Churchill Brothers Sports Club will be oozing with confidence to defend their I-League crown. Sukhwinder Singh will have big boots to fill in of Subhash Bhowmick who turned an average looking side into a formidable force last season. Subhash Bhowmick with his shrewd tactics and with some smart signings on key position helped the Red Machines to win the title against all the odds. After winning the title he was handed a contract but he refused to accept it. Churchill Brothers did not take waste much time in appointing Sukhwinder Singh as their new technical director. The Punjabi will be feeling the pressure of defending the title but with his vast experience he is expected to do a good job with the team. The new season has brought in some new faces in the team and the club will hope to repeat their last year performance.

Squad Analysis

Goalkeeper: Arindam Bhattacharya, Lalit Thapa, Presley Mascarenhas

Arindam Bhattacharya

For Arindam Bhattacharya this will be his second stint with the Churchill Brothers. The 6 feet 2inch Goalkeeper performed brilliantly in his first stint with the club before moving to Mohun Bagan. The 24 year old custodian had a forgetful season with Mohun Bagan. Arindam will be straightforward replacement of Sandip Nandy who joined Mohun Bagan after a successful stint with Churchill Brothers.

Lalit Thapa has been with Churchill Brothers for quite some time now. The 28 year old did not make a significant impact which could cement his place in starting XI. The custodian had made a few starts in the Goa Pro League but looks unlikely to get into starting XI in I-League unless Arindam Bhattacharya gets injured.

Presley Mascarenhas is one of the new breed of Indian players who are physically strong. The youngster is product of Salgaocar FC youth system. Presley made a good decision to move to the Churchill Brothers. He would have found it difficult to get much needed playing time at Salgaocar FC where he was 4th choice Goalkeeper.

Defence: Euripedes Amoreirinha, Denzil Franco, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Yumnam Raju, Dannies Fernandes, Lionel Rodrigues, Gurpreet Singh, Sudhakaran Kumar,Charles Fernandes, Willian Colaco

Eurípedes Amoreirinha

Eurípedes Amoreirinha

Churchill Brothers Sports Club with the addition of 29 year old former Portuguese junior International Euripedes Amoreirinha have already made a strong statement. Former Benfica stopper back has huge experience of playing in the top division in Portuguese league and has already adjusted to the Indian conditions . His inclusion is indeed a huge boost for Churchill Brothers defense.

Denzil Franco and Dharmaraj Ravanan were two main backbones of the team last season. Both the player’s contribution was top notch in winning I-League. The Red Machines will be rock solid in defense in the presence of the two players. Yumnam Raju has earned fame of being one of the dangerous wing back in the country and the  left-back will make important contribution going upfront as well as well as in defense.

Midfield: Mickey Fernandes, Sanjay Balmuchu, Tirthkar Sarkar, Amandeep Singh, Hugo Machedo, Anthony Barbosa, Lenny Rodrigues, Bikramjit Singh, Ashly Fernandes, Richard Costa, Alesh Sawant

Hugo Machado

Hugo Machado

One of the key signings this season not only in Churchill Brothers but also in I-League is Hugo Machedo. The former Sporting Lisbon player is the straight forward replacement of Beto. The Midfielder has immense experience of playing in various leagues around the world. The Portuguese already proved in a handful of games he played in a Goa League that he is one the player to watch out this season.

Churchill Brothers have made some smart signings this season in midfield. Addition of Mickey Fernandes and Anthony Barbosa has made the midfield look very strong. Lenny Rodrigues’ presence in midfield adds steel to the midfield and the Indian international is expected to link up with Hugo Machedo in the heart of Churchill midfield. The hardworking lanky midfielder has been  criticized for his lacklustre performance at International level and he would look to prove a point by giving a solid performance.

Highly rated Brasil Football Academy product Alesh Sawant has been drafted in the senior team. The teenager is touted is the next big thing in Indian football. Having played in all the matches of the Goa Pro League he expected to start in I-League. The Attacking winger is gifted with excellent pace. The youngster is known for his dangerous free kicks as well. Bikramjit Singh had a good debut season with Churchill and will look to carry his impressive form this season as well.

Forwards: Henri Antchouet, Balwant Singh, Jaison Vales, Bineesh Balan, Biswajit Biswas

Henri Antchouet will be the key figure in the strike force of Churchill Brothers. The Gabonese International will be well aware about expectation of fans and if the striker keeps going the way he is, then it will be difficult for rival defenders to stop him. Bineesh Balan has made a steady rise to the stardom. The short but effective striker has now and then proved himself more than handy. The striker is in great form from last season and will look to continue his good work. The likes of Balwant Singh, Jaison Vales and Biswajit Biswas are expected to be used primarily in the Goa League matches and may also get a look in the I-League matches if they perfrom well.

Expectation

Churchill Brother have had a storming start to the season in Goa Pro League. The Red Machines are on top of the table without losing a single match. Churchill Brothers have experienced players who can deliver the goods and under Coach Mariano Dias and Technical Director Sukhwinder Singh the Red Machines will be a tough nut to crack. If the players Perform to their potential then they will not find any difficult to retain the I-League title. The Red Machines will be seen in action at the continental level as well when they compete in the AFC Cup and the squad will look to improve on their showing from the last edition where they finished at the bottom of their group. With the squad at their disposal, they will fancy moving in to the Round of 16

I-League – Top 3 Finish

Federation Cup – Winners

Goa Pro League – Top 3 Finish

AFC Cup – Round of 16