Meghalaya are chasing history in the final of the 76th edition of the National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy at the King Fahd International Stadium, here on Saturday.
The team from Northeast India will be going for its maiden national title and they are bound to suffer from nerves. However, coach Khlain Pyrkhat Syiemlieh says there is no added pressure and his boys will play freely in the final.
"As I had said before the semifinal, reaching this stage itself is like a win for us, So we keep on motivating the boys by telling them that 'you go there and enjoy the game. And win the match. That's what we keep telling them and motivating them," said the Meghalaya coach in the pre-match press conference here on Friday.
Khlain said Karnataka is a strong team but they do have weaknesses and Meghalaya will try and capitalise on those areas.
"Yeah, actually like what our Captain said that Karnataka is a very good team. They have very experienced players. Most of the players are playing in the Bangalore League which is one of the best leagues in India. But we have been analyzing very well. Yeah, maybe there's some department of their team that has some weaknesses. So, we will try to capitalise on their weakness," said the coach.
Meghalaya got some good news ahead of the final as their skipper Fullmoon Mukhim has been declared fit to play the final. Mukhim had missed the semifinal against Punjab due to a calf muscle problem.
"All the players are fit, even our Captain also. Tomorrow he'll start the match. So it's good to see that we are playing a full team tomorrow," said Khlain.
Just like Karnataka, Meghalaya too have conceded the first goal in most of their matches. Coach Khlain admitted that it is a matter of concern for his team.
"Yeah, we concede. Actually, seriously, like dealing with Punjab we conceded a Very silly goal. But that's also proof that our players are mature, mature enough (to come back).
See, during the first round we were playing with Orissa and we were down 2-1. If we had lost that match, we would not have qualified this year. Then again in the final round, we went down one goal with Bengal. We came back very strongly. And as you have seen in the semifinal too, we were down by one goal and we came back. So that proves that our players are mature enough to take on (Karnataka) in tomorrow's final," he said.
"We are a little bit concerned by this and we are working on it," he added.
Khlain said he has been told that a lot of arrangements have been made in Meghalaya, by private bodies and the government to screen the match on the big screen and they are looking forward to going all out in the final and winning the state's maiden Santosh Trophy title.
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