The 2018-19 season of the Hero I-League will kick off on 26th October 2018 when Chennai City FC host the Indian Arrows side in the first match in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore. There’s excitement in the air as 11 teams from 10 cities fo on the quest the be crowned the Champions of India, the title currently held by Minerva Punjab FC.
Read more about the 2018-19 I-League – Teams, Schedule, telecast details here.
PREVIEW: CHENNAI CITY FC v MINERVA PUNJAB FC
Chennai City FC will look to turn around their fortunes from last season, when they host an young and dynamic Indian Arrows in the first match of Hero I league 2018-2019.
The Coimbatore side managed just 4 wins in the previous season under former coach V. Soundarrajan as they finished 8th in the table.
“It’s a new beginning. Last season is over. Indian Arrows is a dangerous side. But we’ll have to very mindful. We are prepared mentally, physically, tactically. Now we have 4 Spaniards adding strength to the team. ”
When asked whether the team will miss the local star Soosairaj, the coach answered affirmatively,” Soosairaj is a miss to be honest. But we are prepared because we have many good players”
Chennai City’s new signings and additions have all gelled well together. The Spaniard Pedro Manzi Cruz have already showed what a lethal striker looks like. Meanwhile, Sandro Rodriguez provides unconditional support in the midfield. Tamil Nadu players like Pravitto Raju and Ajith Kumar have hit the ground running as well.
Infact, Chennai City has around 15 Tamil Players in the squad. For the first time, Indian Football will see as many Tamil Nadu players at the top tier of Indian football.
Indian Arrows with an average squad age of 18, showed glimpses of excellence against the big boys last season, but failed to make a major impact as they finished last (10th ) in the table.
“Even though results didn’t favour us, no team had a easy game against us. We as a team are confident that we can do well this season ”
“We played a very hard fought game last season when we met CCFC in Coimbatore. Also the Turf here is better than last season. We are team full of young players. We look for a intense game. ”
Indian Arrows are without many of their players from last season. But their Head coach Floyd Pinto has made sure they have a formidable squad by adding the likes of Vikram Pratap Singh, Aman Chhetri to their squad.
When these two sides met in the same fixture last season,the final score line read 0-0.
The travelling side, Indian Arrows on the other hand announced Odisha Government as their sponsors for the 2018-19 I-League, becoming the first professional football team to be sponsored in such fashion. The deal is said to be worth INR 5 crore.
AIFF senior vice president Subrata Dutta while confirming the development also informed that the AIFF’s regional academy in Goa, where the under-15 team was training, has been shifted to Bhubaneswar, ensuring that the young squad continues to train uninterrupted. “It’s heartening to have the state government on board as a sponsor. The support will definitely help the two teams. We have also come to know that the Goa government is helping the Churchill Brothers club with a Rs 3 crore financial grant,” Dutta told TOI. The Indian Arrows have also shifted their base location from Delhi to Bhuvaneshwar’s Kalinga Stadium.
The Arrows have had a much better pre season than their opponents. The team has been with coach Floyd Pinto for a while, and has participated in various tournaments against much superior opponents garnering immense experience to challenge for a top 5 finish this season.
The match kicks off at 5 PM IST and will be LIVE on Star Sports 3, Hotstar and Jio TV.