Gangtok, Nov 5 (UNI) A thrilling lineup of three-time champions Punjab Police, favourites Three Star Nepal, classy NRT Nepal and dark horses Nigerian Eagles is ready to set the stands on fire tomorrow at the 29th All India Governor's Gold Cup semi-finals at the Paljor Stadium.
The first potboiler will be between NRT Nepal and Nigerian Eagles.
The high-flying Nigerian team had reached the semifinals last year but lost to Army XI 2-1 in a high voltage clash. This time, the Eagles have come up with a different set of players and destroyed Sikkim Police 3-0 in their first match.
BJS, Bangladesh, also became a victim to the physical game of the Nigerian team in the quarterfinals. The fire power of the team in green has also been bolstered by the arrival of Eze, who is currently playing for Calcutta Port Trust.
''The Nigerian Eagles are a good team and will be a great match,'' said Yogumber Shuwal, NRT coach.
The foxy Nepal coach had led three different Nepal teams to championship victories in 1990, 1992 and 1996. If NRT overcomes the Nigerian challenge, it will be the fourth appearance of Shuwal in the final of the Governor's Gold Cup.
Not that NRT is devoid of fire power. Anil Gurung, the highest paid professional player in Nepal, has already endeared himself to the crowds with his performance. He had scored both the goals in the first match against JCT Academy.
NRT then sent Titanium Kerala crashing out of the tournament with a 1-0 victory in the quarters. The Nepal team depends on short passes and crosses to its tall strikers.
Meanwhile, Three Star Nepal will face a formidable challenge from the burly Punjab players in the second semifinal.
The Nepal team amply demonstrated its skills and techniques yesterday when they booted out Bhutan XI 4-0 with an allround display. It has fast wingers, creative midfielders and attacking strikersthat should test the Punjab defenders.
On the other hand, Punjab Police depend on high balls and powerful shots from long distances. Its back four has also ensured a clean sheet so far.
However, its striking prowess remains doubtful with the team managing to score only one goal in its first match against Assam State Electricity Board. Gurpeet Singh had scored the goal with a thunderous long distance shot.
Punjab Police then defeated Chittagaon Bangladesh and Mumbai United in penalties to enter the semis.