the fire his boys have to challenge Jamshedpur in their Indian Super League (ISL 2017) opener , a team formed largely by players from Kerala FC and Atletico de Kolkata.

indian super league 2017 Updated: Nov 17, 2017 20:57 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
ISL 2017,Indian SUper League,NorthEast United FC
Rowllin Borges of NorthEast United FC is nursing a knee injury and is likely to miss his side’s Indian Super League (ISL 2017) opener.(HT Photo)

NorthEast United FC may take the field for their first match of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2017 versus new franchise Jamshedpur FC on Saturday without midfielder Rowllin Borges, who is nursing a knee injury.

NorthEast United’s Portuguese coach Joao Carlos Peres de Deus is hopeful Borges will make the playing XI, but team captain Robert Lalthlamuana feels his absence will not dim the fire his boys have to challenge Jamshedpur, a team formed largely by players from Kerala FC and Atletico de Kolkata.

UNKNOWN OPPONENTS

“We are a mix of young Indian players and experienced overseas players and we are up against a new team that has some good players. More than individual excellence, we’re backing out team game,” Lalthlamuana said ahead of the match.

De Deus did not specify whether Borges will be able to play on Saturday. “We will know on the field,” he said, adding the team has able replacements.

The Portuguese, whose coaching career at the senior level back home did not click, was confident the John Abraham-owned side will play well. “I can’t promise victories, but I can help provide a good season for the fans, players, club and me.”

RUNNING IN BLIND

Stephen James Coppell, coach of the Tata Steel-owned Jamshedpur FC, said the first match will be the most difficult because “I have no background information (on how players will do) as a team”.

“We’re preparing in a dark area, and I presume they are too. From the experience of last year, this should be a tough game,” said the former England player, who coached Kerala Blasters last season.

Coppell attributed some of the “darkness” to the chopping and changing of players and coaches by the teams in the last three seasons.

“You have the example of Atletico de Kolkata, who changed nine players from their semi-final line-up last season to win the tournament,” he said.

Coppell said the league for him would be an opportunity to watch how the Indian players progress. “Indians have been doing well, but I guess the real progress will come when there are more Indian coaches around,” he said.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 20:46 IST