Sarangi speaks of Odisha’s semi-final ambitions ahead of opener

Odisha FC begin their 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) campaign with a face-off against Hyderabad FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday, and ahead of the game defender Shubham Sarangi said the team was targeting a semi-final berth this season having finished sixth in 2019-20 with seven wins in 18 games in what was also their debut campaign.   

“…We have a very good foreign contingent this season. I feel right from the backline to the attack, the squad is really good and balanced. Last season we had missed out on the semi-finals narrowly. The main target of the team this season is to be in the semi-finals. Individually my target is to provide as many assists as possible and create chances,” Sarangi, who featured in 17 encounters for Odisha FC last season, told goal.com

In Stuart Baxter, Odisha FC have a very experience head coach this season. With more than 25 years in management across three continents at the club and international level, Baxter brings an abundance of experience to the table. Sarangi praised Baxter unequivocally and said the team will be heavily benefited by his arrival this season.

“He is a great coach. He has managed so many teams, has experience of working in South Africa and Japan. He has vast experience and as a player, you look forward to getting coached by such a personality.

“Since day one of training, we have been listening to every single instruction of his. Even when we were at our homes, he used to stay in touch with every player and conduct tactical classes. He has been wonderful and each and every player has the urge to prove themselves under him,” he said.

Ahead of the season, the 20-year-old agreed to a three-year contract extension, and Sarangi brought to light as to what fuelled his decision. “Being a local player and getting the opportunity to represent your state at any level is great. It gives you that extra motivation. It makes you feel attached to the place and the people. The people in Odisha are extremely passionate about the game. The extra love and motivation of Odisha fans made me commit my future to the club,” he said.  

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