Karim Bencherifa's highs and lows at Salgaocar FC

Before his big money move to Mohun Bagan, Goal.com looks through the highs and lows of Bencherifa's time at Salgaocar FC...
 Anselm Noronha
 Feature | I-League
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Avoiding relegation

Karim Bencherifa, who had coached Mohun Bagan previously from 2008-2010, had made an exit from the Kolkata club under tense circumstances. However, this time Bagan would no doubt roll out the niceties to bring one of the most astute coaches in the country.

Mohun Bagan have re-acquired the services of the Moroccan, in a bid to save the club from spiralling down even further after their disastrous start to the season
. The Kolkata giants would definitely want the 44-year-old to repeat his feat with Salgaocar when Bencherifa saved the Goan side from facing the drop after joining the club mid-way through the 2009-10 I-League season.

I-League 2010-11 victory

Just as Jose Mourinho would have asked others not to judge him in the first season but from the second season onward, Karim Bencherifa proved his mettle by winning the coveted I-League trophy in his first full season with Salgaocar FC in the year 2010-11.

Bagging 56 points in their winning campaign, the Goan side scored as many as 58 goals in 26 matches with a goal difference of +31.

After winning the I-League, Salgaocar qualified for the 2012 AFC Cup in which they did not get past the group stage, but managed a 3-1 win over Oman's Al-Oruba and a 2-2 draw against Uzbekistan's Neftchi.

33rd Federation Cup champions

Karim Bencherifa went on to lead Salgaocar FC to their fourth Federation Cup title last season by defeating Kolkata giants East Bengal 3-1 in the final.

Under his tutelage, Salgaocar FC have defeated the Red and Gold thrice in five matches, which is another positive sign for the Maroon and Green as they look forward to the Kolkata derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on 9 December 2012, when he takes over the reins of his former club.

There were times when we thought we were at the top of the world, and times when we struggle to know what is going to happen next season.

– Salgaocar FC chairman Shivanand Salgaocar


Hasty signings

Karim Bencherifa's enthusiasm after winning the I-League 2010-11 with Salgaocar FC drove him to make a number of signings that did not necessarily fructify in terms of performance of the club.

The fact that the season after winning the title, the Goan side weren't as lethal as one would expect them to be highlighted the fact that the club had brought in mediocre players who failed to justify their price tag.

Unhappy foreign contingent

Besides Brazilian center-back Luciano Sobrosa, Salgaocar FC haven't seen too many foreigners sticking to the club for more than one season. The only exception however was Japanese medio Ryuji Sueoka, who followed Bencherifa from Mohun Bagan, until he left for Dempo SC at the beginning of this season.

There has been a number of incoming and outgoing names at the same time. Abdullah Hamza Amaba, Maxime Belouet, Elijah Junior, Edeh Chidi, Yusif Yakubu and Eneke Ikenwa are among those who didn't remain for more than a season. In some cases, the players left mid-way through the season as they were disappointed in the manner they were handled by the coach and the club respectively, which has been a trademark all throughout.

6-1 humiliation by Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan had thrashed Salgaocar 6-1 to enter the 32nd Federation Cup semi-finals, which was not too long after Bencherifa had taken over as head coach of the Goan club. This was arguably one of the worst defeats endured by a side coached by Karim Bencherifa in India.

Given that Salgaocar FC shall face Mohun Bagan on November 17, a day before he switches alliances to the Mariners, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the match should Bencherifa be on the bench on the Goan club.

Interestingly, Salgaocar have lost to Mohun Bagan twice in their last five matches in all competitions, while failing to pick a single win either.

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