Calcutta, Jan. 18: The first semi-final of the IFA Shield between Churchill Brothers and Tata Football Academy (TFA) on Sunday is being described as a battle of two different class and cultures.
If the Goan team stands out for vast experience and a distinct presence way up the National League ladder, their Jamshedpur-based rivals have always been the nursery of talent in the country.
Seen from this perspective, Churchill, though not in a good nick in the tournament, look favourites, while TFA, as usual, a surprise package.
As Churchill skipper Noel Wilson observed on Saturday: “You can’t take TFA for granted. On their day, they can make anything happen.”
“If anything is there to be feared of them, it is their run. These boys are young and quite fast,” he said, adding that his team was free from any injury and card problems.
TFA, however, will be missing services of two key players — defender Habibur Rahman Mondal and midfielder Jehry Zirsangha, both out with double bookings. Coach Ranjan Chowdhury, however, pointed out that presence of some of the former TFA graduates in the Churchill ranks would help him assess the opponents better.
Wilson, Roque Barreto and Farooq Haider are the products of TFA.