Kolkata: He may not be a part of the club anymore, but former East Bengal star Mehtab Hossain feels that he was playing for the team in the final match of the Calcutta Football League against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan. His love for the club remains the same.
In an exclusive chat with Sports crunch on the sidelines of an event, he said, “It was a great result, eight CFL titles in consecutive years. Congratulations to the players, the staffs and the club for bringing back the smile in the fans’ faces. It’s an amazing feeling.”
“I may have left the club, but my heart lies here. It felt like I was playing again for the Red and Gold jersy and winning matches for them. Wish I was there,” he added recollecting his memories of those good days with the club.
East Bengal put up a hard fought 2-2 draw against Mohun Bagan at the Kanchenjunga stadium on Sunday to win the CFL title for a record eight time.
Mehtab, who himself has participated in many CFL battles also said that it was a great final match between the two Kolkata arch-rivals. But he is happy that East Bengal got the desired result.
East Bengal were among the hot favorites to win the I-League last season, but under-dogs Aizwal FC came in between and Mehtab who had promised to leave the club, if it failed to win the I-League in 2016, parted ways and will now feature in the ISL.
“I feel gutted, but I had committed to leave if we do not win and stayed true to my words. I know it’s sad but I chose to leave,” lamented Mehtab.
Almost everyone in the East Bengal camp from Subhash Bhowmick to Syed Nayeemuddin have tipped new coach Khalid Jamil to lead East Bengal to I-League glory this season after 15 long years. Former I-LEAGE star Mehtab Hussain echoed the same words as he said, “A I-LEAGUE title victory now will clam down all the agony and despair of the previous seasons.”
The 32-year-old is set to play for newly formed ISL franchise Jamshedpur FC and Mehtab warned other teams of them taking them lightly.
“Yes, it’s a new team but we have an experienced coach in Steve Coppell and many players who have played in the ISL before. It would be hard but we will give our best,” concluded the midfielder.