Members from the ASEAN Cup-winning side of the Red and Gold came together to voice their support for the COVID-19 victims.
Despite best efforts to participate in the seventh edition of the Indian Super League, it looks increasingly likely with each passing day that East Bengal club’s hopes of taking part in the premier football league competition of India will have to wait another year at least.
Regardless of that disappointment, members of the 2003 ASEAN Cup-winning side assured their fans that their priority during these challenging times lies firmly in standing by those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With those intentions in mind, on the special occasion of their 17th anniversary of the ASEAN Cup triumph, Bhaichung Bhutia and other members of that team wrote to East Bengal general secretary Kalyan Majumdar. The ex-players quoted in unison, “Unfortunately sports has been affected the most by this deadly virus. The entire world is suffering because of the COVID-19.”
“We wish to stand heartily with the people who are suffering due to the deadly virus. In this condition we think, playing in ISL is not our primary issue but our main motto is to stand by the millions of suffering people,” they said according to a PTI report. “Our motto is ‘With the people, next to the people’ and we promise to be with you all …. Joy East Bengal!!!”
Furthermore, the players revealed that the club is on the lookout for good investors and they are working towards building a formidable side that can hold up against any opponent. On 26 July, 2003, the Red and Gold had defeated Thai outfit BEC Tero Sasana in the final to lift the ASEAN Cup trophy.
Besides, the ex-team members congratulated the Kolkata giants on completing 100 years. They remarked, “From the beginning, East Bengal Club has held its flame with Glory and Pride and it has continued in all the ten decades with tremendous success and the support of its millions of supporters worldwide.”
Additionally, during a meeting with the ISL clubs, Football Sports Development Limited, the organizers made it known that only 10 teams will be involved in the 2020-21 season and the games will mostly be held behind closed doors in a single state, which will be either in Goa or in Kerala.