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The former Mohun Bagan coach admitted that the decision to ban the Mariners was a tad too harsh...

Santosh Kashyap, who was the coach of Mohun Bagan at the start of the season, stated that the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) decision to slam a ban on the Kolkata club was a hindrance in Indian football’s progress.

The Green and Maroons have been suspended following their failure to turn up for the second half action against East Bengal on December 9. While Bagan claimed that they were concerned about the safety of their players following Syed Rahim Nabi being hit by a missile towards the end of the first half, the referee and the match commissioner thought otherwise.

“I have coached the team and obviously I feel sad. It is bad for the players, the groundsmen, the technical staff. It’s a big setback for Indian football. Earlier JCT and Mahindra United closed down and now Bagan are also banned for another two seasons,” said Kashyap.

“However, rules are rules and they have taken the right decision. I also think that there must be some flexibility in rules as we also have to grow football. For example, next year Air India and ONGC could be axed since they don’t fulfil one criterion of being a private entity. If you see ONGC has been supporting Indian football by sponsoring the I-League, Mumbai League, Nehru Cups and so on in the past. So just because they cannot fulfil one norm, we cannot afford to lose one team,” he explained.

Meanwhile ONGC continued their resurgence under Kashyap as they managed a point against United Sikkim over the weekend.

The Oilmen were dealt an early blow as Nadong Bhutia put the visitors ahead on the 12th minute as some good work from the right flank from Nima Tamang paid dividends, but that effort was cancelled out soon by a Sachin Gawas strike, from ten yards out. Both the teams held on from there to share the spoils. A special mention has to be given to the goalkeepers as they pulled out fine saves to keep their teams in the match.

“It was a good result. They played first half well. We played second half well. The two goalkeepers’ performance was admirable. We hit the post once also. The finishing touch was missing on the day. They were dangerous in set plays. It was almost an equal match as both had the chance to win,” he signed off.

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