Mohammedan coach credits dedication for I-League return

Bangalore: Set to be back in the I-League in the 2013-14 season, after a gap of four years, Mohammedan Sporting`s coach Sanjoy Sen was modest in the moment of triumph, saying that his ‘mediocre’ side returned to the top tier riding on "chemistry, dedication and honesty".

Mohammedan Sporting qualified for the next edition of I-League first division after they played out a goal-less draw with Bhawanipore FC in their penultimate League match of the final phase of the second Division League.

After playing nine matches and with 18 points in their kitty, Mohammedan Sporting are on top of the table. The Kolkata side last played in I-League first division in the 2008/09 season.

"We were a mediocre team who peaked at the right time. The players rose to the occasion. They were honest, and followed my instructions diligently. That we don`t have stars minimised the chances of having any ego clashes in the team. Expectations were less and the team took it upon themselves. We beat all the odds to qualify," Sen said, reflecting on the journey.

"The boys have made me proud. We have finally achieved our aim and will now play in the I-League 2013-14. This feeling is superb," he said.

Recalling the time he took over as coach, Sen said the players were low on morale, but gradually lifted themselves.

"A coach is as good as his bunch of players. When I took over on February 28 this year, the morale of the team was very low...I had two days time to prepare them for the second Division League. We trained in Kolkata for the two days and then left for Indore," Sen recollected.

"It was a big challenge for me to lift the morale of the boys. I did my bit, pep talk or whatever you call it. I told them about the history of the club, what qualification to the Premier Division means to the club. I urged them to pick themselves up as this is a new ball game altogether," he said.

Asked to sum up the journey, Sen said it wasn`t an easy one but he thoroughly enjoyed th experience.

"It was an uphill task. After coming to Indore, Ashim (Biswas) picked up a bad injury after playing just two matches. He was thus ruled out," he said.

On the team`s formula for success, Sen said, "Team chemistry, dedication and honesty!"

"We were so organised. We have conceded just three goals so far (with a match still left). Our defence held firm against the likes of Hudson Lima Silva and (Jose Ramires) Barreto.

"Never did we concede cheaply. We lost only one match throughout the campaign. Coming to the midfield and attack, goals win you matches and we capitalised on our opportunities," he explained.