The darling of Mohun Bagan fans since 2014-15 season, Sony Norde has now become a thorn in the flesh for the club.
The Haitian winger’s association with Mohun Bagan in the first three seasons was a fairytale story. Norde helped Bagan claim their first I-League and fourth national league title in 2014-15 season and etched his name in the hearts of millions of Green and Maroon loyalists.
He also helped the club win the Federation Cup the following season. He made several match winning contributions and was the first name on the team-sheet.
However, things began to worsen last year after Mohun Bagan’s fourth round I-League fixture against Churchill Brothers at the Barasat Stadium.
Although Mohun Bagan won the match 5-0, Norde suffered a knee injury. The knock aggravated over the course of next few games which eventually led to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL injury. As a consequence, he was forced leave club midway into the season in tears.
There were serious concerns over his fitness at the beginning of the 2018-19 I-League season as Bagan decided to re-sign Norde just nine months after his knee surgery.
Norde returned to Kolkata amidst a lot of tension and appeared for a medical test. Surprisingly he was given a green signal by the club physiotherapist Samiran Nag and Norde signed for Mohun Bagan for the fifth consecutive season.
The Bagan star has played 234 minutes in the league so far. He has appeared in four of the 10 matches Bagan have played and has started in mere two.
Norde’s absence has seriously affected the club’s fortunes who find themselves in the fifth position on the league table with 15 points from 10 matches.
On Friday, the Kolkata giants suffered their third defeat of the I-League against NEROCA FC in Imphal. Former Bagan defender Eduardo Ferreira broke the deadlock in the first half which was cancelled out by Henry Kisekka’s header around the hour mark.
Aryn Williams scored the winning goal from a melee inside the box to confirm three crucial points for NEROCA.
The defeat further raised the question which has been whispered in the Maidan circles – Whether Bagan should consider bringing in a replacement of the half-fit Norde in the January transfer window.
The team is clearly lacking a leader in the attacking third, a role which Norde had epitomized.
In the present scenario, Norde is unable to reprise the same role due to poor fitness. He is currently out of action due to a hamstring injury and no date has been set on when the winger would return.
If Bagan are serious about their title challenge, they surely need the services of Norde. In his absence, Bagan have struggled and the poor decision to sign him has certainly come back to bite the Green and Maroon brigade.