Churchill aim for a positive beginning

Having been handed a chance to play in the tournament after Dempo’s pull-out, Churchill Brothers will take on Hong Kong champions Kitchee Sports Club in their opening match of the AFC Cup campaign here on Tuesday.

Churchill have been boosted by the recent signings of Indian captain Sunil Chhetri, Afghanistan striker Balal Arezou and former Pune FC player Lamine Tamba ahead of their campaign.

The Goans have also been allowed to have the services of two other India players — Sandip Nandy, Denzil Franco and Lenny Rodrigues. The trio and Chhetri has been allowed by the AIFF to join the national squad, which would be in Yangon (Myanmar) for AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers, scheduled after the AFC Cup match.

Churchill have not been in the best of form in the I-League, failing to win a match in their last three outings though they are in the second position in the league standings. They had lost to Goan rivals Sporting Clube de Goa and drawn with Prayag United and Mumbai FC.

But, with the three latest signings aimed at boosting both their defence and attack, Churchill would look to begin their campaign with a win in Group E and improve upon their performance in 2010 when they lost in the Round of 16 after finishing second in the group stage.

Kitchee, the reigning Hong Kong league champions, have players from different countries, including China, Spain, Pakistan, South Korea and even New Zealand.
They have been one of the most successful and big-spending teams in Hong Kong.

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