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Dempo face Churchill in tricky draw

Champions Dempo Sports Club will start the defence of their I-League title with a tricky clash against archrivals Churchill Brothers Sports Club at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.

Dempo made it to the final of the Federation Cup before eventually losing to East Bengal in extra time, but, observers say, Churchill Brothers was the most impressive team in the competition. Technical director Subhash Bhowmick admits just as much and is now ready to make amends in the I-League, India’s premier football competition.

‘We could have been Federation Cup champions. Everyone said we played the most beautiful and attractive football. That we lost to East Bengal (in the semis) was unfortunate but we have everything to play for in the I-League,’ said Churchill Brothers technical director Subhash Bhowmick.

Dempo Sports Club coach Armando Colaco is typically cool and calm ahead of the big opener. ‘The opening match result will mean nothing. There is a long way to go and, historically, Dempo have been late starters. I have no worries about anything,’ said Colaco.

Dempo will use a new striking pair of former Arsenal striker Rohan Ricketts and Ryuji Sueoka with Nigerian striker Koko Sakibo.
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