KOLKATA: 11 teams are set to face off in the high-voltage season of the I-League as the action kicks off on January 9. Despite the latest edition being played in a revised format in a bio-secure bubble, Gokulam Kerala FC's newly-appointed head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese feels that the 'competitive' nature of the tournament and its teams will remain intact and any side can defeat any other team in the league on its day.
"I have watched all the matches of the I-League in the last 2-3 seasons. Each team is capable of beating any other team in the league and all the teams are highly competitive. A lot of the teams are good and we respect everyone but we are focused on our preparation. We have been training hard and are improving each day, and hope to do well in the tournament," the Italian stated in a virtual media interaction on Thursday.
Echoing his coach's words and sentiments was veteran defender Deepak Devrani, who signed for the Kerala side ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, and stressed on the importance of each team proving itself on the field in order to end up as champions.
"In the last few years, the I-League has been won by so many different teams and one cannot predict who will win this time around as well. This league can never be easy and we cannot think that we are good on paper and can win. We have to prove ourselves on the field. I have only one aim -- to win the league," Devrani said.
With the upcoming season due to be played in empty stadiums without any fans, head coach Annese hailed the Gokulam Kerala supporters and expressed his delight at the club having such a passionate fan base.
Gokulam Kerala FC face off against neighbours Chennai City FC in their opening clash of the new season on January 9 in Kalyani.