Sreenidi Deccan FC fell around 10 points too short in their challenge for the I-League title last season, and the subsequent promotion that would come with it, but are now set to give it another try in the 2023-24 campaign, where they play their first game against NEROCA FC.
The two sides have played four matches in the past, with Sreenidi Deccan winning two, NEROCA one, while one match ended in a draw.
The Deccan Warriors have made a host of changes to their squad, mainly aimed at strengthening the back line. The likes of Brazilian defender Eli Sabia and Ivorian holding midfielder Ibrahim Sissoko, along with Indian signings like Sajid Dhot, Gurmukh Singh, and Abhishek Ambekar have all been brought in to shore up the back line.
Head coach Carlos Vaz Pinto said, “We have signed many new players, and our hope is that they adapt well to the conditions here, and the kind of game we want to play. We expect to show good character, to get good results, and to ultimately have a good season.”
“Our pre-season has been good. We had set out to achieve certain goals during that time, and I am happy that we have been able to meet them. We have played a few ISL teams, and I think we are now in good shape to compete in the I-League,” he said.
NEROCA, on the other hand, have roped in Malaysian trainer Jacob Joseph as their head coach, a few weeks ahead of the I-League season, and are hoping for a good performance.
“This is my first season in the I-League, so I am hoping for a good experience here in India. We will be playing in Kalyani because of some issues at our home ground, I want my players to settle quickly into the rhythm of playing in the league,” said Joseph.
The NEROCA head coach admitted that his side are behind on their preparations for the I-League, but they are hoping for a point to kick-start their campaign.
“Sreenidi Deccan are a good side. They have played mostly behind closed doors in the preseason, so we are yet to see how they will play with the new players,” said Joseph. “Our aim is to get one point from this game and move on from there.”
Sreenidi Deccan FC’s match against NEROCA FC will kick off at 4.30pm IST at the Deccan Arena, and will be broadcast live on Eurosport, and streamed on FanCode and Indian Football YouTube channel.