East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil was a surprise visitor at the Kalyani Stadium on Monday afternoon, where arch-rivals Mohun Bagan eked out a narrow 2-1 victory against Mohammedan Sporting in a key Calcutta Football League (CFL) clash.
The Red and Golds are still in pole position in the competition, having won all their games so far, but will have to face Mohammedan before they play the Green and Maroons in a potential title-decider scheduled to be played at Siliguri on 24th October.
Attending the matches of opponent teams is not common in Kolkata, even though the teams play within 500 meters in most cases. Karim Bencherifa, the former coach of the Mariners' was the last professional, who was a regular visitor in the press-box during East Bengal's matches.
Khalid had courted controversy last season, when his assistant was spotted in a closed door practice session of East Bengal, but all that looks a thing of the past now, with the Jamil juggernaut getting off to a good start.
While the I-League winning coach stuck to his usually cliches when questioned by the media for his reactions on the match, Mohun Bagan's Shankarlal Chakraborty opined that it's unlikely that Jamil got to know anything new about his team.
"The league has already crossed the half-way mark. We have not signed any news players either. I am not sure whether there is anything fresh that could be noted down from today's tie," he told the reporters.
Khalid's team, who are on their way to win the title for the eighth consecutive time, has been boosted by the arrivals of players like Willis Plaza, Carlyle Mitchell, Nikhil Poojary, Arnab Mondal et al, who were away due to national duty, but the nagging injury of VP Suhair has become a point of concern for the management.