I-League: Mohun Bagan face Mumbai FC challenge in campaign opener

Facing the biggest crisis in its 125-year history, Mohun Bagan will hope the acute financial situation and a difficult build-up does not reflect on the club's showing when it kicks off its I-League football tournament campaign against Mumbai FC here on Sunday.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 17, 2015, 20:04 PM IST
I-League: Mohun Bagan face Mumbai FC challenge in campaign opener

Kolkata: Facing the biggest crisis in its 125-year history, Mohun Bagan will hope the acute financial situation and a difficult build-up does not reflect on the club's showing when it kicks off its I-League football tournament campaign against Mumbai FC here on Sunday.

Without a silverware since May 2010 when they won the local league (CFL Premier Division), Mohun Bagan's campaign this season was no different as they crashed out of Kings Cup and Federation Cup.

The Kings Cup ouster saw parting ways with Subhas Bhowmick, who recently threatened to move court challenging irregularity in pay with the club facing acute financial crisis in the wake of the chitfund scam.

The club's assistant secretary Srinjoy Bose, son of president Swapan Sadhan Bose (Tutu), is in custody for his alleged links with the Saradha Group which ran ponzi schemes.

Club's principal sponsor United Spirits Limited, which has now been taken over by Diageo Plc from the UB Group, is understood to have pulled the plug on its sponsorship deal.

If this was not enough, there was a drama a few days back when the top officials of the club including president stepped down for its flop show only to return to mar the I-League build-up.

In such a scenario, all eyes would be on its players and how the new coach Sanjoy Sen motivates the side to turn the tide.

On paper Mohun Bagan still boast of a strong side with their latest recruit from Bangladeshi Dhanmondi Club Sony Norde forming a potent attack with Katsumi Yusa.

However marquee player and forward Pierre Boya, who has joined from FC Kukesi, is unlikely to start as he's down with an injury.

Denson Devadas and Lalkamal Bhowmick will play a crucial role in the midfield.

But it's their rejigged defence that looks promising this season with Bello Rasaq and Anwar Ali joining from United SC and Mumbai FC, respectively, along with Dhanachandra Singh.

"It's the first game of the season so we will have to be watchful and not do anything silly. We have to forget the past and start afresh. We will look to make the home advantage count," Sen said.

Mumbai FC, on the other hand, will be content to register an away draw as it's the maidan veteran Joshimar da Silva Martins who would play a key role in their campaign.

The Brazilian would lead their attack along with captain Mohammed Rafi and it would be interesting to see how the new look forward fare in absence of Ghanaian Yusif Yakubu.

They also have Nigerian central defender Chika Wali as another important signing this season.