Panjim, Goa: Following an announcement from the organisers of the Hero Indian Super League, FC Goa is now scheduled to play their next match against ATK on 3rd January 2018. This will be followed by a trip to Guwahati to play NorthEast United FC on 6th January 2018. The Gaurs will then return to Goa to take on Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on 11th January 2018, thereby completing a tiresome set of fixture which will see FC Goa take to the field three times in nine days.
The club has expressed their displeasure at having to play these games within close proximity of each other and lamented on the lack of support from various parties to ensure that the game went ahead as planned on 31st December 2017. FC Goa President, Akshay Tandon said: “As a club, we are disappointed in the last minute change of fixtures. A lot of work goes into the planning of our season behind the scenes and we try and ensure we give the team the best possible options so they can play every match at optimal levels. Last minute changes in plans are always something that are detrimental to the team’s cause and this is the case here. As it stands, we will have to play the game on the 3rd of January and there isn’t much we can do about it.”
Head Coach, Sergio Lobera, also addressed the issue saying, “I don’t find it just that the calendar changes with such a short notice period. We had a plan in place sporting-wise and logistically as well, with regard to the flights and stay. Changes like this can hurt the final standings of the league table. We are playing 5 games in 2 and a half weeks towards the ends of the season and this is acceptable as the schedule came out like that but with this change, we will face the same situation twice in a season and I don’t find this just for us. I find it surprising that they take decisions like this unilaterally without prior consultation with the teams. On our part, we proposed three options as well and we are disappointed that none of them were considered. This sort of change doesn’t help the spectacle, nor the players or the league as it disturbs the planning of the club’s season.”
Team Captain Laxmikant Kattimani echoed the sentiments of the team by saying, “We were made aware of the change in schedule just before the game against FC Pune City. We were told there were some discussions to try and change the schedule back to what it was, but nothing came of it. As a player, it is very difficult to deal with this as we have to get on to the pitch three times in quick succession. Additionally, we will be doing this one more time in the season towards the end of the league stage. Players need time to recover between matches and the extension in the duration of the league this year allowed us that extra bit of rest. However, now we have an extremely taxing situation ahead of us and we will have to manage our bodies well and ensure we don’t pick up any injuries, going into this heavy set of fixtures.”
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