Jan 18: United Sikkim FC will have a tough task ahead of them as they play guest of Dempo SC at the Duler Stadium in Mapusa on Saturday.
Dempo, who are winless in the New Year, will be looking for a victory to lift them into the top 3 of the I-League 2012-13. Plagued by numerous injuries to their key players, Coach Armando Colaco knows he has to do well with whatever is on hand. Such challenges should not be a deterrent to the 5 times National League winning coach as he has been through these situations many times in his career. “Although the players are recuperating well from their injuries, I will need to strike a good balance of experience and youth to emerge victorious” said the coach. Asked whether he considers United Sikkim as minnows specially after beating them 2-1 in the previous leg, Armando says “I always respect my opponents, and I will not take things easily. My effort will be to bring 100% out of the players and win this match”.
Although it seems likely that Armando may well stick with his 4-4-2 formation, it remains to be seen if he utilises Joaquim as a supporting striker or as a forward along with Nigerian Koko Sakibo in the absence of Ryuji Seuoka who is nursing an injury. Debabrata Roy may feature at the expense of Cresson Antao after serving one match expulsion for picking up a Red card against Prayag United. Rowilson, Selwyn and Valeriano are expected to be fit for selection after some niggling injuries. Godwin Franco, who also happens to be the “local boy” at Duler may get a starting berth to boost the central midfield. Dempo’s Liberian signing, Jonny Menyongar may also feature in the starting eleven. Mahesh Gawli is expected to be out for a few weeks after picking up a muscle injury in the match against Shillong Lajong earlier this week.
The visitors, meanwhile, haven’t won a match since their first game of the I-League by losing seven and equalling same number of matches in their 15 rounds played so far. Their new Australian coach Nathan Hall will however find something to cheer about as the team has come up with gritty performances in the past few games. Their foreign recruits have performed satisfactorily though with Nigerian Nuruddin Salau scoring 4 goals so far.
Match will begin at 3:45 pm at the Duler Stadium, Mapusa.
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