Monday, November 27, 2017 Report by
East Bengal Kicks Off Their I-League Campaign Against Defending Champions Aizawl FC.
Lord Rama defeated Ravana & returned to his kingdom after 14years of exile, the current situation will be same for East Bengal FC when they face defending champions Aizawl FC in their debut match of I-League 2017-2018. The timeline of I-League trophy drought is same as the exile faced by Lord Rama. Will the team be able to defeat its choking symptoms that had nearly cost them the most prestigious silverware of the nation in each & every edition played in the past 14years?
This year India's biggest & most prestigious league has passed through various turmoils with million dollar league ISL ( Indian Super League) trying to topple I-League & establish itself as the number one league. With various corporate powerhouses vesting interests in ISL the toothless AIFF who are now only a mere dummy of IMGR (Sponsor Of AIFF) are to be believed as dictating terms inside Dwarka Sub City building has created adverse conditions. Reputed club teams are unwilling to participate or have withdrawn from playing I-League. Such an eg can be seen as BFC (Bengaluru Football Club) has moved on to take part in ISL leaving aside I League. The existence of I-League received more threat when earlier this year ISL received recognition from the highest footballing bodies of FIFA & AFC. Maximum of the renowned players have moved on to play for ISL franchise as the lucrative sum offered can't be matched by I - League club owners & sponsors. This year the competition might be seen as a farewell for East Bengal FC, as both the Kolkata giants might be joining BFC in ISL next year as one league theory is currently in the mix of things amongst the highest footballing authority of the nation AIFF.
Team Game Combined with Khalid Jamil's Charisma :-
Last year when Aizawl FC lifted the I-League 2016-2017 trophy they scripted themselves into the history books. A team that won the I-League second division championship in 2014-2015 was transformed into I-League champions in 2016 -2017 by none other than Khalid Jamil. Currently, he occupies the hot seat of East Bengal FC. Khalid Jamil became the youngest coach to achieve the feat of winning the priced silverware of Indian football with Aizawl FC. The factors that worked for him was team game & least reliance upon individual performance on the field. Khalid will be looking to replicate his feat with East Bengal FC.
Key Khalid facts:-
1. Treats each & every player equally.
2. Performance is the key to break into first XI & bench for the matchday. While selecting a team the keyword bias seems to be missing from the gaffers dictionary.
3. I-League had never seen such a workaholic coach who does not boss around media/press meets, rather speaks less & narrates more with his on-field tactics.
4. Backs players when they are criticized by media & lacks form on the field.
5. Maintains a healthy dressing room atmosphere.
6. Highly professional with his role as East Bengal FC coach.
7. Prefers team game. Eg: Won I-League with Aizawl FC with a team consisting of Alfred Jaryan, Bayi Kamo etc (underrated players).
Team East Bengal Quick Look:-
This year the team has witnessed some of its key players depart to join the ranks of ISL franchisee teams. One of them being the old warhorse & midfield maestro Mehtab Hussain. The newbies like Chullova, Brandon, Mahwia etc had shown their prowess in CFL & are tested in I-League. The team this year has a balance of youth blended with experience of Gurwinder Singh & skipper Arnab Mandal at the back with Cavin Lobo & Md.Rafique manning the midfield. East Bengal FC Academy graduates in the likes of Mehtab Singh & Prakash Sarkar has also been promoted to the senior squad. Fresh inclusions in the form of Salam Ranjan Singh, Jobi Justin, Richard Costa, Gabriel Fernandes & Suhrabuddin Mallik has added options for Khalid to explore & pursue with various formations. Goalkeeping department where we have suffered last year & in previous I-League editions has experienced Luis Barreto coalesced with talented & youthful Mirshad K, Dibyendu Sarkar & Ubaid K.
This year many experts & analysts had predicted that I-League will be clinched by the team with strong foreign recruits. The rules have also changed from previous editions which are as follows:-
The clubs will be allowed to register 6 (six) foreign players out of which at least 2 (two) players have to be from an AFC member Association
The clubs can field maximum 5 (five) foreign players in a match out of which minimum 1 (one) player has to be from an AFC Member Association.
East Bengal FC this time had wasted little time grabbing all tested foreign recruits. In the past, they had faced nightmares with new ones. Many times the club officials had rejected the 4th foreign recruit due to lack of quality on the field & had suffered mid-season in I-League. This time Khalid Jamil & the club officials wasted no tile finalizing their recruits. Star attraction being Katsumi Yusa former skipper & instrumental player for arch-rivals Mohun Bagan combined with Aizawl FC main midfield wizard last season Mahmoud Al Amna will play a pivotal role in pulling strings & creating balls for Charles & Plaza upfront. Nonetheless, Armand Bajo will be slotted in front of back four consisting big Brazilian Eduardo.
Aizawl FC team overview:-
The defending champions have lost a lot of its firepower from previous years squad. Al - Amna, Brandon, Chullova all have switched clubs. But Aizawl FC had strengthened themselves with the signing of Côte D'Ivoire & former Mohammaden Sporting striker Dodoz. Aizawl has also availed services of former East Bengal FC "Little Lizo Master" Shylo Malsawm Tulunga commonly known as Mama. The back four has recruits from Minerva FC (Kareem) & Afghan-international Masih Saighani. Teams hailing from northeast has always been a surprise package & headache for big clubs. With Portuguese coach, Paulo Meneses making his debut in Indian football things might not be smooth for Khalid & his boys. It will also be an emotional clash for Khalid who will be facing his old club as foes in the first match.
We Are Red & Gold Till We Are Dead & Cold:-
Kolkata may have already undergone the bite of chill & gusty winds of winter with the mercury falling as the days pass by. But the conditions for ardent Red & Gold supporters all over the world is reversed with anxiety & uncertainty creeping in the fear of loosing gripping in. Yet lashing rains, the howling cold winds & giant tsunami of tears has lashed upon us we the Red & Gold army has managed to reignite the passion of flame. The very flame of belief, the flame of perseverance, the flame of determination, flame to fight & flame to turn enemies into mere ashes. The flame will always burn & the torchbearers we the fans will always stand by the team.
14 Years of Exile & Pain
It's Now Or Never Again. ........
We at EBRP are requesting each & every Red & Gold fans to join the team inside the stadium & support them with loudest of the screams. EBRP will be present inside the stadium in North Wing second tire Gate No 2.If any one is willing can join us to cheer their mother club against Aizawl FC.
For those who won't be able to make into the the stadium can still watch the match live on Star Sports 2 on 28th November Tuesday @8:00pmkickoff. Live streaming will be available on Jio TV & Hotstar. For further details log into www.ebrp.in or visit Facebook page ebrp.in.