The Mariners will be in contention to regain the title they won in 2014…
Among the difficult times of Kolkata football, Mohun Bagan A.C. have gone to claim the ultimate glory for Kolkata in the recent past. Though the glory of winning the league was awarded to the newcomers Bengaluru FC in the previous I-League season, Mohun Bagan look all set to reclaim the trophy in the upcoming campaign, starting from next week. Here are 5 reasons why Bagan can regain the I-League title next season.:
Jeje Lalpekhlua: The 25 year-old Mizo forward began his year brightly in 2016 by winning the SAFF Championship title with a goal in the Final. Now with a new season beginning, Lalpekhlua’s compact performances throughout the last campaign have been a positive point for the Mariners. The forward scored five and assisted one for the Maniers in all vcompetitions. With a more tactical approach this season, he will have an even more pivotal role to play.
Sanjoy Sen: The tactical excellence of the head coach Sanjoy Sen has not gone unnoticed by the football fanatics in India. The mid-season appointee coach won the League trophy for the Mariners in 2014, for the first time in 13 years. Since then, the 56-years-old coach has been grooming the talents of the club academy and the results of which were seen throughout last season. However, with smart recruiting this season, Sen can bring the glory back to the club.
Fixtures: The Kolkata giants will begin their I-League 2017 campaign against Churchill Brothers on 8th January. After that, the Mariners will play against Shillong Lajong, Minerva Punjab, Chennai City and DSK Shivajians before facing the defending champions Bengaluru FC on 31st January and East Bengal on 11th February. This comparatively easy fixture list will help them pick up momentum for the lomg season.
In-form Foreigners: Mohun Bagan have registered Eduardo Ferreira, Sony Norde, Katsumi Yusa and Darryl Duffy as the four foreign players of the team. Of which, Ferreira has shown his manner of excellence in the recently concluded Ibdian Super League Season where he made 11 appearances. His ability on the ball and the eye for goal on set-pieces will make him a formidable partner for Pritam Kotal in the backline of Mohun Bagan. Sony Norde and Katsumi both bring the much-needed versatility to the team with the added bonus of scoring goals and passing ability. With the addition of Darryl Duffy, the Mohun Bagan forward line has a formidable look to it. The trio of Norde, Katsumi and Duffy scored 21 goals between them in 2016, numbers which are likely to get even better in the next season with the tactical excellence of Sanjoy Sen.
Excellent mixture of experience and youth: The grooming process has brought several youngsters into light for Mohun Bagan as the likes of Prabir Das, Pranay Halder and Shouvik Ghosh have excelled in their positions whenever called upon. All being academy products of Pailan Arrows, the trio was groomed under the guidance of Sen and is set to be an integral part of the squad this year.
Photo Courtesy: I-League Media
Report by Khel Now’s Kplkata correspondent Sourav Dey Neogi.