NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club would look to clinch their first Independence Day Cup title in eleven years when they face defending champions BSF Jalandhar in the final of the 70th Independence Day Cup at Nurul Amin Stadium this evening.
These are two most successful teams in the 70-year history of the competition, with BSF unrivalled on 8 titles and Mohammedan five-time winners.
The two teams have faced a series of obstacles on the road to the final but with their 2-1 victory over I-League champions Minerva Punjab in semifinal, Mohammedan set to enter the final in higher spirits. Whereas BSF head into the final on the back of a closely fought 1-0 victory against Oil India Dhulijan in a game which saw them fail to reach their full potential.
Mohammedan have emerged the overwhelming favourites at the tournament thus far, but face their biggest test yet in a BSF team that knows all about them, having faced the Kolkata outfit earlier in a redundant Group A game.
Looking ahead BSF coach S.S Virk knows they’re going up against a tough opponent in Mohammedan but have done everything in their power to prepare for the encounter.
Going into the final, BSF’s strategy would be simple as they will be looking frustrate Mohammedan by keeping things compact and cutting off space before using speed on the transition in the form of Jitinder Rawat, Ramakanta Hembram and Avinash Thapa who all have the capacity to stretch Mohammedan’s defense.
The best match to date for Mohammedan was their semi-final against Minerva with the squad seemingly finding the right balance – at just the right time.
Satyam Sharma was in control in the middle of the park while Philip Adjah was looking lethal up front any time they were in possession.
Going into the final, what will be key for Mohammedan is continuing that momentum and continuing to apply what they have learned thus far.
Part of their strength came from surprising their opponents with their speed, power and hunger.
Coach Raghunath Nandi has prepared his troops well, identifying the key strengths of his personnel and setting up a system to maximize the team’s effectiveness. He never got carried away with any one victory, pointing out areas for improvements whilst highlighting the strengths of his team.
Nandi knows what to expect from this exciting young side who will need to lift their game one more time to secure the silverware.
And with a hugely excited crowd backing this young side to continue their glorious run, there’s every chance they could once more lift their game to try and deliver what the fans want.
Interestingly, Mohammedan SC won their last Independence Day Cup title in 2007 beating BSF 3-2 on penalties.