East Bengal fans have reasons to feel happy. Yesterday, Subrata Bhattacharya, the mercurial yesteryear Mohun Bagan stopper and a successful coach, has agreed to train EB players in the coming season. With him at the helm, the drought of trophies at East Bengal may perhaps end at last. [Image source on left]
Subrata has been a successful coach at Mohun Bagan. It’s under him that the club won NFL title twice in the past and became runner-up once. Yet for unexplained reasons, his service was terminated by Mohun Bagan last season, and since then its performance just collapsed.
Of the 3 big Kolkata clubs, East Bengal is by far most organized. The club officials do not unnecessarily poke into coach’s work. There is lot less bickering, and more or less the coach is free to carry out his plans.
Yet, after Subhas Bhowmik’s sterling coaching of the team 3 years back, East Bengal’s performance simply went downhill. After Bhowmik left, the club tried 2 foreign coaches, first Belgian Phillip de Rider last to last year and then Brazilian Carlos Pereira last year.
However, club’s fortune failed to move northward.
All this has taken heavy toll on popularity of football in Kolkata and Bengal. Spectators hardly go to see their favorite teams playing. This year’s performance of the Kolkata clubs has been so bad that at times it seems there’s no end to the tunnel of darkness (see my post, The Whitewash).
Perhaps, just perhaps, things are happening that look good. In Kolkata the Indian Football Association, the parent body of everything football in the city, is planning to initiate changes in the way the game is managed.
The big thing is going to unravel in Delhi when the Brazilian President comes calling next month. A 6-member football delegation from Brazil is coming with the president to finalize measures that will help Indian football over the long term.
Today’s TT has this as the lead story. It’s titled, Brazil to play soccer saviour; Blueprint for India pact, a dispatch from TT’s veteran Washington-based journalist, KP Nayar.