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FC Kochin unfazed after transfers  

April 26, 1998 

Times Of India 

 GUWAHATI: F.C.Kochin, fourth in the 2nd National Football League in the club's debut year, remain totally unfazed by the spate of top drawer transfers from the club. The big names have left seeking greener pastures but Kochin are confident of striking back next season. 

 ``Last year our problem was the bench strength,'' said Kochin president P.V.Paul, who was here on a short visit, on Saturday morning. ``In the coming season we'll not face this shortfall.'' 

 In fact, Mr Paul is so confident of surviving and even thriving in the business of running football club that he has added two more clubs to his kitty. One is the FC Kochin Juniors and the other United Bangalore, as in Manchester United. 

 ``The Juniors will play the lower division in Ernakulam itself and United have been granted entry into the senior division of the Bangalore league,'' he said. ``All the three teams, though United is an independent side, will train and practice together in Kochi itself. During the Bangalore football season, United will remain there.'' 

 In all probability, United will have as coach K.Bharatan who was the Kerala coach for the ongoing National football championship here. 

 Though FC Kochin have severed ties with previous sponsors, a breweries group in Bangalore, Mr Paul has finalised a deal a new company. ``It's a multinational and are swing double the amount of our earlier sponsors,'' said Mr Paul who will reveal the name only next week at Kochi. 

 ``This new sponsor will be for the FC Kochin team,'' he added. ``At present Juniors and United will not have any attachments.'' 

 The idea to form a team in Bangalore took root during the National games last year. ``There was good support for the Kerala team and the local enthusiasts asked us to start a team,'' said Mr Paul. ``First the Karnataka Football Association offered us a team to run but then we decided to start a new team itself with some players from Kochin who were not getting opportunities to play in the first XI.'' 

 Among the 20-odd players registered, Saji Joy (goalkeeper), K.T.Ranjit, Naushad Pari, C.K.Jitesh and K.P.Khalid were with FC Kochin last year. Also in the side is Raman Vijayan's younger brother Raman Prakashan. ``If United qualify for the NFL division I league we'll induct two or three foreign players,'' added Mr Paul who is the president of United Bangalore. 

 Meanwhile, FC Kochin have drawn the wealth of talent from the Tata Football Academy. Barring striker Sanjib Sheikh and attacking medio Jamesh Singh, who have enlisted with Bengal Mumbai Football Club, 12 have joined Kochin. 

 FC Kochin: Goalkeepers: Ali Abubakkar (Ghana), Camiro Palha (Dempo), Naseem Akhtar (TFA), Defenders: K.V. Dhanesh (SBT, Thiruvananthapuram), K.K. Jayan (ITI), Prabhjot Singh Mohammed Waseem (TFA), A.S. Firosh (F.C. Kochin), Mohammed Shafeeq (F.C. Kochin), Noah Rozario (ITI), Mahesh Gawali (TFA), Naresh Kanojia (Dempo), Midfielders: B.Edison (Kerala Police), Karunakar Raj (Indian Bank), Roque Baretto, Kaustav Ghosh, Nitin Pradhan, Vinu Jose, Noel Wilson (TFA), C. John Kennethraj (ITI), Prasanta Mukherjee (FCI, Calcutta), Dulal Sarkar (Bengal Police); Forwards: C.V. Pappachan, K. Naushad (Kerala Police), M. Najeeb (ITI), Ram Rai, Mir Farooq Hyder, Amjad Ansari (TFA), Kamal Bagdas (Sikkim). 

 United Bangalore: Saji Joy, K.T. Ranjit, Naushad Pari, C.K. Jitesh, K.P. Khalid, Raman Prakashan, Allaudin Rehman, Javed Khan, L. Shailesh, Biby Thomas, Sajith G.K., Rajat Radhakrishnan, K.K. Riaz, M.A. Rajesh Kumar, P.B. Rafique, N.K. Dilip, Sajith George, Polly Cherian, Md. Sawad, L. Suresh, Shashidharan, Prashantan and Lawrence. 

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