Kolkata: Haunted by three draws and a loss at home in four consecutive matches that saw head coach Sanjoy Sen step down in unceremonious circumstances, Mohun Bagan will look for a new beginning when they take in defending champions Aizawl FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium on Sunday.
Much like their new coach Sankarlal Chakraborty who will also hope to revive his football career after failing miserably as a player. “My career (as a player) ended soon after it began,” he said.
Things are however bound to be different as he makes his second debut for Bagan after playing for them in the late 1900s and when asked how would he distinguish between the two, he said, “When I was 19- 20 years old, there was an exuberance that was present. I felt that if I punched a brick wall, it will crack; now if I think of doing the same, I feel my hand will break so that is the difference.”
But “If I didn’t take up this challenge now, I would perhaps never be ready for it,” added the former Bagan player aware that his first challenge will be to get the Mariners back to winning ways, something they haven’t achieved since that 5-0 marauding over Churchill Brothers.
He believes – “We have to overcome the tough situation with hard work” and considers the Aizawl match a perfect fixture for taking Bagan back to winning ways. “Tomorrow’s match is about making Mohun Bagan return to winning ways, he said also announcing that there will be some changes.
But the Aizawl match can perhaps be more than just Bagan returning to wining, it will also be a hunger for revenge especially after losing to the defending champions at Imphal last season, that ended their hopes of winning the title. Chakraborty however doesn’t think it will be a match of revenge nor a match that may establish his coaching career. “It is about helping Mohun Bagan remember to win.”
Bagan’s hopes of a revival in fortunes will be further brightened by new signing Cameron Watson who has been ruled fit to play on Sunday and although the Australian believes that it may not be the ideal situation to join the club, he is ready to do his job. Haitian Sony Norde will again be out with injury while, Dipanada Dicka and Ansumana Kromah may be paired together upfront.
Their opponents on Sunday day are placed just a notch below the Mariners but have the same number of points having played two lesser matches and while a win may take them to fourth, coach Paul Menezes said “It is just another match” for them.
“Our preparation is the same. I am least bothered about what the opposition do. There will always be pressure on clubs like Mohun Bagan and Kingfisher East Bengal. Even our team has pressure to perform as we are the champions,” added the Portugese.