Calcutta: “Give the Derby its due respect.”
This is how East Bengal footballers are motivating themselves, going into Saturday’s clash against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan, at the Salt Lake Stadium. Yes, the CFL has already been won. But the players are determined not to let the sheen off the title being taken away by a slip against Bagan.
“The Derby itself is a motivation. We’ll definitely go all out to win the game. Our approach will be the same as it was in the previous matches.
“Also, tomorrow’s match is part of our preparations for the Federation Cup. So obviously, we’ll never like a poor result to mess up our preparations,” striker Edeh Chidi said after Friday’s training session.
Chidi reminded that his team had a task on hand even though Bagan haven’t really been at their best yet this season. “Look, Bagan are no easy team to beat. It’s not just about (Okolie) Odafe, but the entire Bagan team. Anyone of them could prove to be dangerous.
“There’s just no room for complacency.”
The Nigerian, who has been amongst goals lately, isn’t too bothered for not being able to feature at the starting XI in the previous matches. Rather, he was effusive in praise of the job done so far by James Moga and the rest.
“There are still certain areas in our team that need to be fixed. But as of now, I feel our team has done pretty well even in the matches where I didn’t get a start.
“A striker’s job is to score goals and Moga has been doing it consistently,” Chidi remarked.
On the other hand, Karim Bencharifa made it clear that his players would approach the game with utmost intensity and play for the sake of the green-and-maroon jersey.
“Football is also about pride, reputation and the jersey you donů”