I-League: Prayag United Sports Club Sign Experienced Defender Deepak Mandal

The Arjuna Award winner remains in Kolkata to sign a one-year contract with newly rebranded Prayag United Sports Club.
Newly rebranded Prayag United Sports Club have secured the services of experienced defender Deepak Mandal for the 2011-12 season.

The 31-year-old played for Mohun Bagan last season after returning from Asian Cup 2011 but wasn’t offered a new contract by the Mariners. Mandal signed for Prayag on Wednesday and will start training with his new teammates from Thursday.

Speaking to Goal.com, Mandal explained that his desire to remain in Kolkata was one big reason for signing at Prayag.

“I wanted to continue playing in Kolkata so when I got this good offer from Prayag I agreed to sign. I have heard about some of the signings that the club has made but I will have a better idea about the team once I start training,” the former Mahindra player told Goal.com.

The versatile defender also aims to return to the Indian senior national team and also gave his thoughts on India’s ongoing Caribbean tour.

Back in 2002, Mandal produced one of his best performances in national team colours in the 0-0 draw with Jamaica. He opined that the gap between India and the Caribbean nations have decreased in the last nine years.

“My aim would be to have a good season at club level and return to the national team. We played many international friendlies and had several foreign exposure tours under Bob (Houghton) so I believe that has helped decrease the gap between India and the Caribbean nations.

“It is always good to play international matches abroad so I am sure the tour will help the senior team.”

Mandal is another experienced new face in the Prayag United squad as they have already signed the likes of Yusif Yakubu, Lukram James Singh and Jayanta Sen.

The club’s football secretary Mr. Avik Bagchi, who also happens to be the Managing Director of Prayag Group, is happy with the team composition for the upcoming season and also revealed that the club is also making plans about long-term targets like building a fan base.

“Deepak Mandal’s signing will add more experience and quality to our squad. We are also close to signing Kayne Vincent and once that’s done our team will be complete for the new season. Even though we have started our practice a little late, I believe we have the squad to have a good season.

“We are also working hard to give our team a good number of practice matches in pre-season and at the same time we are also looking at long term goals like building a proper fan base,” Mr. Bagchi told Goal.com.

Prayag United started their pre-season preparations on Wednesday morning at Central Park, Salt Lake.

Bello Rassaq was the only foreigner present on the first day of practice under head coach Sanjay Sen but Brazilian striker Josimar and Brazilian fitness trainer Djair Miranda Garcia will join the team’s training on Thursday.

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