Pailan Arrows, the developmental side of All India Football Federation, would be looking to extend its good form of the Federation Cup when it opens the I-League campaign against Mumbai FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
Arrows will miss their Australian coach Arthur Papas, who could not make it due to visa problem, but his assistant Aaron Simon hoped the team will continue with the momentum. Arrows is a well balanced side with a host of youngsters eager to prove their merit. Names like Holicharan Narzary, Milan Singh, Alwyn George, Prabir Das, Avinabo Bag have all proved that they not a bunch of pushovers in the Federation Cup, where they got together to hold the defending I-League champion Dempo SC 1-1 before muzzling Mumbai FC 2-2. The 2-1 win against Shillong Lajong FC in the final round was the cherry on the cake and Simone wished for a repeat of the performance against Mumbai FC.
“The good showing at the Fed Cup result will surely inspire the boys and we hope to give Mumbai FC a tough challenge,” Simon told after the team’s practice. Taking a cue from the National coach Wim Koevermans, Papas has shaped the team’s style on a quick passing game. The boys will have their task cut out in the I-League, where they have to sustain a level of excellence over the next six-seven months.
Mumbai FC did not have a memorable outing in the Fed Cup. Coach Khalid Jamil was cautious in his comments and saying that his team chances hinges on how his set the pace against the youthful opponent. “My side is young and has lot of energy. I hope they are able to showing their fighting spirit and give the team a winning start,” Jamil said. The Mumbai side, which finished 11th among 14 teams last season, would be looking to make a better start this time. Jamil hoped the seniors in the side like Subhash Chakaraborty, Abhishek Yadav will lend solidity to the team alongside the foreigners like ND Opara and Islam Ameri of Afghanistan.
The match kicks-off at 14.30 IST.
(AIFF Press Release)