If the NorthEast United FC team officials are to be believed, the philosophy of the team has not beenabout winning as much as building a team for the future.
The effort has been to bring together the best talents from the north-east region of Indian and help them grow in confidence and stature in a bid to build a competitive side in the years to come. Durga Boro and Seminlen Doungel are a few names that have stood out and will merit greater mention as days go by.
For now, head coach Ricki Herbert’s main worry is gettingthe goals; this, despite enough opportunities falling their way in the games so far. “We do not need screamers from long range,” he had said in the past, while ruing the fact that the team has struggled to convert simple chances. In fact,Herbert had to rely on Senegalese defender Massamba Lo Sambouto get two goals in their 3-0 win over Chennaiyin FC.
Massamba’s enterprise should make Herbertwork overtime; to perhaps rejig the side and hope they can pick up wins in their remaining two fixtures. Despite putting up match-winning performances, the fact is that the team has been too dependent on Koke time and again.
Lying sixth in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) standings, it will need a steely resolve here on for the team to make the semi-finals.The team has had a rollercoaster journey in the tournament; for instance the 3-0 rout of leaders Chennaiyin FC was followed by a 0-3 thrashing at the hands of FC Goa.
NorthEast United has gained in confidence since the start in what has been a competitive tournament so far. But it’s crunch time now as the last two games will decide which way their fortunes will swing, starting with a tough away fixture in Kochi where Kerala Blasters FC have lost just once.