“Where there is a will, there is a way” goes an early nineteenth century saying. The story of NorthEast United FC’s midseason report voices a similar tale. After hitting the rock bottom last season, none would’ve batted an eye on the Highlanders’ chances in the Top 4 of the Points Table going into the Winter Break. However, the club’s determination, zeal and perseverance to improve, to prove their critics wrong finally seems to have bore fruit. Coach Eelco Schattorie’s farsightedness combining with his backroom staff’s dedication has triggered NorthEast United to their best ever start to an Indian Super League campaign.
The players have been well accustomed with their roles in the team, their strengths as well as weaknesses and ultimately, they have managed to strike the perfect balance on the field. Nigerian striker and skipper Bartholomew Ogbeche has already announced himself as one of the contenders for the Golden Boot this season. Likewise, Uruguayan import Federico Gallego is already a crowd favorite in Guwahati and the whole of NorthEast. On top of it, local lads in Redeem Tlang and Lalthathanga Khawlhring (Puitea) have impressed the coach by and large.
Matches Played: 12
Goals For: 16
Goals Against: 14
Goal Difference: 2
The team has displayed a real sense of fearless attitude this season, dominating possessions and creating chances on a constant basis. It seems there is no falling back or any room to hide behind their own back in Schattorie’s coaching manuals. The only way ahead was to dominate proceedings and press higher up the pitch irrespective of who the opponent, and the lads have done exactly the same. There have been occasions when the team has turned the tables after initially trailing behind in games.
Starting right from the players’ recruitment to the season so far, the coach has done a commendable job in all his capacity to renovate a side that had lost its way until last season. It seems the lads in the team have been well versed with his philosophies till now. That is certainly evident from the performance on the pitch this season, to say the least. The Dutch tactician has managed to garner attention for changing the course of NEUFC’s fate and is a crowd favorite in NorthEast. Not to mention, he has been ably assisted by Australian coach Shaun Ontong and the rest of the backroom staff.
In a nutshell, the performance has been top notch, and fans would hope they can continue their fantastic run in the remainder of the season, thereby sealing a spot in the Play offs for the first time ever.
-By Manas P. Kashyap