I-League 2018-19: The evils of the past haunting East Bengal?

Substandard recruitment taking a toll as Alejandro Menendez's East Bengal struggle on the field....

A mundane East Bengal succumbed to their third consecutive defeat in the ongoing I-League 2018/19 season as they went down 1-0 against reigning champions Minerva Punjab on Tuesday in Kolkata.

William Opoku scored the only goal of the match in the 77th minute to seal a crucial away win for Paul Munster’s side. They climbed to the second position in the league table after the victory. 

Coach Alejandro Menendez finally deployed his fourth available foreigner Kassim Aidara in the East Bengal starting lineup after four matches but surprisingly he partnered his former teammate from Minerva, Kamalpreet Singh instead of Lalrindika Ralte.

The decision to field Aidara and Kamalpreet together was a bit baffling considering both the players are of a destructive nature rather than creative. Thus East Bengal lacked creativity in midfield throughout the match.

The Red and Golds have not shown any improvement in their game football, something the club loyalists expected when the club had announced the arrival of a high profile coach like Alejandro Menendez back in September.

A lot was expected from the former Real Madrid Castilla manager but unfortunately, the results so far have been disappointing. 

East Bengal I-League

However, the question is can Alejandro be blamed for the mess which East Bengal find themselves in? Quess Corp’s arrival as the club’s investor came as a blessing the millions of fans who were starving for success and demanded professionalism from the management. 

Quess came on board in July and took charge of the club only in September. The one thing fans must remember is that by the time the investors took over, 80 per cent of the recruitment was already done. 

There were several questionable signings made by the previous management which includes the controversial signing of Sukhdev Singh which led to the transfer ban on the club. Even though it was revoked, the three-month-long ban has certainly affected East Bengal’s plans this season. 

So if questions are raised now on East Bengal’s performance, it has to be kept in mind that neither Quess nor Alejandro handpicked the core of the current team.

East Bengal is basically a work in progress and the Spanish coach is building this team from the scratch. Although they look poor on the field, the fans must not give up on the coach.

Also, it is up to the new management to provide him with the best possible foreign recruits now that the transfer ban has been revoked. The 23-year-old Jaime Santos Colado is on his way to join the club. They should also get an alternative to Mahmoud Al Amna who has been struggling with injuries for the past two seasons.