East Bengal desperately need to return to winning ways, as the Red and Gold face Police AC in the Calcutta Football League (CFL). Coach Armando Colaco has already suggested that the much vaunted youth policy he had vowed to promulgate could be dropped as he goes searching for his win.
“Another loss or a draw will dent our confidence severely. So in the CFL match against Police AC, I will field an experienced team,” revealed Colaco after a training session.
“Our start was not on expected lines and so, the pressure is back on us. If we lose two matches in a row, it will deal a severe blow to our title ambitions. That is why I’m planning to change the composition of the team,” elucidated Colaco, who suffered his first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Mohammedan Sporting, in the opening tie.
Veteran defender Deepak Mandal is expected to return alongside Harmanjyot Singh Khabra, Joaquim Abranches, Cavin Lobo and Baljit Sahni. Ranti Martins, who seemed to aggravate an ankle injury, could also feature in the starting eleven.
“It’s not end of the road. Youngsters will get their chance. But it’s a long process. They will take time to fire. But they are exciting prospects. My focus on youth development program remains the same but, right now, I’m thinking of nothing but a win against Police AC,” added the veteran tactician.
“Ranti told me he is fit for the match. But I cannot take any chance with him. I will take a call on Wednesday morning,” Colaco confirmed.
The ex-Dempo coach seemed perturbed by the condition of the pitch, whining, “The ground is too hard. I have asked the groundsmen to water it down on Wednesday morning. Let me see how it goes against Police AC. If things do not change, I will ask the officials to shift our match either in Kalyani or Barasat.”
Coach of Police AC, Chima Okerie, who has put in some impressive performances in East Bengal colours in the nineties, revealed CFL title ambitions, stating, “Why not? Why should we not dream big? East Bengal can be a big team, but we are no pushovers. We will not bow down without a fight. East Bengal are coming into the match with a loss and this is the right time for my team to take advantage of the situation."