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

Mariano Dias: Indian players can win you tournaments


Churchill Brothers not only won the 35th Federation Cup, they stole a march over their more fancied rivals.

Maintaining an incredible all-win record to notch up their maiden Cup crown, the defending I-League Champions proved their mettle by beating Sporting Clube de Goa 3-1 in the Final.

In a candid chat with AIFF Media, Mariano Dias, the Head Coach of the Goan outfit spoke on the road ahead while looking back at the incredible success.


Churchill Brothers, based on current form, literally rose from the ashes to win the Federation Cup. What different did you do in the Tournament?
The Team could leave the past behind and believe in themselves to do well in a new Tournament. That clicked for us in the Federation Cup. I told the boys before we left for Cochin that ‘no man is good enough to buy back his past’. And we did not want it too. So there was no point in pondering what went wrong in the Airtel I-League.
I think the fact that we were not favourites also played its part. Other teams might have taken us lightly.

Do you see yourself setting the example for more such feats?
Yes, of course! There is no dearth of talent in Indian Coaches. You see the likes of Derrick (Pereira), Santosh (Kashyap), and now Thangboi (Singto) and others doing really well.
Churchill have set an example that sans the influence of foreign recruits, you can reach the pinnacle too. We even had lesser number of foreigners compared to other Teams (Churchill played the Tournament with two foreign recruits).

Last season Sunil Chhetri played an important role for Churchill Brothers. This season, it has been Balwant Singh. What’s your take?
I think we depend a lot too much on foreign recruits. But the trend is changing and our Club has played a big part in that. Indian Players proving to be match-winners is a healthy sign for the National Team. Balwant has been consistent and showed how Indians can make a difference. He deserves a National Team call-up. I strongly believe that Indian Players can win you Tournaments, not only matches. You just need to be patient.

How do you plan to sustain the momentum in the Airtel I-League?
We have to come up the standings now. After the Fed Cup triumph, responsibility is more now coupled with expectations. I am sure this will be the perfect kind of inspiration for the boys to turn it around in the League.

What is your aim now in the League – to save relegation or to finish in the top-five of even ahead?
Let’s take it one at a time. At the outset when we re-start, our first aim is to save the relegation and finish in the top-six bracket.

(Report courtesy AIFF Media / Picture courtesy Churchill Brothers SC)