Kochi: Chirag United Kerala on the brink of relegation resume their I-League campaign after the break with an aim to hang on to their I-League status when they take on the against the resilient Shillong Lajong in an home encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi on Saturday.
Even though the objective of the season remains the same before and after the break, a lot has changed at the Kerala club in the meantime.
The club saw the departure of Sri Lankan coach Nizam Packir Ali and the arrival of former Mohun Bagan coach Biswajit Bhattacharrya as the Technical Director bringing along a whole set of support staff from Kolkata.
He is joined by AFC A licensee Ananda Kumar Ghosh who was appointed as the Head Coach and Dipesh Mukherjee and Partha Bhattacharya who took charge as Physical Trainer and Goalkeeping Coach respectively.
Chirag played the 116th IFA Shield in the break but bowed out of the event with two defeats. Since then, the team has been having rigorous training sessions under Biswajit in Kolkata and has played a friendly match with McDowell Mohun Bagan there before returning to Kerala.
“The boys are working very hard and sincerely ever since day one. They are a good and talented lot and I hope we make it at the end of the season,” Biswajit Bhattacharrya who joined from George Telegraph SC said.
The club are still on the holds of injury as two of their most influential players – Captain Ajayan K and forward Anil Kumar – are set to sit out of the match. “Every name in the list is equally important and Ajayan and Anil are highly influential even if they do not make the starting eleven,” the technical director commented.
There is some good news for Biswajit Bhattacharrya as defender Noushad K and midfielder Sherin Sam has shaken off their injuries and are fit to play again after a long layoff.
Meanwhile Shillong Lajong FC plied their trade in two tournaments as they participated in the IFA Shield, bowing out of it as they made way for eventual champions Kingfisher East Bengal from group A.
Then they travelled down south to feature in the fourth edition of the EK Nayanar Memorial Gold Cup 2012 in Kozhikode. Lajong striker Seikhohao Tuboi looked really sharp in the tournament and will be a player to watch out for on this weekend.
Shillong are sitting pretty in the tenth spot with 27 points from 20 games while Chirag are on 14 points from 19 matches.
By Indian Sports News Network