Srinagar, January 9: Following last years debacle, which resulted in a lot of social media criticism of Minerva Punjab FC, the team is back in Kashmir this season with a new name and character. The team, now called Apollo Punjab FC has arrived here and is practicing in the sub-zero temperature for the much-awaited encounter with hosts Real Kashmir FC (RKFC), which is to take place on January 10 at the TRC Turf Ground.
Speaking on the eve of the match, RKFC head coach David Robertson said: "Punjab is always a tough team to play against. We know it will be a tough encounter but we are looking forward to it. If we play and work as hard as we have, we can win the game. I-League is very competitive and there is no easy game and every team is capable of beating each other so there will be a lot of twists and turns as we move on." I-League 2019–20: Real Kashmir FC Aim 3 Points Against Bottom-Placed TRAU FC.
Punjab FC is yet to hit upon consistency and Punjab coach Yan Law would hope their team will begin that quest from Friday. "Kashmir is one of the strongest teams at home. The weather, the artificial turf, the size of the pitch, and the fans are all in favour of Real Kashmir. It's very difficult to get points off them for any travelling team. But the boys have worked hard and are ready to get the points we missed from the last game. Let's hope for the best," Law expressed.
Friday's match would be played in extremely cold conditions and on an artificial turf. The minimum temperature expected in Srinagar on match day is projected to dip below the zero-degree Celsius mark. Last season the team from Punjab refused to travel to Srinagar for their match against Real Kashmir, following the Pulwama terror attack.