Mohan Bagan’s woes seem to be deepening by the days. As reported earlier, players from the club had reported Kolkata-based outfit to the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) player status committee, over the non-payment of dues owed to them. No player rebellion is what the club is grappling with.
Goal understands that Anthony Pereira, the Indian international and veteran wing wizard, who had joined the Mariners revolution just last season, has packed bags and headed full tilt back to Goa, with no signs of showing up for Bagan’s opener against Bengaluru FC.
According to sources close to Goal, the ex-Dempo man had reportedly left on personal work but it is being reported that he left with all his personal belongings, as a result has also been left out of the eighteen-man squad to face Churchill Brothers, Bagan’s second I-League game on September 28.
The reason for the bust-up seems to be as follows:
Bagan had financed the high-profile capture of Pereira hoping that he would fire instantly for them. Unfortunately injuries had previously weighed down the player and since he was still recovering from them, he wasn’t able to hit top form immediately, which resulted in him being unable to reach anywhere near the brilliance he had shown at Dempo for Bagan to whisk him away without second thoughts.
In a high-level board meeting that ensued, certain Bagan officials questioned and even so far as to ridicule the decision taken by the majority of the board to buy a player, who wasn’t even fully fit for astronomical sums, especially when the club was battling insufficient funds and debt.
It was then decided that the board would ask the player to take a pay cut to facilitate him playing further on in the squad. This hadn’t gone down too well with the Pereira.
Although he played against George Telegraph a Calcutta Football League (CFL) side, providing two assists, he requested leave for personal work at the end of the game for one day. He has since visited Goa and as per rumours seems un-willing to return as he has no interest in taking a pay-cut.
This has added to the chagrin of the Bagan officials, who are now contemplating his release. If so, it comes as a huge blow as the 31 year-old was expected to be the lynchpin for his side in this years I-League and possibly lead them to glory on all fronts.
While Bagan executives and the player remain mum on the issue, it has emerged that Pereira has already been registered as a player for Mohun Bagan to participate in the I-League, as per registration documents with the league’s regulatory body, the AIFF. So any decision that needs to be taken regarding the dissolution of contract will be held with the AIFF fully in the loop and any subsequent final decision as theirs only.
Meanwhile, Manish Bhargav, an attacking midfielder, has already been slated to fill in the boots left vacant by Pereira.
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