THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Shillong Lajong gear up for Salgoacar FC encounter

Shillong Lajong FC training session

Shillong Lajong FC training session

Shillong Lajong FC will begin their Federation Cup campaign against Salgoacar FC in Kochi in their first Group C match on January 15 at 16.00 IST. The match will be telecast live on Ten Action.

Shillong Lajong FC are placed in a tough group alongside 13-time winners Mohun Bagan AC, four-time Federation Cup winners Salgoacar FC and Mumbai FC.

Shillong Lajong will go into the game tomorrow without the services of Uilliams Souza Silva who was held back in Shillong after being declared unfit by Lajong’s medical team. Another startling factor for the Reds is the inclusion of seven players from the club’s youth academy with most of them having already made appearances in the I-League.

Coach Thangboi Singto commented on tomorrow’s big game and said, “It will be a tough match after the I-League break and Salgaocar is a very good team. We hope to do well and give our best performance.”

He also said, “Salgoacar has a very good coach who is also a good human being and they have experienced players with a combination of youth also. It will definitely be a highly competitive game.”

Thangboi Singto’s men will look to carry their performance from the I-League into the Fed Cup. The Reds are placed fourth in the I-League just seven points off leaders Bengaluru FC and will look to repeat their heroics from the 2009-10 season when they beat the likes of Dempo SC and Churchill Brothers SC to reach the finals. They ended the tournament as runners-up in that year after losing out to eight-time winners East Bengal on penalties. But SLFC will look to go one better in this edition of the Federation Cup with a more confident squad and a resilient coach in Thangboi Singto.

Salgoacar FC on the other hand are low on confidence given their poor run in the I-League recently. After having topped the table early in the season, the Goan side plunged to fifth position after going without a win in seven consecutive games. Derrick Perreira’s men will only prove football pundits wrong with a good performance in the Federation Cup even with countless factors going against them. Their star striker Scotsman Daryll Duffy has not been in the best goal-scoring form in the I-League but might just revive his scoring touch in this tournament.

Both sides will be looking for a perfect start into the tournament with a win and establish themselves as contenders to qualify for the semifinals. A win would put much added pressure on Mohun Bagan AC and Mumbai FC who will be playing against each other on the same day at 19.00 IST.