Hero I-League 2015-16 is set to kick-off in a couple of days when Mohun Bagan takes on Aizawl FC at the Barasat Stadium. In the series of previewing major I-League football clubs, we bring you the insightful analysis of Kingfisher East Bengal, written by ‘Baberto‘
Coach : Biswajit Bhattacharya is most likely to remain the head coach, along with his team of assistant coaches; comprising of Sammy Omollo, Sanjay Majhi and Debjit Ghosh. But a shaky beginning to the campaign will compel the club to go back to Trevor James Morgan.
It should be the year when East Bengal FC finally demolish the gap between the cup and the lip.
Goalkeeping : This is perhaps the weakest link in the team. Rehnesh
T.P. is most likely going to be the favoured custodian with Luis Baretto remaining as a back up. Rehnesh can pull off quite a few spectacular close rangers but his overall attributes are poor. Baretto, on the other hand, has redefined the word ‘inconsistency’ to a whole new level over the past few years. Watch out for Dibyendu Sarkar. He is young and has been in great form, but highly unlikely to get any chances.
Defence : The pairing of Arnab and Bello will take their respective places at the heart of the defence; with Rahul Bheke on the right and Narayan Das (I heard it’s a deal done) on the left. I feel the coach should go for a CB as the fourth foreigner or else the defence may succumb to pressure in the long run.
Gurwinder is injury prone and Koushik Sarkar is inexperienced. Deepak Mondal, Robert, Saumik Dey and Abhishek Das are the fall back options for the wing back positions.
Watch out for Samad Ali Mallick. He has played well in the CFL. He is defensively well organised, has pace and can cross the ball well.
Midfield : Most likely to begin with two defensive medios and three attacking medios. Sehenaj Singh and Khabra will probably be bestowed the duty to screen the defense. Any dip in form any of them will see Mehtab Hossain take the field. Dong will take the CAM role with Jairu and Sanju on the widths. With Lobo and Dika injured, fringe players Joachim, Mama and Rafique will take the bench.
The midfield looks pacy and doesn’t lack the variety. With quite a few dead ball specialists in their armour, the midfield is likely to fire. Ruidas and Prahlad Roy can surprise any defence with their pace and trickery but don’t think they will get enough chances to show them.
Forwards : Ranty Martins is the choice for sole striker spot. He is expected to get the required ball supply from the midfield and this it is upto to him to convert the chances as he has done for all these years. More importantly, he needs to hold the ball and bring the wings into action. Sabeeth will be a back up option and his poaching abilities will be of great help against the defensively strong teams. Jiten Murmu, with whatever chances he will get, is likely to impress.
It should be the year when East Bengal FC finally demolish the gap between the cup and the lip. Their arch rival’s win in the last edition will definitely give a more powerful urge to win the trophy this time.