Royal Wahingdoh in a pressure free zone: Santosh Kashyap

Royal Wahingdoh head coach Santosh Kashyap

The Shillong troops are on the road, with an away match scheduled against Mumbai FC tomorrow. Royal Wahindoh who are in the top bracket of the league table, second to just Pune on goal difference are hoping to log in an away victory at Cooperage. This was evident when their head coach Santosh Kashyap spoke to the media today with his striker Jackichand Singh in tow.

Santosh Kashyap has been at Wahindoh for a short period of three months and the team is already in the top of their form under his guidance, but he attributed this to the talent and dedication of his players and the faith that they repose in him.

While mentioning that he had not expected the team to top the table after the first leg of the season and just wanted his players, “to go out on the field, enjoy their game and put in their best efforts!”

Shades of his mystery were visible, as Santosh Kashyap has set a target for himself but hasn’t given any hint of it to his players. Elucidating on his success mantra, he said, “It’s just the beginning and there is a long way to go..  It’s important that we’re focusing on a match by match basis, we’ll put in the greatest effort and see at the end of the league where we reach.”

Pointing out that away matches are always the challenging ones, with adjustment required in different folds from pitches, climate to food as well, he brushed off the fact of facing added pressure. The gaffer has resolutely decided to keep himself and his team pressure free, so much so that he is “not chasing any particular position” on the leader board.

Football returned to Cooperage this season after a hiatus of five years and Santosh Kashyap appreciated the fact, also pin pointing that the atmosphere in the matches that he has seen on television has been vibrant.

“All the 11 teams in the tournament are the best ones that are there. No one can win all matches, nor can they lose all. Some have started slow but are picking up while we are one of those who’ve had a good beginning.” This stern and affirmative response came from the master when questioned on Mumbai’s earlier defeats and their defense which was considered weak. In fact, he went on to say that Mumbai are a team with a fighting spirit so strong that we are not going to take them lightly.

Conditions in Mumbai were a concern for Salgaocar last week, but they’re not much of a worry for Santosh and his troop as he ranked in the artificial turf at Cooperage being better than the Shillong pitch and the evening breeze was not much of an obstacle but a welcome as they’re used to playing in a much colder climate. Moreover, there are only a couple of fitness concerns as the defense lacks the services of Govin Singh and Jackichand is in the recovery phase.

Jackichand Singh has made his I- league debut this season and earlier played in the second division. Surprisingly, he’s much more relaxed at this level, “It’s great that in India all the teams are at par, we as a young side and all the old clubs as well. I come to know the extent of competition on a personal level. Second division is very tough, you have to win all matches, top the table so there is too much pressure but I- League is devoid of this crunch situation.”

Adding on to this, the coach said, “The pressure is off our shoulders for we’re on the top. And as a young and inexperienced side a victory is enough to settle us down. But since it’s a long league, my focus is more on recovery rather than intensive training.” He is the one who gives his players the allowance for an ice bath over a practice session ensuring that good food and requisite sleep are a must!

Not shying away, on a final note he is very confident that the team which is improving each day will definitely glean out a positive result against Khalid Jamil’s men whom they have previously defeated 2-1 in the Federation cup.

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