GOA: Churchill Brothers will face a test of their character as they battle to save relegation.
The defending champions are at the bottom of the league ladder and will need a win against Shillong Lajong FC at the Duler Stadium, Goa, on Tuesday, not just to boost their confidence, but also haul themselves above the relegation zone.
With seven points from the first leg and just one win, it is clear that Churchill Brothers have struggled all through the competition. Technical director Subhash Bhowmick has claimed the team is making progress, but unless they start winning soon, there are fears that the team might not have enough time for recovery.
“I believe in this team. They will definitely start winning,” said Bhowmick.
Churchill’s first win came against Sporting Clube de Goa when Jaison Vales scored a last-gasp winner. But soon after, Churchill suffered an embarrassing 1-3 loss against Bengaluru FC, undoing all of the good work that the team had seemed to be doing.
“We don’t have a choice. There is only one choice before us, and that is to start winning. You can say that this team has the threat of relegation but I know how to overcome all the hurdles,” said Bhowmick, whose team is one point below Rangdjaied United FC.
One of Churchill’s major worry is the defence which has not looked convincing. Against Bengaluru FC, all three goals were defensive mistakes and Bhowmick will do well to address the problem.
Shillong Lajong FC will be high on confidence, after putting it across Salgaocar FC at home.
Thangboi Singto’s team did extremely well to grab full against the former champions, despite not having three of their four foreign players.
The team now has Churchill in their sights, and will be confident that they can get an identical result. After all, Shillong’s opening game was at Duler Stadium in Goa where the visitors demolished Dempo Sports Club 3-0.
Shillong Lajong are currently in fifth place and a win against Churchill, although temporarily, will propel them into the top three for the first time this season. That is a good incentive for Singto’s boys to heap more misery on a struggling Churchill.
It was still not clear if Singto will have the entire squad at his disposal. Reports have suggested that only one from his trio of foreigners, Cornell Glen, Minchol Son and Bomfin Uilliams, will win the fitness battle.