Mohun Bagan Team Profile For I-League 2016-17

Sunday, 8 January 2017|Arijit Mukherjee
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The Mariners would look to reclaim their lost crown having retained the core players from last season.

Mohun Bagan started the 2015-16 season with a bang, having remained unbeaten in their first 11 matches of the season. But the implosion in the next 4 matches caused them the trophy, meekly surrendering it to Bengaluru FC, their youngest rival. This thought must still be hurting Sanjoy Sen and his boys as they look to make amends of their last year’s error and start the new season all guns blazing.

At the end of the season, it was not difficult to figure out where the Mariners lost the plot. They had played out too many draws, to be precise 6, while Bengaluru FC had just 2 draws. Had any of the six draws been converted to a win, they would have  kept the I-League trophy back in their cabinet because it was just a 2 points difference in the end.

However, there is no use crying over things which cannot be mended anymore and rightly so, Sanjoy Sen set his eyes on the future. First thing first, he worked towards retaining the core squad and then reinforced his arsenal with some shrewd signings. The squad looks very balanced and they are indeed, once again, a strong contender for the title.

At the managerial level, staffs remain the same with Sanjoy as the manager, Shankarlal Chakraborty as his deputy and Arpan Dey as GK coach. Brazilian physical trainer Garcia has been doing wonders with the players for the last three seasons and he remains with the team. Abhinandan Chatterjee will also continue as the Physio once again.

Sen has a reputation of being an excellent man manager with a very good game-reading skill.He is not the best of a tactician in the fray but makes up for that limitation with his  fantastic motivational skills which many of his players have acknowledged as the reason for their success.

From the international market, they shopped Eduardo Ferreira to replace Luciano Sabrosa while poaching Daryl Duffy from Salgaocar right at the start of the season to replace Cornell Glen. The two makes up the four foreigners slot with Sony Norde and Katsumi Yusa.

Locally, they have not done much with Anas Edathodika, Sehnaj Singh& Subashish Bose being the notable new entries. They preferred to retain their own players.

The midfield has a plethora of choices which includes the comeback kid Sehnaj Singh, Bikramjit Singh and Souvik Chakraborty who had a stellar season for Delhi Dynamos in the just concluded ISL. Pronoy Halder also remain in the fray.

Anas Edathodika makes the defence look more solid and reliable, especially after his commanding performances with Delhi Dynamos. The other addition in the defense is the promising Subhasis Bose from Sporting Goa, who can play as a full back on either side. They will also have the services of the ever reliable and versatile defensive duo of Kinshuk Debnath and Raju Gaikwad to call for as and when required with the full back positions taken care by Prabir Das and Pritam Kotal with Souvik Ghosh, Subhashish and Sarthak Golui thrown in the mix as cover for good measures. Even Souvik Chakraborty who did a stellar job as a right back for Delhi in the ISL, can slot in anywhere in the defence.

In the attack, Darryl Duffy who played for Bagan in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) will complement Jeje Lalpekhlua upfront. Balwant Singh will be an option from the bench with the Punjab striker looking to prove himself all over again.

They have also brought in some academy products in the team including the highly rated Pintu Mahato and there are the likes of Raynier Fernandes, Robinson Singh and Sourav Das waiting in the wings to make a mark.

Lastly, the wings will have the same menacing look just like the last two seasons as Bagan’s two talismans -Sony Norde and Katsumi Yusa- would be plying their trade on either side of the park.But due to the brilliant season Kean Lewis had for Delhi in the ISL he may-be deployed on the wing with Katsumi moving into the central position.

 

 

Best XI for 2016/17 expected (4-4-1-1): Debjit- Pritam Kotal, Eduardo Ferreira, Anas Edathodika, Prabir Das-Pranoy Halder, Sehnaj Singh,Katsumi Yusa/Kean Lewis, Sony Norde/Kean Lewis-Jeje Lalpekhlua- Daryl Duffy/Balwant Singh.

 

Departures: Luciano Sabrosa, Cornell Glen, Brandon Fernandez, Avishek Das, Lenny Rodrigues, Arnab DasSharma.

 

New signings: Eduardo Ferreira, Pawan Kumar, Shibinraj Singh, Anas Edathodika, Sehnaj Singh. Subashish Bose, Sourav Das, Pintu Mahato.

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW SIGNINGS

Anas Edathodika – After two stellar seasons with Delhi Dynamos in the ISL he is one of the most sought after and consistent defender in India at the moment. The Kerala-born central defender started his career in I-League with Mumbai FC and spent another four season with Pune FC. He now joins the Mariners rank, hoping to pick up a silverware while maintaining his consistency.

Eduardo Ferreira - The new signing from FC Pune City has lots of expectations riding on him from fans and officials alike. The 33-year-old  Brazilian born Equatorial Guinea international has been playing first team football for 11 years and is eagerly looking forward to playing in the Mecca of Indian Football.

Sehnaj Singh - A member of the 2014-15 I-League winning team, had left the Mariners for arch-rivals Red and Gold last season. After going through a torrid last season with East Bengal through injuries, disciplinary issues and poor form, he has made a comeback to the Green and Maroon ranks to lend more solidity to the already impressive midfield. He would look to forget the horrors of last season and get back to his top form for the Mariners which got him selected to the national team in the first place. He would also look to check his temper and his frequent bouts with injury, as his talent was never in doubt.

The other new signings like Subashish Bose who came from Sporting Clube de Goa would look to impress Sen and the fans whenever he gets a chance as he comes with a good reputation from his days with the AIFF Elite academy and SCG days.

Shibinraj Singh and Pawan Kumar the two back-up goalkeepers would also look to prove a point, if given a chance.

Pintu Mahato, Raynier Fernandes and Sourav Das the highly rated youngsters would be looking to impress on whatever minutes they get on the turf and would be a wonderful experience for them.

 

 

SQUAD 2016-17 Comments

GK- The number one spot without doubt will be for Debjit Mazumdar. He has been in tremendous form. The experienced and ex-captain Shilton Paul, as a second choice is an able replacement but do also  look-out for Shibinraj Singh and Pawan Kumar who can steal the march on the veterans. The Mariners look to have covered all the bases as far as goalkeeping is concerned and looks very solid and consistent in the last line of defence.

RB- Pritam Kotal would be the obvious first choice for his consistency. He also has a very good weapon in his long throws and marauding runs down the flanks.If he does not get injured or fatigued doesn’t takes over him, he will be an asset for the Mariners.  Young Sarthak Golui will be a good replacement for him if needed with the green horn Subashish Bose also around. They also have the versatile and experienced duo of Kinshuk Debnath and Raju Gaikwad to slot into the position f required. Even Souvik Chakraborty can surprise a lot of people with his prowess as a full back as he did for Delhi Dynamos this season in the ISL.

LB-  Prabir Das will be the automatic first choice with Dhanachandra Singh out for the season. Souvik Ghosh  and Subashish  would be able replacements when needed. Prabir would eye this season as the break-through year for him as he has already did the star turn for ATK in ISL and also was the best player for the Mariners in the CFL. Raju and Kinshuk can also be deputed whenever needed. This is also a position well covered.

CB - With Anas Edathodika and Eduardo Ferriera as first choices and Raju Gaikwad and Kinshuk Debnath as their more than able deputies, this is also a position well covered. They also gave Bikramjit Singh(Junior) as their younger understudy, to slot in here, when required. l

CM- Abundance of riches for the Mariners in the middle of the park this time and looks to be a very solid unit. Sen would look to play with two deep lying hard-tackling  medios as he tends to and Pronay Halder and Sehnaj Singh will likely be the first choices with their defensive  skills and distribution. Sen may also opt for Souvik Chakraborty because of his excellent technical level along with lovely passing vision to spread the game to the flanks. When you add the experience of Bikramjit Singh(Sr) and Pankaj Moula in the mix, the centre of the park really looks more formidable.There is also youthful exuberance and talent of the likes of Sourav Das, Reynier Fernadez and Robinson Singh who would love to make a difference every time they come onto the playing field. All in all an eclectic mix of youth and experience coupled with talent, technical ability and ball distribution.

Sen has the luxury of calling up the skipper and Japanese Bombardier Katsumi Yusa to operate from the middle which will further enhance the extremely strong midfield and lend a variety to the midfield which none of other teams would possess.

CP/COM- This will be a rotating position taken up by Jeje or Katsumi as well as Reynier depending on the tactics explored by Sen and his coaching team. The position would be an interesting position as the Mariners have the versatility across the middle of the park to utilise the position to the hilt and will be a real peril for their opponents as people would be switching places as per the team’s need.

RW- The flank will be manned by the skipper and Japanese talisman Katsumi Yusa. As always, he will be a threat for all the teams as has been the norm for the last two years. He will have able replacements in Prabir Das and Kean Lewis to take up the mantle as and when needed. Even the talented Azharuddin Mullick can also fill in ably whenever called upon.

LW- The left flank will be manned by the one and only Sony Norde. The Haitian talisman and magician would be at his stupendous best yet again and would be a nightmare for all the defence with his cut-ins, set-pieces, mind-boggling skills on the ball and the constant off the ball runs and that sniping shots on the run. Kean Lewis can be an able replacement whenever needed.

FW- The onus will be on Scott Darryl Duffy to get the goals and he will get plenty of chances with all the fire-power he will have from behind.He will have a lot to prove to the supporters after a cold performance in the CFL. He will have the fiery and eager Punjabi forward Balwant Singh breathing down his neck as a more than able replacement along with Jeje and the young Pintu Mahato and Azharuddin Mullick as efficient understudies to the big boys.

Overall the team looks extremely strong on paper with proven performers in every corner of the field. Most of them are in peak form and would look to exorcise their ghost of the past year.




 


2016-17 FULL SQUAD LIST  (Until 6th January 2017)

GoalKeeper: Debjit Mazumdar, Shilton Paul, Shibanraj K, Pawan Kumar.

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Eduardo Ferreira, Anas Edathodika, Kinshuk Debnath, Raju Gaikwad, Sarthak Golui, Bikramjit Singh(Jr), Shouvik Ghosh, Subashis Bose.

Midfielders:Prabir Das, Katsumi Yusa, Pronay Halder, Sourav Das(U-22), Robinson Singh(U-22),Raynier Fernandes(U-22),  Pankaj Moula, Sehnaj Singh, Souvik Chakraborti, Bikramjit Singh(Sr), Kean Lewis, Sony Norde.

Forwards: Azharuddin Mullick(U-22),Darryl Duffy, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, Pintu Mahato(U-22).

 

Have there been any management/coaching changes and what impact might theyhave?
No. The coaching and support staff remains the same and will have a stable and calm look about it which would help the team perform consistently well and improve on their performances from last season.

Will their style be the same this season? More offensive / more defensive?
It looks clear that the 4-2-3-1 will be the base system and can be changed to 4-4-1-1 as per the match situation or even 4-3-3 with high pressing football, high intensity and swift counter attacks. It will be more offensive with crisp short passing being the norm of the Mariners play and would be high octane with solid defense the hallmark of the team.

Was last seasons finishing position a fair reflection of performances through the season?
They finished second, just two points behind Bengaluru FC. Yes, its a fair reflection.

 

Are there currently any problems at the club on or off the pitch which may have impact on this season?
No off-field or on-field problems as such with Rabindra Sarobar Stadium as the home ground the only bone of contention with the NGT still not giving the club a clearance to use it for their matches.

Any players returning from long-term injuries- if so then what kind of shape are they in?Balwant Singh would be returning after an injury ravaged season and would be eager to prove his potential once again.

Any players who have shown signs of big improvements over the summer (maybe Young  players breaking through?
Prabir Das, Souvik Ghosh, Reynier Fernandes, Azharuddin Mullick ans Subhashis Bose will be the few names to be watched out for who can be the unknown game-changer and can announce their name on the big stage with a big bang.

What expectations do you, the fans and the club have this season?
I think MohunBagan AC has retained the crux of the team and should be right up there for the championship.

How has pre-season gone, have results/performances been as expected?
The pre-season has been a little haphazard as most of the top players were playing the ISL. Sony Norde has still not managed to join the squad and would not be available for the first match.

 

Have there been any significant alterations to the stadium or pitch?

The Mariners are scheduled to play their home matches at the revamped Rabindra Sarobar Stadium subjected to clearance from the NGT which is still in doldrums at the moment. The pitch will be natural grass and would help the home team as they have trained at their club ground which is also of natural grass. The stadium have a capacity of 13,000.

Average attendance could be full house in each match as the fanatism attached to the Mariner fan base is well-documented and this season will be no different