Maharashtra coach D’Silva confident of good showing from his players

Mumbai, March 10: Maharashtra coach Augusto D’Silva exudes plenty of confidence and has a strong belief that his players will produce a match-winning performance when they take on Tamil Nadu in a semi-final clash of the 70th National Football Championship (final round) for the Santosh Trophy, conducted by WIFA under the auspices of AIFF, and hosted by NDFA and to be played at the SEC Railway ground, Nagpur, on Friday.

“My boys are good, talented young players who have a positive winning attitude. If they play to their potential and ability they can beat any team,” D’Silva proudly said after the team finished with a light training session in the morning. “If we play to our strengths and play our usual game, then I am confident of a win tomorrow,” he further added.

Maharastra, who finished second in Group-A, enjoyed a good run in the initial phase having convincingly defeated Jammu & Kashmir 3-1, Railways 3-0 and last year’s runners-up Mizoram 1-0. In the last group game they conceded a late goal and lost to champions Service by 0-1 margin.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu topped Group-B and recorded a 3-0 win against Assam, drew goalless with Goa, defeated West Bengal 1-0 and then thumped Punjab 5-0.

However, D’Silva was not bothered about the group results, but admitted that the opponents have some good players and said that it was not a concern. “Tamil Nadu is a good team, with some good players, but there is nothing to fear about. I have worked out some strategies and accordingly I will instruct my boys on how to execute the plans,” stated D’Silva, a former Central Railway striker and coach.

Hosts Maharashtra would also have the backing of the Nagpur supporters and that will help further motivate the players.

The Maharashtra coach also boasted that his team is well balanced. “There is no weakness in the team, which is strong in a three zones; defence, midfield and attack. Even both the goalkeepers have done an excellent job. We also have good bench strength and that provides me with plenty of options,” he pointed out.

The match kicks-off at 3.00 pm, but D’Silva was unperturbed about playing in the afternoon. “The weather is good, not very hot. It’s playable conditions,” he said before returning to join his players.

Holders Services clash with Goa in the first semi-final to be played in the morning.

Semi-final pairing: Tamil Nadu vs Maharashtra, Servives vs Goa

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