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7 Games in 21 days: Gokulam Kerala boss cites fatigue after AFC Cup 2022 exit

Bashundhara Kings beat I-League champions Gokulam Kerala 2-1 to pull ahead in Group D of the AFC Cup 2022. In the post-match conference, the Kerala boss cites fatigue as the reason for not being up to the mark.

Gokulam Kerala FC were handed a 1-2 defeat by Bashundhara Kings in AFC Cup 2022 (Source: Gokulam Kerala/Twitter)

Gokulam Kerala FC were handed a 1-2 defeat by Bashundhara Kings in AFC Cup 2022 (Source: Gokulam Kerala/Twitter)


Triyasha Chatterjee

Updated: 2022-05-24T19:39:17+05:30

Gokulam Kerala FC head coach, Vincenzo Alberto Annese reiterated that their side was drained of energy playing the tightly made fixture following their exit from the group stages of AFC Cup 2022. Playing their last must-win fixture in the group stages of the tournament against Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings, the Malabarians lose 1-2 on Tuesday at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Salt Lake, Kolkata.

In the post-match press conference, Annese said, "We played 7 games in 21 days. We lost our energy and maybe, we would have performed differently if we had more time between the tournament." The Gokulam Kerala side began their campaign at the AFC Cup 2022 within just four days of playing their final match in the I-League against Mohammedan SC where they were crowned the defending champions.

Despite starting their AFC Cup campaign on a high, with a 4-2 win over ISL giants ATK Mohun Bagan, their dream ended in the second match of the tournament where they conceded a 0-1 loss against Maziya on May 21. They went on to play their third match today, where the players looked weary and fatigued. One of the key players for the Malabarians, Luka Majcen looked surprisingly out of touch in today's game.

"Luka could have done better but he is sustaining an injury and I forced him to play," said Annese.

The gaffer, however, pointed out that he was otherwise happy with the way Gokulam Kerala have performed in the last few months. Boasting about his players, the Italian retorted, "Many of my players will go to play ISL after May 31. And I am proud that Gokulam Kerala could give so many players into a different budget. My team have mostly come from reserve teams, I am so happy that they competed against such big players from India."

He also added that he would recommend two of the players from his team for a chance in the national set-up to. "I suggest Stimac to take Emil and Rishad. I hope Stimac watched them. They can be the future of the national team," said Annese.

When asked if he wishes to continue to hold his position as the coach of the side, Annese concludes, "Honestly I need motivation. If there is a good project I might consider, I need to speak to the President if I get freedom. I need new challenges, and maybe, it could be the ISL."

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