Sources in the team management said the Tata Steel-owned club will be accommodated at a Taj facility and will train at a ground located in Sangolda village in Bardez sub-district in North Goa, some 9 km from Panjim.
A two-member team from JFC is in Goa for a recce of facilities with special focus on a training ground. “It’s raining heavily in Goa and the Sangolda ground needs to be prepared for training. However, that process has been hampered due to showers,” a source revealed.
According to him, unlike Jamshedpur where Princess 77, a Bermuda grass variant, has been sown at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Bistupur and the Flatlet greens in Kadma, the grass at Sangolda is not of very high quality. Moreover, the ground in Goa is soil-based vis-à-vis sand-based in the steel city. We will have to go through the functioning of the drainage system,” he added.
Imported ryegrass has also been sown to cover the barren patches at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.
The ground in Sangolda will be decked up by Dehradun-based L.R. Brothers that also prepared the greens in Jamshedpur . The ISL management has roped in the agency for ground preparation at various match venues, including Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim and Tilak Nagar Stadium in Vasco da Gama.
“You cannot compare the facility in Jamshedpur with the one in Sangolda. We have been training on feather-soft greens which is not available in Sangolda. But we have to make adjustments,” another JFC team management member said.
The JFC contingent, which will be assembling in Goa in a day or two, will go into quarantine for two weeks. Players and the support staff will also undergo Covid-19 tests five times. Only negative players and support staff will be allowed to travel to the training venue.
“Some of the players will reach Goa in a day or two but the entire squad, including head coach Owen Coyle, will drop anchor by October 5. The players will start training after the quarantine period and Covid tests are over,” a team management member informed.
The team will stay in a secure bio-bubble throughout its stay in Panjim for ISL. “It ‘s a difficult situation and we have to be very cautious and cannot take unnecessary risks. We need to follow the prescribed protocols,” he added.
JFC CEO Mukul Choudhari said the team was in high spirits and would perform well in the tournament. “We have formed a strong unit which is expected to deliver expected results. We are hoping for the best,” he added.
Jamshedpur has never qualified for the play-offs. It made its debut in ISL three seasons back . The outfit finished fifth under Spanish coach Antonio Iriando in the last season.