Last year’s experience will be helpful, says TRAU head coach Nandakumar

Manipur’s Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC head coach L Nandakumar Singh on December 18 said that have picked themselves up in the off-season and have their eyes on the task at hand as the I-League all set to begin.

They will play against Indian Arrows on December 26 in the opener.

TRAU and Gokulam Kerala faced each other in the final match of last season with the latter coming out on top to claim the I-League title.

“The experience from last season will help us despite an overhaul in the squad,” he said. “My job is to keep the players focused and make sure they perform well.”

After going through a squad overhaul, the TRAU head coach is not particularly concerned about the effect it could have on stability.

“The domestic players have been together for a while now but the foreign players who came late are still adjusting,” he observed. “(Captain) Helder Lobato has been helping with motivation as well, talking to the boys constantly.

One major signing was made in the attacking department where Uzbekistan’s Akobir Turaev has come in to replace last season’s Hero I-League Golden Boot winner Bidyashagar Singh.

“Akobir is very disciplined and can hold the ball up well. He is very unselfish for a striker, always looking to set up a teammate,” said Nandakumar Singh.

Goalkeeper Amrit Gope will be donning the No 1 jersey for TRAU this season having made that first team spot his own.

“I am ready. I have been working hard in pre-season and will give my best,” he said. “There is pressure being the No 1 keeper but that also means I can set an example in training.”

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