Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen has taken up issue with Indian national team coach Stephen Constantine after the Englishman shot down The Mariners' goalkeeper Debjit Majumder's national team prospects after the Kolkata derby on 12th February.
Constantine, who was present at the game, had bluntly commented that he would not consider Debjit for selection to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualifiers which begin in March despite his impressive performance in the game.
Constantine, evidently, had not forgotten the episode in March 2016 when Debjit was forced to snub a national team call-up in favour of playing an I-League game for Mohun Bagan. "I called him up in our squad and he failed to show up. End of story. He is not interested even though I called him into the India game," the 54-year old had said on Sunday.
But Sen, before his team set out to Mumbai for their midweek I-League fixture, tore into the Englishman, labelling his comments as shameful. "It's unfortunate and unprecedented that a coach says he's shutting the door on a player when a former footballer involved with an association to safeguard the interest of footballers is around. It's shameful... I strongly protest against this," he vented. Sen went on to assert that his goalkeeper was a strong character and will not be ruffled by these comments.
The former footballer Sen was referring to was the legendary Indian striker Bhaichung Bhutia, who was the first president of Football Players Association of India (FPAI) which safeguards the interests of players. Moreover, Renedy Singh, the association's current president, was also present at the venue.
Bhaichung Bhutia, a former Mohun Bagan striker himself, told The Times of India that he would not interfere in selection policies. "As a (former) player, I may feel sad for someone, but one has to respect the coach's decision. It's the coach's prerogative to pick his team. I can't interfere in his job," he was quoted as saying.