| Bhawanipore FC players practise at Nehru Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Jan. 8: Second division I-league teams Bhawanipore Football Club, Calcutta and Aizawl Football Club will leave no stone unturned as they lock horns in the title clash of the 62nd Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Bordoloi Trophy Football Tournament at Nehru Stadium here tomorrow.
The Calcutta side is set to go all guns blazing in the final with no injury and suspension woes. “It is really important for us to win as we head into the Federation Cup next. Being the champions would definitely boost the morale of the players who take on Dempo SC on January 14. We have a young bunch of players along with a good blend of experienced campaigners. The good thing is that although we are a bit tired after yesterday’s semi-final, everyone is raring to go,” said Rupak Dutta, manager of the team.
On his plans and the importance of winning the tournament, seasoned campaigner Jose Ramirez Barreto, who is currently playing for the Calcutta side, said, “It will basically be an evenly contested match, looking at the two sides. Winning the tournament will definitely boost the preparation for the Federation Cup and the second division I-League. We have been playing frequently as per the schedule of the tournament but that doesn’t stop us from aiming to lift the trophy.”
“I am playing in Guwahati for the third time. One thing which I have felt is that the level of football here is more or less the same compared with Calcutta if you remove the top teams. The crowd is increasing with every match, which is always a great thing to watch and the weather is perfect for any footballer,” Barreto said.
Bhawanipore FC coach Juliano S. Fontana sounded confident although he talked about tired legs after a tough semi-final against Shillong Lajong FC.
“The semi-final yesterday was quite tiring as the players had to toil hard for more than 120 minutes. We had some easy practice today, basically trying to relax the players a bit. I have seen Aizawl FC playing and I believe there is not much of a difference between both the teams. I have a strategy and we have a good side. All we need to get is a combined effort tomorrow,” said Fontana, who was a coach with the Gauhati Town Club Football Academy here till a year ago.
Aizawl FC seems to be in no mood of letting their chance slip of lifting the trophy. “We have had practice last evening and in the morning today. We have played against them twice in the second division I League in which we both shared a win each. This popular tournament is always close to our hearts. Twice a team playing as Mizoram XI ended as runners-up but we don’t want to let this opportunity go as we are playing as a club this time. We are likely to have ample support tomorrow and all we need to do is put in all that we have. Two players were unfit although they are ready to be on the pitch now,” Aizawl FC manager Hmingthan Shnga said.