Indian Arrows : Shanmugam Venkatesh – The players know the importance of playing in the I League


Pre Match Press Conference – Indian Arrows

The new season of the I League has finally arrived after a long break and the teams are in for a packed schedule in the tournament which has adopted a new format. The Indian Arrows coach Shanmugam Venkatesh and his young squad will be up for another adventurous season. They kickstart their campaign today against Churchill Brothers and the coach feels the need to have a good start.
Speaking in a virtual pre-match press conference, he said that in the new format every match becomes important and every point they gain will be crucial. He said ” A right start is really important as it sets the tone for the next matches. In this new format, each point is extremely crucial and the first 10 games will be very important.”

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Speaking on the quality of the opposition, the former assistant manager of the Blue Tigers was all praise for Churchill Brothers. ” Churchill Brothers is a well known name and a big team in Indian football. They have some great players in their squad. It’s a great opportunity for the boys to play against them.”
Many of the star performers last season have found themselves in ISL clubs now. Akash Mishra is a regular starter for Hyderabad FC now who plied his trade for the Arrows last season. He also mentioned that the current squad of Indian Arrows is quite younger than what it was last season. ” This year most of the players are playing for the first time and many are around 17 years of age. All of them are in the same age group and that’s a good thing for us. They know the importance of the I League and it’s a great oppurtunity(to play at this level).”

In a competitive league with plenty of experienced players and foreigners, it is indeed a great opportunity for a bunch of teenagers to be able to be a part of it. The Arrows goalkeeper Ahan Prakash too felt the same. He said ” It’s a great exposure for us. Getting good time at such an young age would be beneficial for our development.”

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Indian Arrows goalkeeper Ahan Prakash. Image credits – I League

The team underwent training in Odisha before shifting base to Kolkata to prepare for the upcoming season. Ahan feels that they had had a fine preseason to gear up for the new season. ” We had a training stint before moving to Kolkata. We thank the Odisha government for providing us with world class facilities to train. Here in Kolkata, we played the IFA Shield and a couple of friendlies which gave us experience of playing against senior sides. This has put us in a good position to start the I League.”

The boss was also satisfied with the way his team had trained in the preseason. He said ” I would like to thank the government of Odisha on behalf of the team for providing us with world class facilities in such difficult times. That has helped us to get in good shape. In Kolkata also, we played the IFA Shield and a few friendlies which helped the boys to get confidence before they start the I League.”

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Arrows will take on Churchill Brothers in their opening match of the season

The I League will be a wonderful platform for young guns to make their talent known. Ahan feels that playing in the Arrows could pave way to earn a senior national team place in the future. He said ” It’s the highest honor to play for India. Everyone wants to play for the national team but only few get the chance. A lot of players have gone on to play for the senior national team from Indian Arrows. That’s the motivating factor for all of us here. “

The coach felt that being a young side with many of them about to make their professional debuts this season, his side won’t be facing much pressure and that they are excited to start the league. The coach feels that it is good to be back in the pitch after a long time. He had encouraging words for his team to start the season well and to have a good time learning on and off the pitch. ” We have to take all the matches positively and I want my boys to go and enjoy. That is the most important thing for footballers.”

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