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East Bengal show financial muscle, raid Aizawl FC and Churchill Brothers

Written by: Sourav Neogi

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The Kolkata giants have signed various key performers from Aizawl FC's title winning squad and Churchill's rejuvenating squad to give the Northeast and Goan clubs major jolts. . .

As suspected after the recently concluded season’s debacle, Kolkata giants East Bengal has secured the services of two Aizawl FC players. The signings of versatile fullback Lalramchullova and winger Brandon Vanlalremdika comes as welcome news for East Bengal fanatics. The century-old club also look to have roped in a Churchill Brothers player in Richard Costa. 

The Red and Golds are in the process of luring two other eminent footballers: Churchill Brothers' young winger Surabuddin Mollick and Aizawl FC's best player Mahmoud Al-Amna, who are believed to be very close to signing for the heritage club.

The Red and Gold brigade had lined up one of the best squads in the country on pen and paper last season. However, the East Bengal team was denied both the I-League and Federation Cup and were left in shambles. The unexpected and unprofessional departure of former coach Trevor Morgan left the fans in shock while the players underperformed on multiple occasions. They were finally exploited against Shillong Lajong, Churchill Brothers and their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan, to end their league campaign on a severe low.

While the signing of Lalramchullova and Brandon Vanlalremdika is supposed to bring the much-needed versatility, creativity, goal-scoring and defending ability to the squad, the East Bengal officials are once again opting for solving a problem with financial might rather than a better insight into their own academy. To begin with, the Kolkata giants had roped in David Lalrinmuana from the Mizo-side last season, who was left on the bench for the majority of the season despite an underperforming Narayan Das.

East Bengal is also believed to be in advanced talks with other Aizawl FC key players such as Ashutosh Mehta, Mahmoud Al-Amna and most importantly, Albino Gomes to replace TP Rehenesh under the bars.

Richard Costa is another player who seems to have already signed for the West Bengal giants after a good season with Churchill Brothers. The 25-year-old midfielder is believed to be the coaches’ choice for the much-needed creativity as well as physicality in the middle of the park but continues to be a gamble for a club of East Bengal's stature.

With the managerial instability amongst the Red and Gold Brigade, signing prospects with almost same or lesser statistics from the current lot makes us ask a huge question. The ongoing rumours of replacing almost 90% of the present East Bengal first team players might look like a charming and welcome offer to the fans, but the much-needed chemistry and the balance of durability now hangs in question and a huge one at that.

Last season, the Kolkata giants had bought Romeo Fernandes and Jackichand Singh, a well-known talent and a hard worker who's a National team coach favourite. Sadly, none got a place on the pitch as Mohd. Rafique and Nikhil Poojari usually slotted into the right-wing role. David Lalrinmuana, the captain of Aizawl FC last season, had terrific performances for the Reds but could not make it to the pitch as Robert and Das were chosen ahead of him. 

The team has also promoted a group of youngsters from their academy. Mehtab Singh, Rahul Ghosh, Yami Langva, Prakash Sarkar, Bidyasagar Singh, T Suranjit and Lalchanhima will make up the squad for the Calcutta Football league and these players will need to fight out for players against stars who have already played in India's premier league, some of them even winning it. 

This attitude must change, as it will give the talented youngsters enough time on the pitch to showcase their abilities and groom themselves well. The decisions, both in terms of the player and the club, must be made right and not to kill young Indian footballing resources. 

Published: Thu May 25, 2017 01:04 PM IST

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