KOLKATA: The Black Panthers are set to open their account of the 2018/19 Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ season when they face Food Corporation of India (FCI) in Barasat Stadium on Sunday, which promises to be an exciting contest as both teams will look for a solid start to their respective campaigns.
“We are happy to start with the CFL fixtures,” Raghu Nandi comments. “We have gone through the preparations and all we need is a good start.”
“The first few games are always a bit tricky, as most teams still read like a closed book,” the Mohammedan Sporting technical director adds. “We have done our homework and we gathered intelligence about FCI, albeit limited because they haven’t been exposed that much.”
Nandi is confident that his lack of “big” team experience will not count against him when the teams meet in their opening match.
On the selection front, Nandi commented: “We will play our best possible side. The competition for places is at an all-time high at the moment. The best eleven will start on Sunday evening.”
Nandi brings a different style of play to the table and he is adamant that he has the players to make this work. Priyant Singh will start the game in goal. Kamran Farooque will start at left back while Lancine Toure who had been handed the captain’s armband for the Black Panthers and one of Prasenjit Paul or Shanid Valan will start as centre backs. It will be Tonmoy Ghosh who will start as right back.
With a wealth of options in midfield, it will be interesting to see who the experienced tactician eventually picks to start the game. Jewel Raja and Bazie Armand are likely options in the central midfield positions. The attacking and wing positions will be a tough choice for Nandi who will have to choose between Dipendu Dowary, Rahul KP, Sumit Das, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Snehasish Dutta, Ronald Singh, Ripon Rahman and Debasish Pradhan. Mohammad Amirul will be a likely starter up front with Princewill Emeka.
“The energy in the camp is gratifying,” concluded Nandi. “We want to display good football and take away the three points.”