Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto is optimistic that his team will stage a promising performance when they take on Punjab FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

Singto’s young Indian players have been displaying their grit and determination on the pitch despite being the only side that remained winless in the ISL 2023–24 season. With only four draws in 16 matches, they are placed at the bottom of the points table. Notably, one of their four draws came against the Shers on November 7, 2023, in the earlier outing between the two teams.

Singto appreciated his opponent’s offensive prowess, illustrated by their foreign campaigners in the forms of Wilmar Jordan Gil, Madih Talal, Luka Majcen, and Juan Mera. He urged his players to stay on their feet throughout the 90 minutes and keep themselves focused on the game.

“Punjab FC have given a good account of themselves in the ISL. With their foreigners upfront (Wilmar Jordan Gil, Madih Talal, and Luka Majcen), they can easily compete in ISL, and they have already shown it. They have one very skilled player in the form of Juan Mera, who may come in or start. So, we have to be on our toes and on our guard,” he said in the pre-match press conference.

From Mark Zothanpuia to Abdul Rabeeh AK, Alex Saji to Ramhlunchhunga, many young players are getting valuable time under their belt in the ISL for Hyderabad FC. The Indian head coach wanted to keep his players fresher ahead of their next home game while going through a busy schedule.

“A few new players who have come in in the last couple of games have changed their approach and have begun to understand the team better. I hope they feel fresher so that they can give the same intensity and energy on the pitch that they have been showing in all the matches,” he asserted.

Hyderabad FC have found it difficult to perform according to the standards the team have set in recent years. Significantly, they had gone through six straight games without netting a goal in the ISL, a streak which was finally ended by Ramhlunchhunga’s first ISL goal, which came against Bengaluru FC in their last away match.

“We scored a goal after a long time; we had created chances, but now that we scored, it is a positive sign,” he stated.

“It has not been that easy for us to score goals. Our one senior Indian player, Aaren D Silva, who was supposed to be the main player at this time, got injured. Young boys like Joseph Sunny have come up and are doing better than expected. Getting goals against top opponent centre-backs is not easy. We did well against Bengaluru FC, and the boys have the hunger and the desire to do well (against Punjab FC),” he explained.

Captain, midfielder Joao Victor, and defender Alex Saji, who received a match suspension after conceding double yellow cards against East Bengal FC, will feature in the matchday squad against Punjab FC. Singto is delighted to get back the services of these two players for their forthcoming home game.

“I think it’ll help us have a balanced squad. Most of the young players have been playing for all 90 minutes, which is not easy. We are happy to welcome back Joao Victor and Alex,” he opined.

“But it’s good to see how the players have actually stepped up and proved why they need to be a part of the starting 11. We get stronger tomorrow, for sure,” he signed off.

We want to prove ourselves: Ramhlunchhunga

 

22-year-old forward Ramhlunchhunga accompanied his head coach in the press conference ahead of their next game against the Shers. Significantly, he scored his first ISL goal against the Blues in their last match in Bengaluru. Speaking in context, he said,

“I'm so happy (to score my first ISL goal) and feeling good. I missed so many chances. I kept trying to score, and finally, I did. I'm so happy.”

Speaking about their young squad and their objectives before the game, Ramhlunchhunga shared

“We want to prove ourselves, so we give everything in every game. Our squad is young, hungry, and has the energy. We want to win, so we will give our everything, again,” he concluded.