The Kolkata derby is finally upon us. As a match that the nation regularly looks forward to, this time is no different as the heavy weights of the City of Joy viz. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, slug it out for more than just plain bragging rights. This time around the Green and Maroons face their old foes emerging from a failed tenure of Marcos Falopa and transitioning to a new dawn under new coach, the ever venerable, Armando Colaco. They, like their neighbours, are floundering in mid-table obscurity, therefore this tie, like ties of yore, will be of improvised significance.
Ahead of the game, Chidi Edeh and Armando Colaco have expressed optimism at the possibility of swinging the tie their way and using this as a result to catapult the team out of the quagmire they find themselves in as of now.
“Yes, scoring four goals in that game was truly a memorable experience. But getting a hat-trick is not the only priority. I’ll have to try and put up a performance, which ensures our team is on the winning side. Victory is all what matters,” elucidated Chidi, who will face one of his former teams in Bagan. The fans of East Bengal will no doubt hope he replicates the form he played with while facing the Red and Gold a few years earlier, as he helped the Mariners romp to victory. The Maroon and Greens’ fans will no doubt bay for his blood.
“The training methods of every coach vary. But it doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy our previous coach’s ways. However, Colaco is our teacher now and we are his students. We need to follow whatever he says. And to talk of first day’s practice session, it was pretty good,” said Edeh, in a clear-the-air fashion, to The Telegraph.
Ex-India and Dempo coach Armando Colaco, who incidentally completed his first training session with the squad, was ecstatic with the form shown by Chidi in their recent Calcutta Football League (CFL) exploits.
“This was my first training session with a Kolkata club and I feel happy. It was really nice and enjoyable. With the support and encouragement of the fans and the team management, I think this will be a good experience for me,” expounded the Goan to The Time Of India, as he took over official duties from the recently departed Brazilian coach Marcos Falopa.
Colaco, while no stranger to ties of significance, having collected a vast number of titles in both the National Football League (NFL) and I-League, revealed he was confident of a positive outcome in his first game as the coach of the Kolkata outfit.
“It is of course challenging to take charge at this time but I am okay with it. I am excited and not feeling the pressure of the occasion. It feels great that I will be in charge of the team on that special day. We are confident, but no matter what happens on that day, life will move on.”
The coach also explained that though foreign coaches with experience were welcome to coach in the I-League, domestically bred coaches held the advantage as they understood the hinges of Indian society, culture and environment, better.
“It is different and a bit emotional as well. I did not want to leave Dempo, but the management there wanted someone new, someone young. I had to take the next step and then East Bengal came calling. I am happy with the faith they have reposed in me,” elaborated the coach, comparing his first day with Dempo to that of East Bengal, more than a decade apart.
“Chidi, I feel, is in peak form right now. To be precise, he has peaked at the right time that keeps the team in fine fettle before such an important clash. Uga Okpara and James Moga have little niggles and Ryuji Sueoka has a problem with his nails. There are a couple of days to go and I am hopeful they will be in shape by match day,” concluded the coach.
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