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Goal.com exclusively talks to Santosh Kashyap as the Oilmen visit his old stomping ground to take on Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan

With Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan all set to welcome ONGC FC in a lunch time kick-off on Friday, Goal.com caught up exclusively with the Oilmen’s manager Santosh Kashyap to discuss what went wrong in his stint with the Mariners earlier this season.

Kashyap, who was appointed as the coach of Mohun Bagan over the summer, was given the boot merely after two matches in the I-League. While he has gone on to restore his reputation with ONGC by guiding them out of the relegation zone, Bagan have hit lower ebbs. Their decision to do away with Kashyap has come to hurt them as Karim Bencherifa has failed so far to get them on winning track.

And the problems faced by the Moroccan coach was similar to the one Kashyap had – injuries and lack of fitness. However Bagan officials showed little patience in Kashyap’s case and what followed next is well documented.

“We started our season at Bagan in a healthy position. The pre-season was okay. But when the Federation Cup started, I lost almost my entire squad because of dengue. Injuries to important players like Odafa (Okolie) didn’t help matters. “

“It was also a new team and I needed more time to put across my ideas. But it happens in football and I learnt a lot from this experience which is important. I think we played well with whatever I had that time in hand but then that’s football,” Kashyap reminisced.

When quizzed about the current situation Mohun Bagan find themselves in Kashyap praised his counterpart stating that he has enough experience to guide the Green and Maroon out of the relegation mire.

“ It’s a big challenge that they face (to avoid relegation). They have a good coach (Bencherifa) and a capable enough squad to fight. I think they will give it their best to get the best outcome,” he opined.

The former Air India manager believes that his side are capable of finishing higher up the I-League table come the end of the season and he is looking for a top performance from his boys against Bagan.

“We are going to put our best effort and try to win each game so as to achieve as high a position in the table.”  

”When I took charge of ONGC, we were in the relegation zone and we set a target of being safe at the end of the season. Currently we are at the seventh place and with another 2-to-3 wins; we will be in a comfortable position to achieve our target,”  he claimed given that the Mumbai side are unbeaten in six games since he took over the reins.


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