Ahead of the second game against SC East Bengal in the ongoing eighth season of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), Odisha FC Head Coach Kiko Ramirez and one of the three captains Vinit Rai attended the pre-match press conference virtually from the team hotel in Goa. The team is high on confidence after the result in the first game against Bengaluru FC and is looking forward to a good show in the next match tomorrow.
“The strategy is to keep being competitive. At the end, we cannot live in the last game, that was good. We need to live in the present and think for the future. Our thought is to compete in the best way possible next match,” Head Coach Kiko Ramirez stated during the press conference.
When asked about Javi Hernandez’s form in the previous game, the Spanish coach explained, “Javi, off-course, has been in a good shape and he scored two goals. But, without his teammates, he will not be able to perform that well. We need to think that football is all about teamwork. Javi is okay but without rest of the teammates he cannot achieve these goals.”
SC East Bengal had lost against ATK Mohun Bagan in their last game while they had started the League with a draw against Jamshedpur FC. As they are searching for a win, the 51-year-old Coach thinks that this will make the match really a tough one. “It is a wounded team. They lost the last game and will come with a target to win and it makes the match really tough and difficult,” he asserted.
When asked about his experience being at the sidelines of a professional game in India, Coach Kiko replied, “I am happy at the end. It’s another country but I am enjoying the competition.”
All the six foreigners made their maiden appearance for Odisha FC and got game time in the last game. Aridai Cabrera, who came in as a substitute in the second half, got his maiden Hero ISL goal in the injury time as well. Speaking about rotating the players, Coach Kiko commented, “We want to keep all the players motivated. We know that all the players – foreigners and Indians – are important because the competition is too short. All of them are going to be important for the team. The work of the staff is difficult in making sure that they go in and out off the bench and are motivated. Almost everyone is available. Kamaljit only suffered a hit so we will decide if he plays or not but everybody is available.”
One of the three captains of the season Vinit Rai was the captain of the side when Odisha FC had beaten SCEB in their last game last season. However, he doesn’t want to talk much about that this time around. This is a new challenge for all the players and Vinit wants to give his best to ensure that OFC has positive results in the ongoing tournament.
“It was a past for us. We won that game but now we have to look ahead for the remaining matches in the new season. It’s nothing special. It’s about putting the effort on the pitch, giving your all and following the coach’s instructions whatever he says to do us. Let’s see what result we will get tomorrow,” expressed Vinit.
“As I have said many times, there are no individual goals for me this season, most importantly. I just want to fully dedicate myself to the team because I think this is a very important season for each and everyone of us. The last one, we had a very bad season but this season we started with a win. I think that everyone is very happy and all are in a positive mindset. This season is gonna be big for everyone of us.”
“I just want to thank the Coach and all the players for showing this kind of trust and giving me such a responsibility. It is something that gives you extra confidence on the pitch but on the pitch, everyone is a captain. It’s not only about only one captain. Everyone is in a position where they have to lead themselves to play well in each and every game. For me, it’s normal. I have to give my best and try to win every game,” the India international concluded.