In recent times, Goa has emerged the powerhouse of Indian football. With three of its teams — defending champion Salgaocar SC, I-League champion Dempo SC and Churchill Brothers — in the semifinals of the Federation Cup, it is apparent that the balance of power has shifted to Goa from Bengal.
East Bengal, the lone semifinalist from Bengal, will seek to draw inspiration from a favourable statistic that none of the other sides possesses.
It has claimed three titles (2007, 2009, 2010) in six successive semifinal appearances.
East Bengal’s English coach Trevor Morgan is worried about his team’s mediocre performance (scored seven goals and conceded five) in the group stage and also Churchill’s good form.
“Churchill is a very good side with in-form players and we will have to find a way to stop them and get the advantage our way,” Morgan said after the team’s training on Wednesday.
Defence is a cause for worry for Morgan, having conceded five goals. He hoped his team would overcome the deficiency and make a fresh start against Churchill Brothers.
Incidentally, Churchill is trained by Subhas Bhowmick, who had worked with East Bengal and guided the team to several titles. Churchill’s record in the group stage is awesome; it has scored nine goals and conceded just one.
Bhowmick hoped that the team would continue its good form against East Bengal.
The team’s strikers — Gabonese Henry Antchouet, Brazilian Roberto Mendes Silva and young Akram Moghrabi of Lebanon — have successfully converted the chances that came their way. The midfielders — Lenny Rodrigues and Bikramjit Singh — has also made a significant contribution to the team’s success.