Sikkim Gold Cup 2018: Deggie Cardozo's ATK Reserves gear up for maiden challenge
Earlier this week, the ATK Reserves squad flew off to Sikkim to take part in the Sikkim Gold Cup knockout tournament and later tomorrow, they will begin their campaign when they take on George Telegraph in the quarter-finals.
Coached by Deggie Cardozo, the players have been training together for almost eight weeks now. "My team's development has been very good. I have worked on the individual aspects with my players as well as overall aspects," the 31-year-old Goan says.
The team's progress has been reflected in their performances during the pre-season. In fact, they gave NEROCA FC, who finished runners-up in last season's I-League, a scare before eventually losing 1-2.
"Regarding our pre-season, people have been talking about our team for sure. We have given a good performance in the pre-season friendlies, whatever we played," reflects Deggie, who at 28, was the youngest to complete the AFC A licence coach.
However, he is cautious about the upcoming challenges. "Now we'll be facing different opponents whom we haven't seen. But I will stick to my strategy by taking into consideration how the opponents play...we are going to observe the first 5-10 minutes and then, depending on that, we'll play the match accordingly," he says.
When asked what he expects from his team at the tournament, Deggie says, "I'll be going just game by game. I won't focus more on how the other opponent will be playing. But realistically, we might get to the semis or to the finals. But I am going to take each game as the final. First, we have to win the quarter-final fixture and then it'll just be two matches."
Here is the full squad that will be in action in Sikkim:
Goalkeepers: Lara, Debnath Mondal, Jedidi Haokip
Defenders: Sumit Rathi, Supriyo Ghosh, Brandon Green, Monoranjan Singh, Sangay Bhutia, Chiranjeet Gogoi, Ashraf Ali Mondal, Buanthanglun Sante
Midfielders: Gopi Yumnam, Ashish Pradhan, Ragav Gupta, Joseph Vanlalhruaia, Lalengmawia, Satyam Jaiswara, Sk Azaruddin, Pemba Rai, Aman Thapa
Strikers: Ashish Jha, Thomyo Shimray, Sonu Halder, Varun Thockchom