Damned if you do, damned if you didn't - Sanjoy Sen's sacking was a matter of time

Even after steadying the ship at Prayag United, no one was surprised when Sanjoy Sen was finally given his marching orders....
 Ayush Srivastava
 Analysis | India
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As informed by Goal.com almost a week in advance, the axe has finally fallen on Prayag United’s coach Sanjoy Sen.

While Santosh Kashyap’s sacking after just 2 games into the season led to plenty of hue and cry amongst the neutrals, Sen’s sacking, even after leading Prayag United to a respectable start, hardly shocked anyone.

For any seasoned observer of the game, that the 51 year old’s fate was sealed the moment the Kolkatan outfit decided to go shopping for stars like Carlos Hernandez and Ranti Martins. Sen’s folly was just that he was not high-profile enough for this makeover.

He was like an Indian version of Antoine Kombouare, who was sacked by Paris Saint-Germain, even though the club was at the top of Ligue 1. His fault was that Carlo Ancelotti happened to be in search of a job and the owners fancied a big name at the helm.

Dempo SC’s coach Armando Colaco, one of the most decorated coaches in the Indian circuit, brilliantly summed up Prayag’s fixation with a foreign coach and Sanjoy Sen’s predicament in an interview with Goal.com recently.

"Hasn't Sanjoy Sen done wonders with that club? Look at the football they are playing. Our people don't have trust in our own players and coaches. They feel that an Indian coach will not know anything about football. That attitude has to go," pointed the 59-year old coach.

United SC had made a good start under Sen...

Handed almost a completely new set of players, it looked like Sanjoy Sen would be gone the moment his club were knocked out of the group stages in the Federation Cup with Salgaocar FC, Pune FC and United Sikkim being the other three teams in the cluster.

He held on however, even though the clock seemed to be ticking on his time at Prayag United.

With the start of the new league season, the Kolkatan outfit seemed a much better unit, as it looked like Sanjoy Sen had finally moulded the squad into a unit to his liking and the players were also responding to his methods.

Ranti Martins even compared him to the aforementioned Armando Colaco! But one loss later, the “Kolkatan Colaco” finds himself out of a job.

The fact that the topmost hierarchy at the club were reportedly already in talks with Eelco Schattorie when the team was still unbeaten, shows how patience is in short supply in Kolkata. Three of the four clubs based from the city started with a new manager at the helm this season and Sanjoy Sen has now joined Santosh Kashyap on the unemployed queue.

What makes the decision even further illogical is that the officials have waited till the time that the squad finally became familiar with Sen’s tactics to hand him the pink slip.

While the 51-year old would have justifiably felt hard done-by, if he was relieved of his duties before the campaign began, atleast the new coach would get a chance to start with a clean slate.

Gotta start all over again, guys...

Now the current set of footballers will be asked to forget whatever tactical work they have done under Sanjoy Sen and start from scratch under the Dutch coach with a new philosophy.

Their star player, Ranti Martins hinted at the same in a chat with Goal.com before the axe fell on Sen, as he had commented, "I'm sure that the officials understand that changing the coach at this stage can affect the entire team, and not that he (Sanjoy Sen) is a bad coach. He's a good coach who has been with the side for a long time.

"Bringing in a new coach will be difficult for the team especially. Getting a lot of new players from outside also could change the composition of the side,"
he had then further added.

So if the players now appear confused, you can’t really blame them!

What Eelco Schattorie should also remember is that with results demanded right from the start, he cannot himself afford a poor beginning to his Indian adventure. Scapegoats are sought if a team goes even slightly off-course, and more often than not, the coach has to bite the bullet.

As for Sanjoy Sen, there were talks he would be moved on to a Technical Director position but he probably declined the new position, perhaps wisely. Since all it would have done is give the club officials a second chance in the future to take the spotlight off them, if results didn’t go the club’s way.

He now gets a chance to start afresh elsewhere, and given the trigger happy environment of Indian football, it might not be long before he gets another opportunity to prove himself!

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