After losing their respective first games in the seventh season of the Indian Super League (ISL), the two teams from the Eastern part of the country will look forward to register their first win in the west Indian city of Vasco da Gama on Sunday. Under the able leadership of Steven Taylor and the guidance of Coach Stuart Baxter, Odisha will have an aim to get the better of their opponents from their mineral-rich neighbouring state Jharkhand.
Leaving all these Geography lessons aside, let’s come to their coaches. Both the teams have something common here as well. Their managers Owen Coyle and Stuart Baxter joined the respective teams this year and both of them trace their origin back to Scotland.
However, Coyle has already got the experience of coaching an ISL side but this is the first time Coach Baxter is in India. But, with a cumulative experience of more than 25 years, the 67-year-old gaffer knows what needs to be done to handle a team full of Indian youngsters who are raring to step up and perform.
Odisha FC missed the services of many top players like Cole Alexander, Vinit Rai, Jacob Tratt and Jerry Mawihmingthanga in their previous outing against Hyderabad Fc which they eventually ended up losing 0-1. However, the team must have gained some confidence from the performance of the young Indian boys last Monday. They went ahead with players like Hendry Antonay, Saurabh Meher and Thoiba Singh in the starting XI while also made an interesting change by bringing in Laishram Premjit Singh in place of experienced Marcelinho in the initial passage of play of the second half.
Despite attracting yellow cards, last year’s top defenders Shubham Sarangi and Gaurav Bora had a decent outing on the pitch. But, the best performer for Odisha in that evening was none other than goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh with some magical saves restricting further lead for the Hyderabad side.
Head Coach Stuart Baxter had explained the reason of calling back Marcelinho at the start of the second half in the post-match press conference and was also very hopeful of the return of few injured players ahead of their upcoming fixture. Odisha FC has a lot of positive signs going into their next game against the team which is based only 350 kms away from OFC’s den – Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
“We know it’s a very important game for us. Jamshedpur are a very good side. We have been working very hard after the Hyderabad defeat and the Coach has really good plans for us. We all are staying to the plans and working very hard. We have to work hard together to get all three points,” commented Gaurav Bora.
Goalkeeper Ravi Kumar expressed, “Everyone is motivated for the upcoming match against Jamshedpur because we all know how important it is for us. All the players are focused and are working very hard. We are trying to ensure not to repeat our mistakes from the previous game.”
On the other hand, after making their debut in the 2017-18 season of the ISL, JFC are playing in the tournament for the fourth time with an aim of entering the top four under their new coach. Golden Boot winner from the previous edition Nerijus Valskis is one of the top additions for the Red Miners and he justified his selection in their first game with a brilliant goal against his former team.
Meanwhile, Brazilian midfielder Alex Lima and defenders Peter Hartley and Stephen Eze have made the team more solid than the previous edition. India international Jackichand Singh and youngsters like Amarjit Kiyam and Narender Gahlot will be players to watch out for in the JFC camp as well.
After a defeat against Chennaiyin FC, Coyle’s boys will pose a tough challenge for Odisha FC in the Eastern India derby which will be played at 5pm IST at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Sunday.