The opening week of the league saw many noteworthy performances.
The Calcutta Football League (CFL) kicked-off last week in quite a dramatic fashion, with the opening match between East Bengal and Tollygunge Agragami being called off due to poor pitch conditions. But, since the early hiccup, some exciting matches have taken place over the week in Kolkata and the league is shaping up to be quite competitive. There were some interesting revelations which took place in the first week of the CFL and here we’ll look at five talking points from the last gameweek.
5. Rainbow AC And Pathacharka will provide stiff competition at the top
All eyes in the CFL might be on the big guns of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting, but this season, even some of the relatively unknown sides are taking charge. Both Rainbow AC and Pathacharka have had decent starts to the season and despite losing their matches narrowly to Mohun Bagan, both sides looked to be well organized and have commendable ability defensively as well as going forward.
Rainbow and Pathacharka both won their other matches in commendable fashion and despite a hiccup against the Mariners, they will stride forward with confidence. The teams have the ability to cause upsets against the other big teams and will definitely vie for the top spots in the league this season.
4. Can East Bengal succeed in the CFL without a foreign striker?
East Bengal have had a bit of a topsy-turvy start to their CFL campaign and being under pressure to retain the title for the ninth consecutive season, they look a bit toothless in attack at times. It does not seem like Bali Gagandeep has yet immersed himself within the team and in both games, he strode into offside positions way too often. At times, the former Minerva attacker does not seem to be synchronized with the rest of the team and is a frustrating figure to watch because of his inability to position himself for goal-scoring chances.
The lacklustre display from Gagandeep is probably a wake-up call to East Bengal to sign a quality foreign striker soon. Dudu’s signing worked wonders for them last season and if they are to challenge for titles this campaign, the Red and Gold need a striker who can pump in as many goals for them.
3. Aryan Club Vs Mohammedan Sporting produced one of the stories of the season so far
Mohammedan Sporting‘s match against Aryan Club might have seemed like a walk in the park for them, but it turned intriguing soon enough because of it being deemed as a “Father Vs Son” battle on the sidelines. Mohammedan’s coach Raghu Nandi was facing off against his son Rajdeep, who was the coach of Aryan.
In the end, the student out-smarted the teacher to record a famous 1-0 victory for Aryan, who have so far proven to be a rock-solid team. The beautiful moment of Rajdeep breaking into tears after defeating his father was something which shows the bright side of the CFL and proved why it is considered among India’s elite competitions.
2. Can Mohun Bagan go all the way this season?
Mohun Bagan had to fight hard in order to get two important victories against Pathacharka and Rainbow AC in their first week of the CFL. Despite having flaws in their game, the determination and positive attitude shown by the Mariners will be a positive sign for their campaign. They have not won the CFL title in almost a decade, but a strong squad and a good mix of players means that this year could be theirs.
Bagan have a good mix of experience, pace and power in their team and the players have shown the knack of finding a way to win. It seems like Shankarlal Chakraborty has immersed the correct winning mentality in Bagan as the players look raring to win every game and bring home the CFL title after many years.
1. Is the CFL experiencing a European football hooliganism like environment?
Despite some exciting matches taking place in the first week, the CFL faced some real controversy during Mohun Bagan’s game against Rainbow AC on Sunday. In a game where Bagan trailed and failed to impress in the first half, the daughter of Rainbow coach Tarit Ghosh was reportedly heckled by Mohun Bagan fans. Her mistake was that she started clapping and celebrating Rainbow’s opening goal, which annoyed the Mariners’ fans who started taunting and heckling her for that.
While the culprits have not been recognized yet, this awful hooliganism shows a resemblance to that in Europe where the “ultras” are famous for being a menace for away fans. This harrowing incident also calls for better protection for away fans and with a proper lack of away stands in the grounds, these clubs need to make sure the little opponent’s fans can safely watch their teams play.