Calcutta: Ask Marcos Falopa about what he likes about India, and the man will promptly reply “everything”. It’s obvious that “everything” includes East Bengal as well.
But Falopa, the coach, faces a stern test of expectations on Sunday when East Bengal begin their CFL Premier Division Super 12 campaign, against Kalighat MS. Being a Brazilian, he is no stranger to fan frenzy surrounding soccer. He is expecting something similar and has thus urged the fans to be patient.
“It’s a very emotional moment for all of us… We are excited as well. We hope that everything will be all right. But it is important that we be cool and respect the opponents,” Falopa said after Saturday’s practice session.
Trying to explain the reality, the coach added: “We are expecting a good match… But don’t expect us to perfect. After all, it’s just our first match. So there may be a problem here and a problem there.”
That he has his calculations in place was evident when he reminded that Sunday’s match would help him evaluate his team better ahead of the AFC Cup quarter final against Semen Padang of Indonesia. “This match will of course help us judge our preparations for the AFC Cup tie,” he said.
But motivating himself to come and coach in a far away country whose Fifa ranking is 145 must have been difficult? Falopa surprises with his answer. “You have such a big population, it’s almost six times bigger than Brazil… I’m sure India has a lot of talented players and they have a good future in football,” he said.