A tough ask for Churchill in the I-League final round?

February 22nd, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by admin  

Margao, Feb 22 (IANS) Churchill Brothers twice had a chance of winning the national football league title in the last match, but on both occasions — 1997 and 2001 — they choked. The concluding round of the inaugural I-League Saturday presents yet another chance to Churchill. And even though not everything is in their hands, Karim Bencherifa’s boys are eager to make history.

Churchill go into the match against Air India level on points with league leaders and favourites Dempo Sports Club.

But, Churchill coach Bencherifa is high on confidence and ready to snatch the I-League title from right under everyone’s nose.

“Assuming Dempo score a solitary goal victory over Viva Kerala, we will have to score six against Air India. It’s a difficult ask, but we have proved in the past we have the ammunition to score, and that too quickly,” Bencherifa told IANS on the eve of the match here Friday.

Bencherifa’s ammunition is in the form of Nigerian strikers Odafe Okolie and Mboyo Iyomi. The two have been prolific goal-getters, but no team has managed to score six goals in the I-League.

“We could even win the league with a simple win or a draw, if Dempo stumble in Kerala. On Saturday, we will need luck, lots of it,” maintains Bencherifa.

Ahead of the all-too-important clash at Nehru Stadium here, Air India coach Bimal Ghosh started the mindgames claiming his side is eager to make Bencherifa eat his words. Bencherifa claimed Air India were stubborn opposition only at the heir home ground at the Cooperage in Mumbai.

“The players are now eager to prove they can match the best (in business) far beyond the Cooperage,” disclosed Air India coach Bimal Ghosh, who was voted the best coach of the inaugural National Football League in 1996-97.

Air India’s only concern is the injury to their goalkeeper while Churchill will miss Naoba Singh and Khentang Paite, both of whom are nursing ankle injuries.

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