Mohun Bagan were one of the most consistent sides in Indian football in the last three seasons. They won the I-League once and finished runner-up twice. Last season they were very close to winning their fifth title, only to falter in the last lap where they lost to eventual champions Aizawl FC.
The key to Bagan’s success in the last few seasons was their core squad which comprised of players like Pritam Kotal, Debjit Majumder, Souvik Chakraborty, Pronay Halder and several others.
Most of these players have left the team this season and joined the Indian Super League (ISL). This has forced Bagan to reconstruct the squad and start afresh.
Speaking about his team, coach Sanjoy Sen said, “The team is almost new. Last year we were able to beat Minerva Punjab and this season also we expect the same outcome.”
“We came very late in Ludhiana yesterday; we reached very late due to flight problem. As we are playing an away match so it would have been better if we had an extra session of practice but now we need to deal with what we have in hand.”
“The pre-season is all about the preparation for the season and not much about the results. If you look at our match against FC Pune City which we lost by 4-1 the result could have been a lot different as we created much more chances than the opposition. So I feel content with that performance and expect a great game tomorrow.”
Minerva Punjab FC have accumulated a very young squad this season. Speaking about his team, newly appointed coach Wankhem Khogen Singh said, “There have been many changes since last year for Minerva Punjab. We have selectively picked up a pretty young side. Most of our players are in their early twenties which suggest we believe in our youth system.”
The club signed five new foreigners this season while retaining the services of Lago Dagbo Bei.
“Some of the foreign signing for this season are Toshiya who hails from Japan and plays in the defensive midfield position. Another great prospect is Kassim from Senegal who partners Toshiya in midfield”, the Manipuri coach added.