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FC Kochi should be wary of Mahindras

January 07, 1998 

Indian Express 
KOCHI, January 7: For FC Kochin, the stunning reverse which they suffered against Goa's Salgaocar in their last match of the 2nd Philips National Football League on Sunday last is now a thing of past.
"Tomorrow should be ours," feels George Blues, their Scottish technical director. The home side will meet Mahindras in their fourth home match of the PNFL. Last week the Mumbai outfit scored a stunning win over reigning champions JCT Mills and they have four points from their three matches. FC Kochin have six points from two wins and a defeat so far.
Blues said that his players have taken the 1-2 defeat against the Goan side in their stride. "The loss is a thing of past now. The defeat has only made us more hungry for more goals," he said.
However, Dereyk D'Sousa-trained Mahindras, comprising a bunch of youngsters, are improving with their every outing. "My problem is that our boys are not consistent." said D'Sousa, who but seemed confident about his defenders. Nigerian recruit Oneyeka Okafor even won the man of the match award in their drawn match against Salgaocar.
With the return of Rahmatullah Khan, Mahindras have strengthened their defence. The trio of Sushanta Mazumdar, George Fernandes and Khan could have made things difficult for the two Vijayans of the Kochi club. However, Fernandes will be out with injury. Either Ramesh Razak or Sanjay Dayal will come for him. Khalid Jamil and veteran Valentine Ezugo are the two others who are indisposed.
Mahindras have three young midfielders -- Satish Minz, Andrew Lewis, Abhay Kumar and also experienced Santosh Kashyap, They can play havoc on the rivals rearguard. De Souza appeared very optimistic about his team's chances. "My boys are a  confident lot, notwithstanding FC Kochin's reputation as a leading team."
But tomorrow might be different. Kochin have resurrected their midfield with two Ghanaians Mohammed Salissu and Mohammed Kareem. With India captain Carlton Chapman and Jo Paul Ancheri in their ranks, they look invincible.The Kochin defence gives the team a lot of worries. In their opening league match against East Bengal they looked compact but against Salgaocar they left huge gaps.
Compared to the Kochi side, Mahindras lack in experience. "Kochin have the home advantage but we'll play our full game," coach D'Sousa said.


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