GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club will look to build on their Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ exploits when they begin their Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup campaign with a quarter-final clash against Army Red at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Friday, kick-off 5 PM.
Mohammedan Sporting’s upsurge in the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ started late which brought them very close to the title and earned praise from all corners. Saheed Ramon and his team have now shifted their focus to the Governor’s Gold Cup as the coach is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“A knockout competition is always different from the league. Any small mistake can end your path in the tournament so we will have to be at our best if we are to progress through to the next round,” said Ramon.
The Black Panthers are no strangers to the Paljor Stadium, having clinched the Governor’s Gold Cup in 2016 beating Nepal’s Jhapa FC in the final courtesy Manvir Singh’s solitary strike, but Ramon feels that past success will count for little heading into the tournament.
“It’s true that our record in the Governor’s Gold Cup is very good but tomorrow is the beginning of a new tournament and everybody is serious to put up a good show. I know the expectations are very high and we will think nothing less than a win when we hit the pitch tomorrow,” the gaffer added.
Regarding Mohammedan Sporting’s ambitions in the Gold Cup, the former striker mentioned that his team would consider each game separately. “We always prefer to take one game at a time. We don’t see any reason to change our philosophy now. The game of football is very unpredictable and we have to keep our heads down and continue the job on the field.”
Ramon admits Army Red are posing a somewhat unknown challenge and they are going to approach the game with a more patient lookout as they will prefer to read their opponents before hurling the attacks on the Lucknow-based club.
“It’s our first match at this ground whereas Army Red have already been here once. Surely We will tweak our strategy for a knockout game. We have to be more patient. We have to be very alert defensively and mentally strong to get the job done. We don’t know much about them so we are focusing mainly on our own team,” he explained.
The Nigerian tactician believes results matter, but it’s even more important for his players to learn from the experience and keep developing for the future.