The thought of entering the field without two key players has left Aizawl FC coach, Khalid Jamil, worried ahead of the team’s final and decisive I-League game against Shillong Lajong FC.
A win or a draw against Lajong will be enough for Aizawl FC to claim the I-League, in only their second season, and Khalid didn’t deny it would be tough without Ashutosh Mehta and Alfred Jaryan, both of whom are suspended after receiving four yellow cards.
“It will be very tough without Alfred and Ashutosh. But we can’t just sit and think over their suspension. We have to find out how we’d overcome this. I trust my entire team,” Khalid said.
His players standing on the cusp of glory, Khalid is willing to soak in all the pressure himself.
“To accomplish something you have to lose something else and I have lost a lot till now,” Khalid said.
On being reminded of his counterpart Thangboi Singto’s remark that ‘Lajong won’t allow Aizawl FC to walk away with the title’, Khalid quipped, “Yeah, that’s football. Why will they allow us to run away with the title? We have to fight for every inch and we will.”
“Nobody spared a word for us at the starting. We have seen the league through thick and thin and finally, we’re down to here.”
The former national team midfielder added, “My players always play from their heart. They never shy away from doing something which they love. Aizawl players love playing football, they don’t alienate themselves from doing that.”
He stressed that “being the better team doesn’t matter”.
“We beat Mohun Bagan; we also beat East Bengal. But that doesn’t mean we are better than them. It just means that on that day we might have played better football than them. We churned out the result which was important for us.
“I never ever dreamed of this day. Boys are enjoying it right now. I don’t want to spoil their mood now but we still need one point. We can’t afford to leave it loose until we grab it.