As the I-League season 2013-14 approaches, Goal introduces each of the 13 competitors, while in this edition we take a look at the Black Panthers from the City of Joy
Mohammedan Sporting Club
Last season's performance:(Winners, I-League Division II) - Last season Mohammedan set the stage on fire, with a stupendous run of form, that left their adversaries in the wake. They gained promotion to the 2013-14 I-Leagues by winning the 2013 I-League Second Division. They did so with a game in hand.
The Black and Whites haven’t had a good campaign in the top division the last two times when they made the cut. They shall hope to erase the memories of the past by putting in a commendable performance at home against Pune FC.
| THE COACH
The Nigerian national took over the reins that Alok Mukherji decided to part with and was almost an instantaneous success. In a career spanning a decade, Moshood (Bola) played professionally for FC Llves, Ponnitus, Huima and FC Kontu in Finlad.
He coached Finnish side Atlantis FC, a Second Division club in Finland. He was also the appointed Director of Coaching for the youth team Atlantis FC Akatemia. Under his tutelage, the team went from mere underpinnings of the Finnish league, to the league’s most pertinacious opponents.
He is known for his tough, standardized technical training method and stringent application of discipline. It has been revealed that Aziz is looking work wonders with the present team at his disposal.
| TRANSFER DEALINGS
TRANSFERS IN: The Kolkata outfit have been one of the biggest spenders of the summer having brought in the likes of Tolgay Ozbey, Josimar Silva, Luciano Sobrosa and Penn Orji.
Aussie Ozbey, who quit Mohun Bagan during the 2012-13 season, after Bagan expressed no intention of retaining his services, was quickly snapped by Mohammedan. He helped the team win the Durand Cup. His pairing with Penn Orji, a great steal from East Bengal, will be highly scrutinized as the two linked up fabulously at their previous club, with Orji creating a large number of chances of Tolgay to score.
Sobrosa is among the Salgaocar players who moved to Kolkata
Luciano Sabrosa, the 34 year-old experienced campaigner, has also signed on from Salgaocar, whom he had captained to I-League triumph in the gist of his career. This adds much needed steel and backbone to the Mohammedan squad, when they go neck-to-neck with the other heavyweights.
Josimar Silva has also signed on for the Panthers, spearheading a fearful attack, when on song. He is expected to be supported by Ashim Biswas. Ajay Singh, a former JCT prodigy has also signed on from Churchill.
TRANSFERS OUT: Kingshuk Debnath, Bengkok Nameirakpam, both left for Mohun Bagan, while Rohit Kalshotra put pen to paper for Pune FC. Alfred K. Jaryan and Arnab Das Sharma signed up for Mumbai FC, and Mumbai Tigers FC respectively.
| FORMATION AND TACTICS
The coach as per the Durand Cup, looks for plenty of width, while Samson's job is to try and find the man out wide. Tolgay has a floating role and while Penn Orji will also play similarly, as he did at East Bengal. Josimar is the big target man in the box for the crosses, Collin is the wing-back who seems to have the most license to move forward.
Ajay Singh looks good on the ball and is an option from the bench.
Man to Watch - Tolgay Ozbey
Tolgay Ozbey will be raring to go, after the bitter experiences he had with Bagan last season. His excellent work rate, coupled with superb speed and shooting prowess will give any opposition’s defence the jitters.
| SEASON'S TARGET
After laying claim to the 126th Durand Cup earlier this month in Delhi, Mohammedan can only hope things get better. Their experiences of the last two campaigns, where they were sent immediately back down into the 2nd division will be fresh in their memory, but with a well-equipped squad and a new coach, they will be hoping to push for a mid-table position.
Anything beyond the immediate relegation zone will be an achievement for the team in reality. They are the dark horses of the competition as a number of high-profile sigings have given them the edge in certain areas.
The die-hard fans of the Kolkata club will hope for a much improved team once the season starts.
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