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Denzil Franco: Sunil Chhetri has been a class act

Denzil Franco

It’s not always defenders get their fair share of due after a triumph. If you look back at Churchill Brothers’ triumph in the I-League, you’ll find Denzil Franco rising to the occasion whenever the situation has demanded.

A day after the ‘Red Machines’ won their second I-League crown, Denzil, in a freewheeling interview to AIFF Media spoke on the triumph, secret behind the success, the Churchill family, Sunil Chhetri’s impact and much more.


You have been part of Churchill Brothers for quite some time now. What has changed over the years?
It has been three fruitful years with Churchill Brothers for me. I joined in 2010 from Salgaocar. We have always been very consistent and this season we were the best. We are reaping the dividends of our hard work over the years. We have got bigger and better with time. It’s a feeling which I can’t describe.

What was the secret behind the success this season?
The unity amongst the boys! That has been our secret. We have strived for glory unselfishly. Mr. Alemao Churchill was a pillar of strength. It was like one big family and all of them aiming for the ultimate triumph.

How important was the role of Technical Director Subhash Bhowmick and the entire coaching staff?
Subhash Bhowmick has been a father-figure for all of us. Our Coach Mariano Dias and the entire support staff deserves credit too. It has been a team effort both on and off the field. When you have such a strong support-system, you are bound to succeed.

How important was the introduction of India captain Sunil Chhetri in the mid-season?
Chhetri has been very influential. He scored when it mattered. His goals against Dempo and the equaliser against Mohun Bagan which gave us the title, tells the story. A player of his class is a bonus for any side and for us, he has been a boon, especially after we lost Bilal (Narajjaine) and Akram (Moghrabi).

Can you describe the team chemistry throughout the season.
Crackling! (Denzil paused for long, and added) I told you, Crackling!

What has been the secret of success for Goan Clubs in the I-League?
This triumph is a gift for the football buffs of Goa. It’s one big party right now here. The support has been fantastic at home and as a young player you get motivated.

(AIFF Press Release)