The Red and Gold have brought in some of the more experienced players from the Premier League as well as the Championship.
Though things started a bit late for SC East Bengal in the transfer market, the Kolkata giants made intelligent and fair moves ahead of their debut season in the Indian Super League (ISL). With Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler leading the think tank, the Red and Gold have roped in foreigners with more experience playing in the Premier League and the Championship.
The club has signed six overseas players so far with an average age of 30. As things fell in place for East Bengal at the eleventh hour, the management has utilized the Englishman’s global hold quite well to shape up a fresh yet competent foreign contingent ahead of the new season. In this part of the series, Khel Now takes a close look at SC East Bengal’s foreign players.
The 34-year-old British defender is the oldest foreigner in the Red and Gold squad and comes with vast experience from the English lower tiers. The Everton graduate spent the majority of his career playing for Walsall in the English fourth-tier. Naturally, a full-back, Fox can also play as a stopper which will surely add options for Fowler deep in his defence. With East Bengal expected to go for a three-man defence, Fox might establish himself a regular starter for the Kolkata giants.
Neville is the second player to follow the footsteps of Fowler to East Bengal as he joined on a loan deal from Brisbane Roar. ISL is the first overseas exposure for the 31-year-old defender. The Perth Glory graduate spent a major part of his career for Australian top tier sides like Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets and Western Wanderers before joining Roar last season. Though a full-back, Neville has majorly played as a centre-bacl under Fowler and is expected to be the key man in the SC East Bengal defence.
The 33-year-old Irish winger is arguably one of the best transfer moves by ISL debutants SC East Bengal this season. Pilkington spent a significant part of his career at Cardiff City in the Championship and is well acclaimed for his flashy moves along the flank. The right winger is speculated to be the wild card of East Bengal. The Manchester United graduate played for Wigan Athletic last season and is the first-choice winger in the team.
The 25-year-old defensive midfielder hailing from Germany was a regular on the Wellington Phoenix team sheet, having made 24 appearances last season. The Hamburger SV academy graduate comes with an experience of playing in the Bundesliga and is expected to add solidity to the Red and Gold’s defence. The 6″2′ former Germany U-19 international possesses great ball control along with good distribution. He’s also known for his excellent work-rate. Matti Steinman is, thus, expected to make his mark in the Indian top flight in the upcoming season, as he looks to showcase sheer dominance in the East Bengal midfield.
The 33-year-old DR Congo international is a powerful attacking midfielder and is arguably the best signing made by SC East Bengal. Known for possessing plenty of creativity and flair to his game, Jacques Maghoma can act as a workhorse for his side while adding that extra spark in attack with an eye for goal. A Tottenham Hotspur academy graduate, Jacques Maghoma spent a major part of his playing career at Birmingham City and remained an important part of the team before leaving earlier this year.
Maghoma scored 21 goals and provided 22 assists in 180 appearances for Birmingham City during his time. He also won the club’s Players’ Player of the Year award in the 2017-18 season, when he scored five goals and registered seven assists for them in the Championship. The tricky midfielder has the ability to glide past opponents but is also a fighter who works hard defensively. He has also made 25 appearances for DR Congo. Having played in the competitive environment of English football, Jacques Maghoma possesses the knowledge and experience needed to succeed in the ISL.
The 27-year-old striker played 23 matches last season but was able to find the net only once. Amadi-Holloway spent the major part of his career playing in the lower tiers of Europe before making a move to Brisbane Roar last campaign. Though he made a few starts for the club, he was consistent whenever given a chance. Moreover, Amadi-Holloway can also play as a centre-back and has proved his dual trades while playing for Wycombe Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town.
It seems head coach Robbie Fowler trusts the striker, as he is expected to lead the frontline for the Red and Gold. Incidentally, Aaron Amadi-Holloway is the second player from Brisbane Roar to make the move to SC East Bengal after Scott Neville joined the team on a loan move.