Mohammedan SC, led by coach Andrey Chernyshov recently made headlines when they lifted the Calcutta Football League trophy after a massive gap of 40 years. A part of the “Big Three” from Kolkata, Mohammedan spent six seasons in the second division before they finally managed to gain promotion into the I-League last year.
The Black Panthers will be hoping to get their hands on the coveted I-League trophy for the first time in the history of the club. The club was also finalists in the Durand Cup held some time back and crashed out of the IFA Shield recently in the quarter-finals.
Coach Andrey Chernyshov and striker Marcus Joseph attended the pre-match press conference ahead of their opening game in the I-League against Sudeva FC. Here’s what they had to say.
Andrey Chernyshov on the favorites tag
“Tomorrow is our first game. We have worked very hard in the last four months and were waiting for this game to arrive. It is a special game because it is the first game of the season and we will be a bit more nervous. We know that people say we are the favorites but every team wants to win this league and on paper many teams are favorites.”
“We will be playing against some very good teams and we are ready to fight. We want to win the league and I do not want my players to think about what will happen at the end of the season. We need to think only about the upcoming game and move game by game.”
Marcus Joseph on winning the trophy and golden boot again
“I do not want anybody to depend on me because I play with the team and without the other players I would not be able to score anything. It is a good challenge for me and I want to score goals and be the top scorer of the league but I need to do my best for the team.”
Andrey Chernyshov on the foreigners in the team
“We have some good foreigners and we have some good Indian players as well. I don’t like to think about who is a foreigner or not because it is more important that how the players are ready for the game. It is important that we don’t speak about nationality but rather speak about quality. We will see who is in the best condition to start and will decide accordingly.”
Marcus Joseph on the quality of foreign players in the team
“It will be a pretty good challenge for us because we have some good players and we believe in them. I think we have a pretty good chance of winning the league with the help of the entire team.”
Andrey Chernyshov on Mohammedan’s performance graph and chances of winning the league
“No team can win all games. Sometimes your graph has to go up and sometimes it has to go down. This is normal in football because sometimes you may not have worked hard and may not be ready for the game as a result of which you lost the game. The main thing is to work hard and prepare well. The supporters obviously want to win every game by a 5-0 or a 6-0 margin but that is not football. If you are in a competition you must have the target to win it because if not, you are not a good sportsman.”
Assessment of Sudeva FC
“It will be a difficult game because they also want to win and this is normal. I would say that the chances are 50-50 and we must be ready for this game and we should play the way that we want if we want to win the game. This is the first game of the season and so it is a special game and at the same time, it is very important to win this game.”
Andrey Chernyshov on pre-season and preparations
“We had a great pre-season because the management provided us with those. We played many friendly games apart from the CFL and the Durand Cup. They were difficult tournaments and we are very happy with our preparations. We have waited for months for the I-League and we are prepared well.”
Marcus Joseph on Mallick and Buam
“I think they are very good players. They are very talented and willing to work hard and they want to better themselves and perform hard in the training. I challenge them sometimes as to who scores more goals and the loser has to buy them drinks or do some extra pushups. For me, it is very good to have them alongside me and I try to help them as much as possible.”
Mohammedan SC will face Sudeva FC tomorrow at the Naihati Stadium.
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