Steve Darby to stay as coach, says Mohun Bagan

Kolkata: Ending speculation over his future with the club, Mohun Bagan on Thursday said Steve Darby would stay as the chief coach despite the green-and-maroon brigade`s shocking first-round exit from the Federation Cup.

"We have no problems with Darby. He will start in the I-League (beginning October 22)," Mohun Bagan president Swapan Sadhan Bose told reporters on Thursday.

The high-profile coach came under scrutiny after the record 13-times champions were stunned 1-2 by debutants Royal Wahingdoh.

Even before they could play their second match, Mohun Bagan were ousted from the Federation Cup as Wahingdoh upset Churchill Brothers in their next match.

More disappointment was in store as the star-studded side, boasting of the season`s top signing Odafa Okolie, slumped to its second consecutive loss, going down to Shillong Lajong as infuriated fans and critics called for Darby`s head.

Known for making coaches the scapegoat after a failure, Mohun Bagan think-tank had started talking with former coach Subrata Bhattacharya, fuelling speculation about Darby`s ouster.

But the club officials ostensibly said Darby himself wanted to quit because of his mother`s sudden illness.

"Darby had texted two club officials, saying he might resign because his mother was diagnosed with cancer. But medial investigation found it to be something else and there was nothing to worry about. That was the time, we began talking to Bhattacharya," the club president said.

But those in the know of things claimed that removing Darby early into the season would have cost the club heavily as he has a two-year deal.

"The club had a meeting with the (sponsors) UB Group officials to discuss the compensation amount. It seems it did not work out," the source said.

The 56-year-old, meanwhile, said he strongly hopes the team would bounce back in the upcoming I-League.

"We were not good in the forward, we missed a lot of chances. But we will come back. I have spoken to some players personally. We are confident of a fightback," Darby, who has an illustrious career, including coaching Thailand`s U-23 side, said.


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