Odafa boost for struggling Mohun Bagan
Kolkata: Eyeing full points for the first time since their ban was revoked, Mohun Bagan will be bolstered by the return of their star striker Odafa Okolie as they would look to halt the eight-match unbeaten run of ONGC in their I-League fixture at Kalyani, here tomorrow.
Resuming their I-League campaign from scratch, Mohun Bagan (two points) lost one and managed two draws after the AIFF had overturned the three-year ban.
With the only mission to avoid relegation, Mohun Bagan has looked out of focus and ideas in the three outings as coach Karim Bencherifa will bank on Odafa`s return to uplift the morale of the side.
"Odafa`s return will definitely give the team a big mental boost. He is an important player and we hope to make a turnaround as rejoins the team," Bencherifa said of the Nigerian, who served a three-match suspension for his outrageous behaviour during the doomed December 9 derby against East Bengal.
"I have always held that the team needs a win to get the confidence back. We hope it comes on the morrow... ONGC are playing well and will be a big challenge for us."
As Bencherifa is struggling to get into rhythm, in an irony of sorts, ONGC has looked a transformed side after they roped in Mohun Bagan discard coach Santosh Kashyap.
The Delhi-based team have remained unbeaten in the last eight matches and have made it to the seventh position maintaining the flourish unmitigated.
ONGC had held Mohun Bagan goalless at home in the fifth round of the first phase, which will be an added advantage for the side.
"I definitely have an emotional attachment with Mohun Bagan having coached them earlier in the season. But I am a professional coach and having taken the charge of ONGC, it is my job to do the best for them," Kashyap said.
"We hope to retain the composure that has helped the team unbeaten in the last few rounds and get a favourable result tomorrow."