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The puzzle called Do Dong Hyun.

All the players donning the red and gold shirt in recent times no body made as much ripple as the lad from South Korea named Do Dong Hyun. It was indeed a personification of vini vidi vici as the nimble footed youngster took the Kolkata football by storm. Four sublime goals, two in each derby along with numerous others in against lesser opponents helped East Bengal lift the coveted ‘Hexa’. Red and Gold faithful started to cherish the dream of touching the illusive I-league through this wonder boy who was so far single handedly destroying any opposition with élan. A few overenthusiastic even went on to stamp him the Leo Messi of Kolkata football. But suddenly the joy ride suffered a jolt as Dong got injured in the last match of the Kolkata league and got off the field for a considerable period. To the relief of the home fans he got himself fit just before the all important I-league and the all seemed well. But somewhere a cord has been severed; the music that hitherto had kept everyone mesmerized seemed a bit out of tune as Dong failed to replicate his Kolkata league antics when it mattered most. The castle of expectations made in air came crushing down and tongues started lashing. To make matters worse the youngster started to lose his cool as frustration and desperation took over. As a result he has been put unceremoniously in the side bench.

Now if we try to analyze the problem a few things become evident. Firstly the problem is not with his ability but with the assertion of those abilities on the ground. Every injury has a physical and a psychological aspect. Dong’s is no exception. His body is healed but his mind is not. He is still a bit shaky in his mind and that is preventing him from having his usual flare on the field. His natural instinct is to take on the defender while running with the ball and now he is hesitating a bit. This slight hesitation, these momentary indecisions are causing him to lose precious time and that fraction of a second’s delay is giving the opponent the chance needed to block him. By physique he is not very imposing so his speed and agility are most vital for his success and here it is becoming easy for the defenders to wrestle him off the ball. To overcome this he must overcome his fears.

Secondly he is getting a bit predictable. Thanks to the widespread coverage of Kolkata league all the coaches and players of the country are well versed with his style of play and they are coming prepared for him. They have done their homework well. They are not giving him space to maneuver neither the window to shoot. Dong is young and yet has his whole career ahead of him. He has to find the solution himself. He must bring new ideas to his game to fool the opposition. His greatest weapons, his trademark free kicks are now being read well by the goalkeepers and they are taking positions accordingly. Dong should bring some variations in there also.

Dong has the best teacher in hand a certain Ranty Martins, who is piling his trade for last 12 years and has seen the good and bad days alike. Every time he has been written off by the pundits he came back stronger. This year he has done it again and he can be the biggest inspiration for the struggling youngster.

Finally the team management also must don the thinking hats to find a way to help the South Korean. Instead of chastising him he must be given support at his time of need. A word of encouragement sometimes does wonders. If needed a few sessions with a psychologist may be also tried. Whatever is to be done is to be done fast. We have a few days at hand before our next match and we need this boy at his best if we have to have any chance of lifting the league. Time is ripe for some action.

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