Kolkata: In what can be described as a major twist in events, Bengal’s Santosh Trophy-winning coach Mridul Banerjee has been appointed as the interim coach of East Bengal till the Federation Cup.
As Englishman Trevor Morgan stepped down as coach after a barren run of four consecutive losses including a 2-0 drubbing in the hands of Mohun Bagan, everything looked set for the former I-league winning manager Armando Colaco, to return to the red and gold camp last evening. But the AFC-A license-holder Banerjee was preferred over Colaco.
“Mridul is our choice and has been appointed coach. He has been given a contract till the Federation Cup,” East Bengal General Secretary Kalyan Majumdar said on Tuesday.
East Bengal’s new advisory committee member Manoranjan Bhattacharya said, “I know Mridul for a long time. I advised his name for Bengal team as well for the Santosh Trophy and he justified the choice by winning the Santosh Trophy. We all want the club to do well and it will be a team work to rectify the mistakes.”
The 56-year-old Banerjee recently coached Bengal to a record 32nd title in the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship last month after defeating host Goa 0-1 in the final.
“This team has the quality to do well in the Federation Cup and my intention will be to help the team as much as possible. There are still a couple of games left in the league and we will try to do well in those.” He didn’t wanted to disclose the loopholes he found in the team and said, “There were certainly some problems, but I don’t want to look back to the past.” the new interim coach Mridul Banerjee said.
East Bengal’s loss to minnows DSK Shivajians proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Morgan as he soon sent in the resignation letter to the club’s football secretary Santosh Bhattacharya. The I-league title is now more of a two horse race between Mohun Bagan and Aizawl Fc as the red and gold’s are 6 points behind with only two games remaining in the campaign. Banerjee will get some time to get to know the players before the Federation Cup starts on May 7. He will be looking forward to salvaging some pride for the seven-time consecutive Calcutta Football League (CFL) champions’ .
(With inputs from Xtratime)