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Title Seeking Delhi Dynamos Ready to Take ISL by Storm

The Miguel Angel Portugal coached Delhi Dynamos squad have had an extensive preseason where they travelled to Spain and Qatar alongside playing friendlies against the likes of Delhi United FC, Real Kashmir FC.

Abhimanyu Sen | News18 Sports

Updated:November 8, 2017, 11:56 AM IST
Title Seeking Delhi Dynamos Ready to Take ISL by Storm
File image of former Miguel Angel Portugal (News18 Sports)
New Delhi: The national capital choked as they went about their day on November 7, and the city’s franchise side in the Indian Super League – Delhi Dynamos were forced to cut short their practice session at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Some of the squad members, mainly the foreign contingent wore face masks during the evening session.

“Most of the Indian players have managed to get used to the conditions. But our teammates from abroad are not liking the pollution, to be honest it is my first time for an extended period and New Delhi and this not nice,” says ‘keeper Albino Gomes.

Some months ago, he was in a completely different world altogether in Aizawl, where not only is it green and picturesque, but also far healthier for the lungs.

“Hopefully this will reduce soon, because the more it is like this we will be rather uncomfortable.”

The Miguel Angel Portugal coached squad have had an extensive preseason, where they travelled to Spain and Qatar alongside playing friendlies against the likes of Delhi United FC, Real Kashmir FC. Along the way they admittedly improved on finding each other on the field.

“Our team’s biggest strength lies in the midfield and going forward. Matias Mirabaje is a very good passer and always has time on the ball,” says Albino, who thanks to his position has the best view of all the players’ positions on the field.

Delhi Dynamos have played 8 games and will complete their preseason with matches against the Indian Air Force team and Minerva FC before they play their first game against FC Pune City on November 22.

“Our playing style is a little different from the previous three seasons, we want to play with the ball and then we have our plans of how to catch the opponent by surprise,” says Shakti Chauhan, the assistant coach of the team since its inception.

“All the teams are pretty balanced through and through in this season of the tournament. Only after the first legs of the games are over, it will be easier to assess the teams,” Chauhan adds.

The fourth season of the ISL begins on November 17 in Kochi and the ten teams will battle it out right up until March next year. Apart from the increase in the number of teams involved, the number of days blocked on the calendar due to the tournament has almost doubled; a move that has been welcomed by most of the players.

Gomes, who previously played for Mumbai City FC reasons that this will give players like him more time to recover after games, which in turn will help them stay fitter through the season.

Shakti Chauhan adds, “The longer the team is together, the better they will bond on and off the field. It is very important in the process of playing well.”

The veteran coach who himself is also wearing a mask and does not want to breathe the polluted air recollects, that their preseason has been almost as long as any of the previous editions of the competition; something he claims has helped the boys gel well and the effect is visible in their game.

The Delhi Dynamos have twice made it to the semi-finals out of the first three seasons, with 2016 — under the Italian World Cup winner Gianlucca Zambrotta — being their best finish.

The new owners are ambitious and made it clear to their 61 year old Spanish head coach during his first press conference in the country, that nothing less than a title will be acceptable.

The former Real Madrid man would not be too unaccustomed to philosophies of the kind. His team is as eager to bring home the cup, but neither Albino nor Shakti speak along the lines of the summit clash.

“We will have become more organized since the initial days of our preseason. We play our first game in Pune and we will begin with bang. But our first target is the semi-final stages,” signs off Albino who knows a thing or two about winning a close title race with a young squad.
| Edited by: Baidurjo Bhose
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