The Indian Arrows are all set to get their 2020-21 season underway, as they prepare to face off against Southern Samity in their opening match of the IFA Shield – Group C at the Mohun Bagan Ground at 1.30pm IST on Sunday, December 6.
Having arrived in Kolkata on December 3, the Indian Arrows have checked into their COVID-safety bubble, from where they have been continuing their pre-season training.
“This will be a crucial game for the boys. It’s a new batch of Indian Arrows that we are playing with, and this is the first competitive match where they will be playing against a senior side with foreign players as well,” said Indian Arrows head coach Venkatesh Shanmugam.
“It will be a good opportunity for the boys to get used to the pace of play at this level, and further improve their game for the years to come,” he continued. “Southern Samity are a club that has a lot of history especially in football played in Kolkata, and we will show them the same respect that we show all our opponents. However, we intend to play the game that we have planned.”
Aided by the Government of Odisha, the Indian Arrows had assembled in Bhubaneswar last month for a brief camp, before travelling to Kolkata ahead of the IFA Shield. Venkatesh, who is also the assistant coach of the Senior National Team, feels that the camp in Bhubaneswar, combined with the time spent in Kolkata will help the team get into shape for competitive matches of this level.
“It was very helpful to have spent time with the boys in Bhubaneswar before coming to Kolkata. We are thankful to the Odisha Government for opening up the facilities during such trying times. It gave us, the coaching staff, to analyse the players and formulate our plans for the season coming up ahead,” stated Venkatesh.
The former India captain went on to state that his charges are looking to build the momentum in the IFA Shield, which they intend to carry into the I-League.
“Winning is like any other good habit. Once you have a few wins under your belt, it gives you the confidence to carry on in the same tempo,” stated Venkatesh. “We want to pick up a win or two in the IFA Shield. That would give the boys a lot of confidence ahead of the I-League.”