The Biswajit Bhattacharya era at East Bengal kick starts with pre-season training from Tuesday morning.
A total of 19 players are to attend the session on the first day, even though some of the biggest names in the squad were missing. Among the senior players, locals like Mehtab Hossain, Arnab Mondal and Deepak Mandal will be around, but most of the professionals hailing from other states have not reached Kolkata yet.
Among the new recruits present for the camp, Rahul Bheke and Bikash Jairu were the only players who had played the I-League last season.
The Red and Golds have also employed Sammy Omollo, a former Kenya international who had represented both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in the late 90’s, as an assistant coach of the side. Omollo, who was part of the Kenya squad in the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) had also coached local side Mahakama during their promotion to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) before winning it in 2011 with Tusker F.C.
Apart from Biswajit and Omollo, former East Bengal players, namely Debjit Ghosh and Sanjay Maji have now joined the backroom staff.
Biswajit reasoned that the club were deliberately waiting to sign the marquee player as they have confirmed three foreigners for the new season in Bello Rasaq, Do Dong Hyun and Ranti Martins Soleye.
“I will first wait to check whether the definition of a marquee foreigner remains unaltered. Sammy will take care of the physical training and I will specify roles for every supporting staff before the start of the season,” he mentioned.
The foreigners are to arrive in Kolkata by 16th July and join the squad in Kalyani.
The players present will be undergoing medical tests in the next couple of days as a primary assessment of their fitness levels, before the full-fledged practice begins for the season.
The squad will stay in Kalyani for a fortnight starting July 16 as Bhattacharya prescribes a residential camp for an organized pre-season.
Goalkeepers: Luis Barreto, Abhra Mondal, Dibyendu Sarkar
Defenders: Gurwinder Singh, Arnab Mondal, Deepak Mandal, Robert Lalthlamuana, Saumik Dey, Bello Rasaq, (from Mohun Bagan), Avinabo Bag (from Kerala Blasters), Johny Routh (from Mohun Bagan), Rahul Bheke (from Mumbai FC), Samad Ali Mallick (from Rainbow Club), Babu Mondal (Tollygunge Agragami)
Midfielders: Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Mehtab Hossain, Lalrindika Ralte, Anthony Soren, Cavin Lobo, Mohammed Rafique, Alvito D’Cunha, Shylo Malsawmtluanga, Abinash Ruidas, Prohlad Roy, Do Dong Hyun (from NorthEast United), Jagannath Sana (from United Sports Club), Tanmoy Kundu (from Tollygunge Agragami)
Strikers: Ranti Martins Soleye, Jiten Murmu, Bikash Jairu (from Salgaocar), CS Sabeeth (from Mohun Bagan)