When you start a new season you have to always be optimistic, says Manolo Marquez

When you start a new season you have to always be optimistic, says Manolo Marquez

Coach Manolo and the duo of Bart Ogbeche and Chinglensana Konsham speak to the media ahead of HFC’s opening game vs Chennaiyin FC

Indian Super League club Hyderabad FC will begin the 2021-22 season on November 23 at Athletic Stadium, Bambolim in Goa. Ahead of this crucial opener, the Head Coach Manolo Marquez discusses the preparations so far, the squad at his disposal, the upcoming challenges and more…

On the expectations from the new season…

When you start a new season you have to always be optimistic. We want to win every game in the upcoming season but so do the opponent teams. However, for an encouraging beginning, we want to arrive prepared and in the best condition possible for our first match of the season on Tuesday against Chennaiyin. Regardless of the new rule about the number of foreign players in a team, I believe all the team focused on including more young Indian players in the squad making it a more balanced competition.

On HFC’s previous ISL campaign…

“Comparing our performance with the last season is not correct as the season is over. I feel we missed a great opportunity of being amongst the top four teams. However, we’d like to show a better performance this season as compared to the last one.”

On the current HFC squad…

“We have many young and promising players in the team. Bartholomew Ogbeche, who won top goal scorer thrice in the ISL history, we hope he continues the same excellent performance he has delivered his entire career. Rohit Danu will be a very important player for Hyderabad FC this season. I believe he is a very smart player and he will prove to be an important player for the Indian team as well. As a piece of advice to all the players, football is the game of mistakes, you must accept your mistakes, improve and continue playing in every situation. A mentally strong player who does not let the mistakes affect the game and performance will thrive and end up in top positions.

Hyderabad FC’s Striker and Defender duo, Bartholomew Ogbeche and Chinglensana Singh Konsham were also there to discuss the team’s chances in the upcoming ISL season. Here is what Chinglensana had to say…

On the new challenges…

It’s a very exciting session ahead. Last season was very good, we played good football and it was very entertaining from our fans’ perspective. This year, the new additions to the team fit very well in the squad. They were chosen very carefully by the management to fill the gaps in the team. The new players have made the team stronger and we look forward to getting good results. Last year we were a surprise package as the team majorly consisted of Indian players. This year, there are going to be a lot of expectations from us but I do not want to put any pressure on us. We just want to enjoy the sport and try to give our best performance. We have more experience and a better strategy in place as compared to last season.

On missing the fans…

 We miss the fans in the stadium, sometimes when we get tired or some disappointing moments during the game their cheering keeps us going. It is something missing from stadiums for the last two years but considering the reason behind it, we can’t complain about it. In their absence, the staff and other team members present at the stadium can cheer and support us to keep us giving our best. We have been connecting with them over social media platforms, their support has always made us stronger. We look forward to another great season together.

Bart Ogbeche:

On joining Hyderabad FC…

When I look back, I think it was a good decision, really savvy one to come to ISL.  And I’m thankful to have been able to take that decision. Manolo’s role for me to join HFC too was crucial. A few teammates who played under Monolo before also told me good things about him as a person. I think we have a strong squad with many promising youngsters. The team has been together for two months now in the preseason. Consistency is going to be something that we’ll have to really underline and that’s what’s tends to be the flow of young players. One of the youngest players I am really impressed is Mark Zothanpuia who has really been very impressive.

Message for the fans…

We love the support and prayers from our fans. Rest assured we will put in our best efforts in taking Hyderabad to a place that it deserves in the ISL. We’re really optimistic about this season, we’re upbeat about what our results are going to be. Though we too miss their physical presence in the stadium we are hopeful we’ll be able to put it put a big smile on their face at the end of the season. As a team we want to make it to the playoffs. That’s the dream. And that’s the goal. And that’s something that we as a team are looking forward to.

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