History awaits at Nehru Stadium, Guwahati when Churchill Brothers take on newly promoted I-League club, Shillong Lajong F.C in the 1st semi-finals of Hero Honda 31st Federation Cup on December 30. The stage is all set and the winner takes it all as it will be maiden final berth for either team since the inception of the tournament.
Shillong Lajong F.C have had a dream run in their very first appearance of the Federation Cup particularly outclassing Dempo S.C in the group stages and are ready to give a better account themselves against the I-League champions Churchill Brothers who are eyeing third title this year.
Churchill Brothers have already bagged IFA Shield and prestigious Durand Cup this year and are looking to end this year on a winning note especially with Federation Cup in their kitty ,while Shillong Lajong F.C are aiming to write another chapter in the history of Indian football.
‘’ We have played very well in this tournament and will hope to continue in the semi-finals too. We are ready for it and will have to put our best foot forward as it’s a proud moment for us,’’ said Shilong Lajong F.C coach, Stanley Rozario.
The former East Bengal and Salgaocar coach biggest threat is Churchill Brothers ‘’Goal Machine’’ Odafe Onyeka Okolie and said that,’’ Churchill Brothers is very strong team and have been in a great form this year. Odafe is their key player and is capable of changing the fate of the match on his own. We will have to be on our toes right from the first whistle.’’
Churchill Brothers coach Roberto Carlos Pereira believes that it will be an even encounter and said that,’’ it could be anyone’s game as Shillong Lajong F.C are playing very good football.’’
Shillong Lajong F.C skipper Aibor Khonjee looks doubtful for the all important semi-final due to groin injury. Saikhohao Tuboi and Anil Gurung have been in resounding form and are ready to give tough time to the Churchill Brothers defence.
Churchill Brothers will be still missing their first choice goalkeeper and India International Arindam Bhattacharya who is yet to recover from shoulder injury. Odafe along with Khan Thang Paite and Mohun Bagan’s Jose Ramirez Barreto is the leading scorer in the ongoing Federation Cup and once again will be the difference between the two sides. Khan Thang Paite has given another option to the Roberto Carlos Pereira and with Reisangmi Vashum and Ogba Kalu Nanna; Churchill Brothers will hope to have a perfect outing.
It was Churchill Brothers who registered a comfortable 2-0 victory against Shillong Lajong F.C in their last meeting in the IFA Shield group league stage.
Posted on : Tuesday December 29, 2009