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The Nigerian centre-back looks forward to the new season but mentioned of missing the absence of his compatriot who has switched over to Mohammedan Sporting…

While the expectation is ever so high at the start of the season for East Bengal, Uga Okpara has put some perspective on the squad they have assembled this term.

Trevor Morgan quit at the end of last season following three successful years with the Red and Gold. And the summer saw the club make two new signings in Ryuji Sueoka and James Moga to replace Penn Orji and Andrew Barisic. Though East Bengal still hasn’t managed to win the I-League, Marcos Falopa has now been entrusted the responsibility to ensure that the Kolkata outfit make a mark in the top division league.

“The core group of our team might well be the same but you also need to remember that there are some new guys coming in, and they need to fit into the squad,” Okpara was quoted saying in The Telegraph.

Penn Orji has joined the ranks of Mohammedan Sporting along with former East Bengal striker Tolgay Ozbey. Okpara admitted that he does miss the presence of Orji given that they have been friends for the last three seasons.

“I’ll miss Penn. He, too, will miss me and the others. We’ve been like brothers all these years,” he mentioned.

However Okpara was quick to add that when facing the duo on the field, he will keep his emotions aside and focus on putting in his best foot for East Bengal.

“It’s true I’ve played plenty of matches with both Penn and Tolgay. But at the end of the day, I know the job I’m supposed to do because it’s me who will be the defender against Penn and Tolgay.”

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