Odisha FC got off to a great start as they defeated Bengaluru FC for the first time in the ISL 2021-22 season. OFC next face SC East Bengal, who suffered derby demolition against ATK Mohun Bagan FC.
Coach Kiko Ramirez and club captain Vinit Rai addressed the media ahead of their encounter against SC East Bengal on Tuesday.
OFC goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh put in an impressive display which included a Sunil Chhetri penalty save. The 25-year-old, however, looked in pain towards the end of the game against BFC. On Kamaljit and team news for the clash against SCEB, coach Kiko said, “Everyone is fit and available. Kamaljeet only suffered a knock, so we will decide on him. Otherwise, everyone is fit and available”.
Vinit Rai was appointed captain of Odisha FC ahead of the ISL 2021-22 season. The midfielder was an ever-present member of the OFC side last season, playing 16 matches. On captaincy and added responsibilities, Vinit said, “I want to thank the coach and all of the players for putting their trust in me and giving me this responsibility. Being a captain gives you extra confidence on the pitch. On the pitch, everyone is an individual captain. It’s not just one captain. Everyone needs to lead themselves to do well in each game. For me, it is normal, and I try to give my best every game”.
Odisha FC would be high on confidence after that 3-1 win over former champions Bengaluru FC. Kiko Ramirez is, however, focused on the games to come rather than the games that have gone by. He said, “Our strategy is always to be competitive. We cannot think about the last game. It was good, but we need to live in the present and think about the next game. Our thoughts are always to compete in the best way possible in the next match”.
Javi Hernandez did the star turn for Odisha FC, scoring a brace and winning against BFC. The Spaniard would be looking to pull strings again in midfield for OFC. On Javi, Kiko said, “Javi scored two goals and is in good shape. However, without his teammates, he cannot perform that well. Football is all about teamwork, and Javi is an important player, but without his teammates, he cannot get those goals”.
Odisha FC finished bottom of the table last season. Vinit Rai was one of the bright sparks for OFC the previous season. On his individual goals for the season, Vinit said, “I have no individual goals for the season. I am fully dedicated to the team because it’s a crucial season for us. Last season was not good for us, but this season, we have started with a win, and we are in a positive mindset. This season is going to be a big one for all of us”.
On tomorrow’s opponents and their strengths, Kiko Ramirez was wary of how SCEB could hurt them. He said, “SCEB is a wounded team since they lost the last game. But that also means that they will be hungry for the win. The match tomorrow will be tough”.
SC East Bengal will be looking to get the first win of their campaign following a defeat to arch-rivals ATKMB FC. Odisha FC, on the other hand, will be looking to keep the momentum going against SC East Bengal. As Kiko said, it will be a tight contest between the two sides.
Follow our website for all the latest updates on Indian Football.