Calcutta: United Sports Club striker Ranty Martins is not keen to play the CFL. Speaking to mediapersons after a practice session at the Salt Lake Stadium, the Nigerian said: “I am not that keen to play CFL matches. It’s a tournament which has no importance to us. Our focus is the I-League. The CFL is a tournament where we will be trying out the youngsters.”
United SC played Rangdajied United FC in their I-League encounter on Sunday and meet Mohammedan Sporting in a CFL match on Wednesday.
Ranty said it was very important to have a winning start but is not happy with the way the CFL fixture has been drawn. “It’s punishing… How do you expect to have a good match when you have a congested fixture,” he said. “Somebody should do something.”
United SC coach Eelco Schattorie was also unhappy with the fixtures.
“This fixture congestion is not doing Calcutta football any good. Last year East Bengal were the favourites to win the I-League. But they had to play CFL matches simultaneously and that took a toll on their players. The players I think lost their focus. If I were the coach of the club, then they could have won the I-League. It’s not arrogance. They had the best team last season. Even this time also their squad is strong. But I don’t know what will happen if they again focus on the local league,” he said.
Schattorie said he would be fielding a second string side on Wednesday. “I am not at all interested in CFL.”
Schattorie can afford to rest his star players but for a club like Mohammedan Sporting, where fans’ expectations are sky-high, it’s difficult. Take the Durand Cup for example. It’s a tournament where hardly any big clubs played but Mohammedan Sporting went with four foreigners. They won after 73 years but it came at a price. Dependable defender Luciano Sabrosa has been ruled out for two months with a fractured hand and Penn Orji has picked up an ankle injury.
Coach Abdul Aziz Moshood said he would not be risking Penn. “There is no chance of playing Penn on Wednesday.
But Tolgay (Ozebe) and Joshimar will be there in the squad. Right now my objective is to get the defence right. Luciano’s injury is a big blow.”
For the record, a tired and out-of-sorts Mohammedan Sporting lost to Pune FC 1-3 in the I-League opener on Saturday.