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The Moroccan coach is ready for the Bengaluru challenge as the Mariners hope for a good start to their season...

GOALBY   RAHUL BALI     Follow @rahulatma on twitter

Karim Bencherifa played an important role for Mohun Bagan last season as he guided them to safety after their points were docked following the infamous drama at the Kolkata derby last year.

In a summer where their transfer dealings weren’t successful given the number of players they had intended to, Bencherifa doesn’t have enough depth in his team as he only has a total of 19 experienced players to call upon – which is a far too less a number for a side which is hoping to win the league title.

With Anthony Pereira ruled out of the first game due to his squabble with the officials over a pay cut, Bencherifa prefers to focus on the personnel he has at his disposal.

“Like every season, I have prepared the team for different formations – 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 with the variation of 4-4-1-1 and 4-4-2 flat. It’s the start of the season and gradually we will find out what’s the best for every game depending on how the players adapt,” he explained while talking to Goal.

Katsumi Yusa has been their stellar signing of the summer after they fought with East Bengal in order to land the ONGC midfielder. The Japanese has been a top player in the Indian football circuit for the last three seasons.

“I could use Katsumi as a midfielder or as an attacking half. It depends,” he said.

Amongst the Indian contingent, Sporting Clube de Goa’s Mr. Versatile, namely Adil Khan, was roped in and Bencherifa stated that he preferred the player to play in the midfield as opposed to defense.

Much has been made of Eric Muranda’s transfer after the club failed in their effort to lure the bigger names. However the Kenyan has made a bright start to his career in Kolkata.

“He has been around for a week. He played 25 minutes in the first game and completed the second game. He already has an assist and a goal to his name. He is strong, not bad with the ball. He can play upfront and on the flanks,” said Bencherifa.

The Moroccan coach also praised the artificial surface at the Bangalore Football Stadium and said, “I am not a big fan of artificial pitches but I feel that the artificial pitch in Bangalore is the best in India.”

He was also pleased with the hospitality offered by Bengaluru FC and referred to them as an “organised club.”


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