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Wednesday, December 8, 1999

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FC Kochin rope in coach Chathunni

DECEMBER 7: FC Kochin, after their dismal show in the Rovers and Durand Cup, have started desperate attempts to plug the loose ends, with the National Football League (NFL) a few days away.

As a first step, the former Dempo coach TK Chathunni, will soon take over as the new coach of the side. A deal in this regard has already been finalised between the club and the coach, it was learnt. Bharathan, the present coach of the club, meanwhile, has expressed his willingness to step down in favour of the new coach.

The first assignment of the new coach would be the State super league, which will be followed by the NFL. FC Kochin are set to begin their NFL campaign with a home match against Tollygunge Agragami on Dec 15. FCK had suffered defeats against the Salgaocar and Gorkha Brigade in the Durand Cup last week.

The club is also in the look out for a few players from abroad. The slots of goalkeeper, stopper and the right wing-back, have proven to be the weakest links in the FCK gameplan.

Efforts are alreadyon to rope in players from Thailand and Hungary, it was learnt. Ali Abubaker, the Ghanian goalkeeper, is expected to rejoin the team in time for the NFL.

Chathunni, who has guided Kerala Police, Salgaocar and Mohun Bagan to many a triumph, resigned as the coach of Dempo on Nov 22, saying that his pleas for the reinforcement of the team with three to four quality players have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, IM Vijayan and Jo Paul Anchery, the key members of the team, who were away in Abu Dhabi assisting the National team in the Asia Cup group matches, will join the club's practice session on Wednesday.

It was the aberrations in the defense that caused setbacks for India in the Asia Cup, according to Vijayan. ``We were unfortunate to be denied at least a couple of draws against the mighty UAE and the Uzbekistan,'' he said.

India lost to UAE 1-3 after leading 1-0 at the interval. The goal was scored off a spectacular freekick by Vijayan. Against the Uzbeks too India led 2-1 for nearly 65 minutes. Thegoals were scored by Jo Paul Anchery and Vijayan.

``UAE, in fact, had not taken India seriously, as was evident from the press statements made by the team officials on the previous day. The coach went to the extent of predicting a 12-0 win for UAE,'' said Vijayan.

``When we struck early, they were really stunned. However, they bounced back towards the end of the match, making full use of the lapses in our defence to pump in three goals in a row.''

Vijayan, Basudeb in `Best XI': IM Vijayan and Basudeb Mondol are the only Indians who figure in the `Best XI', selected by the representatives of the local and international media covering the Group III matches of the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi.

Vijayan joined Uzbekistan's Maksim as one of the two strikers of the team.

The Team
Mushtaq Abdulla (UAE); Central backs: Fyodorov Andrei (Uzbekistan); Zaheed Ali (UAE); Lusha Sergei (Uzbekistan); Wing backs: Ghareb Harieb (UAE); Shirshov Nikolai (Uzbekistan); Midfielders:Basudeb Mondol (India); Kasimov Mirtajalal (Uzbekistan); Kasun Jasoraya (Sri Lanka); Attackers: Maksim (Uzbekistan); IM Vijayan (India).

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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