Pre-season ship begins to sail for Mohun Bagan with all on board

The key issue of club captaincy was solved as the team were put through their paces...

Mohun Bagan began their pre-season training on Monday, in earnest, with the whole contingent of players belting it out in a 90-minute session. Goalkeeper Sandip Nandy, defenders Kinshuk Debnath and Rowilson Rodrigues, left-back Ravinder Singh, midfielders Adil Khan, Shankar Oraon and Anthony Pereira - all of whom are new acquisitions took part vigorously in the practice session.

“I started my career in this club. I am really happy to be back. I will give my best on the field. Hopefully, I can replicate my success,” elucidated a happy Sandip Nandy who kept in goal for champions Churchill Brothers last season in the competition.

Rowilson, meanwhile, has stated that one of main reason for him joining the team was because of coach Karim Bencherifa. “During my days at Churchill Brothers, he (Karim) was the one who egged me on. He deserves credit for my success,” expressed Rowilson.

In other quarters, no team is usually spared the gripe of leadership issues on the field, but for I-League team Mohun Bagan the issue is particularly severe. For the third consecutive season the club executive committee have handed over the mantle of captaincy to Odafa Okolie after a meeting on Monday.

The decision comes after a dire judgement which asserted that none of the other players were eligible to be captain as there was a lack of consistency in their performances for any of them to be considered.

The Nigerian was the apt one they deemed, a player who had scored 26 goals in the 2011-12 season and 19 in last years’ edition, becoming Mohun Bagan’s top scorer in the I-League consecutively.

The club will be hoping Odafa can uplift the entire team’s performance this season considering the melee they had to go through last year.

On the issue, club secretary Anjan Mitra explained to The Telegraph and said, “It is a well thought out decision. Since there was no other player who could take up the mantle, we wanted Odafa to lead the side again. Odafa alone cannot win you a trophy. You need 10 others to complement him. Still, we believe we have a good side, capable of winning some trophies this time around.”