Football

AFC Cup | CCFC motivated to do something special

The drill: Chennai City FC players hone their skills at a practice session in Chennai on Tuesday.

The drill: Chennai City FC players hone their skills at a practice session in Chennai on Tuesday.  

Head coach Nawas says it’s eager to do well against Maziya Sports & Recreation

Chennai City FC (CCFC) hasn’t had a good run in the I-League this season. However, that is not the team’s concern now.

The focus is on its maiden AFC Cup campaign against Male-based Maldives team — Maziya Sports & Recreation — to be played at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.

While CCFC qualified for the AFC Cup as the I-League champion last season, Maziya made it by winning the playoffs against Bengaluru FC (BFC) 4-3 on penalties after the two-leg contest ended 4-4 on aggregate.

CCFC head coach Akbar Nawas said his team was more than eager to prove itself.

“We are proud to be participating [in AFC Cup], and being the only Indian team, we are motivated to do something special.

Respect for opponent

“We respect them [Maziya] as they beat BFC, which is a competitive team. We can’t underestimate them,” he said at an interaction on Tuesday.

CCFC is coming back to Chennai after playing in the I-League for one season in 2016-17 before shifting base to Coimbatore in 2018-19.

Nawas felt playing here would be a big motivation.

“Everybody is excited to play their first AFC group game because we are playing in Chennai’s Nehru stadium.

“It’s a good motivation. We are looking forward to it,” he said. Maziya’s head coach Marjan Sekulovski said the team was prepared and will go for full points.

“It is our first game in the group stage. It will be difficult and [moreover] we don’t know the strength of all the teams. [But] we always we play to win,” he said.

Dismal record

Maziya is no stranger to Indian clubs in the AFC Cup. It has played Mohun Bagan and BFC six times across three seasons, but has lost five times.

With four teams in Group-E, including Bashundhara Kings (Bangladesh) and TC Sports Club (Maldives), every side will play three matches each at home and away. The top two will progress to the round-of-32.

Having not met earlier, both CCFC and Maziya will fancy their chances.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 6:40:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/afc-cup-ccfc-motivated-to-do-something-special/article31033776.ece

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