Calcutta: The slippery club ground on a rain-soaked morning saw Kingfisher East Bengal thump New Bani Sangha 8-1 in a practice match. But coach Armando Colaco had his feet firmly rooted in reality as he dismissed the victory saying, “Practically speaking, practice matches are of no use.”
Colaco explained that such matches do help in developing a side’s confidence in the build-up to the season, but as the weaker teams rarely pose a challenge, there aren’t any scope for the players to test themselves.
“These kind of matches help the players improve the co-ordination between themselves… Scoring goals give them confidence… But that’s it. There’s nothing more that can be gained from a practice match against a weak side. Problem is, there aren’t any good teams available at the moment as the league is on. So we have to make use of whatever is available,” Colaco said on Tuesday.
He said that he would have preferred a practice match against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan if such a thing could be arranged. “In Goa, the top teams play against each other before the season starts… That helps in preparing for tougher battles.”
Colaco, however, is happy with how his team is shaping up. “I’m happy with how the boys are shaping up… They are moving up well and scoring. The set of players I have shortlisted for the CFL are doing well… I haven’t tested the second team though. But it’s just the beginning of the season and I’m not much worried about that. The fitness level of the players is good… In fact, it is better than last year.”
The Goan coach is looking forward to pair up the club’s new acquisition Dudu Omagbemi with Ranty Martins. “I’m not sure whether he has already signed for the club… But he is a great player and I will only be happy to pair him up with Ranty… That will be a great striking force. With New Zealander Leo Bertos set to join the team, it will be a good combination.”
He also played down reports of him being angry with some of the East Bengal players.
“When I work, I’m demanding and I expect a certain amount of dedication from the players. I get angry if it is not so… But it’s all within a team and there’s nothing to blow up there.”
While East Bengal played a practice match in the morning, Bagan restricted themselves to a session of physical training in the evening under technical director Subhas Bhowmick’s watchful eyes.