Gokulam Kerala FC face Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings in the Malabarian’s opening match in Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup 2019 at MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong on October 22.
The Malabarians will be without their star striker Marcus Joseph as the Trinidadian left for national duty. However Gokulam FC coach Fernando Varela believes that the team has the ability to sail past the Bangladesh Premier League champions in the opening match.
In the absence of Marcus, who scored nine goals in Durand Cup for Malabarians, Irshad T from Malappuram will wear captain’s armband on Tuesday.
“Marcus is a very important player for us. With him we can reach the opponent box easily. The player who replaces him will try to do his best and we must adapt to Marcus absence. I believe we can go far by working as a team,” said the gaffer on the eve of the match.
Gokulam invited a late invitation from the organisers to become the first club from Kerala to participate in an AFC-recognised tournament. The team reached in Chittagong on Monday and will have only one day’s rest before tomorrow match.
“It was really hard to reach here because the notification came in the last moment. However, we are here playing matches with the ISL teams and the team is in a good momentum. We must maintain confidence and balance in the game. We will do our best despite the inconvenience,” said the coach.
Varela also pointed out the quality of Bashundhara Kings players is exceptional. “They are a consolidated team with good defensive organisation. They have a dynamic midfield and with a top-player like Daniel Colindres, they become a formidable opponent. We have to show our best to overcome them and I believe it could be achievable,” added the coach.
Bashundhara Kings have been on rise from its inception in the year 2016, winning third division, championship and Bangladesh Premier League in the previous season. Seven of their Bangladeshi players are the current national players and were in the squad against India in the recently held Olympic qualifier match in Kolkata.
Their Costa Rican striker Daniel Colindres has top-scored the Bangladesh league with 17 goals and mustered a dozen assists to help the team win the league.