Thursday, June 13, 2024

Royal, Ar-Hima to lock horns in final today


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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Defending champions Royal Wahingdoh FC, who became the first team from the State to win the Bordoloi Trophy on Friday, will start favourites against arch-rivals Ar-Hima in the final of the Shillong Premier League (SPL) at the First Division Ground , Polo here on Saturday.

It has been a dream run for Wahingdoh in almost all the tournaments it participated in this year. Starting from the final round of the Second Division I-League to the Federation Cup, Wahingdoh tasted glory against the country’s top clubs like Churchill Brothers and East Bengal. The victory in the Bordoloi Trophy added another feather to the cap for Wahingdoh.

Hence, taking into consideration their current form, the spirit in the team’s camp would definitely be high before the SPL title decider on Saturday.

Talking to The Shillong Times, Wahingdoh Coach Carlton Chapman said it would be great to back the win at Guwahati with another title here.

“Winning back-to-back tournaments in a span of two days would be great for the team and we are looking forward to it. But this would all depend on how we are going to perform during the 90 minutes in tomorrow’s final,” he said.

One worrying factor for Wahingdoh could be its player’s fitness for Saturday’s encounter given their hectic schedule in the run-up to the SPL final. While maintaining that he is building up the team for I-League, Chapman said that he would not want to risk the players by asking them to play back-to-back matches.

“I would see the condition of the players before taking a final call on who should play tomorrow. But I can assure that we would field a very strong side for the match,” he said.

While terming Ar-Hima as a competent side, the Wahingdoh coach said that his players would not be complacent against them.

When asked if his team would be under some amount pressure after being tagged as the tournament favourites, Chapman said, “Definitely there would be pressure on the boys but at this level one is expected to deal with it.”

The Wahingdoh players to watch for in the final would be its skipper Seityacen Singh, Jackiechand Singh and Mala.

Ar-Hima on the other hand would not have to ponder on issues like fitness of the players considering that they had ample amount of rest before the crucial final match.

However, taking into account their dismal performance against a young Langsning side in the third semifinal of the SPL, Ar Hima would need some rethinking on their strategy and approach before taking the field on Saturday.

When contacted, Ar-Hima Assistant Coach Khlainpyrkhat Syiemlieh said that the players are confident of a good show against Wahingdoh.

While admitting that the team’s performance has not been the best in recent times, Syiemlieh said that they would work on the areas which let the team down in the semifinal against Langsning SC.

Ar-Hima would field the same side that beat Langsning. For Ar-Hima, the players who can really change the game are Kyrshang Lyngshing, Restom Khriam, Stephan Lanong and its Nigerian defender L Enyinnaya.


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