All India Football Federation’s developmental side Indian Arrows will face ninth-placed NEROCA FC at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium tomorrow, January 20.
The kick-off is at 7pm IST and the match will be broadcast live on 1Sports, whilst being streamed on their Facebook page.
After their previous loss to Sudeva Delhi FC, where defensive mistakes cost the Indian Arrows, the developmental side consisting of U-22 players, will aim to learn from their mistakes and grab a positive result against their Manipuri opponents. Speaking at the pre-match press conference head coach Venkatesh Shanmugam said, “We missed our trademark fighting spirit in our last match against Sudeva and that is a bit disappointing. However, we have kept our heads up and look to the next challenge”
“All teams in the I-League are very competitive. NEROCA have some really good players and tomorrow will be a very thrilling and competitive match for us. The boys are ready and raring to go.”
“Our vision for the Indian Arrows is to play quality football while getting senior level experience. We want to develop young players and give them a platform in the I-League, which will enable seamless integration into the senior national team’s setup,” he added.
Midfielder Lalchhanhima Sailo said, “We are hungry to win and will give our best to get it tomorrow. It will be a very challenging match for us and we will have to be on our best. However, we are focused and want to get the three points.”
Although NEROCA were held to a 1-1 draw by TRAU in the Imphal derby, the Gift Raikhan coached team created a lot of chances and had only themselves to blame for not grabbing all three points. The head coach agrees, “I am not happy with the result. We could have won the match, but one point is still better than none so we will take it.”
“We have been working very hard on our finishing as we have to finish opportunities inside the box. We cannot get complacent with our chances. Against Indian Arrows tomorrow, it will come down to which team can take their chances, as our team and the Arrows are very well matched.”
“I know Venkatesh (coach of Indian Arrows) and he will be looking for a win. So, we will also play for a win and hopefully we can get the job done. Arrows are very quick on the ball and we will have to be at our best,” Raikhan added.
Skipper Bishrojit Singh said, “This game is very crucial for us as three points will boost our confidence immensely. We have to fight for the win from the first minute and be focused throughout. The Indian Arrows can hurt us through their speedy play, so we have to be defensively solid.”