There are speculations that Mohun Bagan may recall Subrata Bhattacharya to guide the boat which has been struggling to stay afloat. The 0-2 defeat in the I-League opener against Lajong SC last week has led to the irate fans launching verbal attacks on the club officials.
It’s a possibility, given Bagan’s last three years’ record, the club may even show the exit door to the current coach Santosh Kashyap, who had replaced Bhattacharya early this season.
But the Federation Cup debacle has made the officials wake up to a stark reality that all isn’t well with this century-old club which haven’t won a single trophy in the last three years.
What might also baffle their fans is that Bagan had selected some of those players who were released by East Bengal since 2009. Only Syed Rahim Nabi continued with the red and gold brigade before the India player switched to Bagan last year. Khelemba Singh, Aibor Singh, Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Nirmal Chhetri have now found a place in Kashyap’s squad.
Bagan coach is in a spot of bother as he hasn’t done anything wondrous to convince the fans that the worst days are over. The club’s forthcoming fixture against in-form Prayag United (October 12) will be another difficult test for the former Air India coach, who many feel lack those essential qualities to handle a ‘big’ team.
The difficulty for Kashyap is the delicate task of finding a balance in the team despite having one of the best set of strikers — Tolgay Ozbey and Odafa Okolie.
I agree the team was beset with injuries to key players. Ozbey, Nabi, CS Sabeeth and Wadoo were either injured or sick at the start of the Federation Cup. But Kashyap can’t escape with excuses. After all, being at the helm, he should have managed the team in a better way.
They can, in fact, look at their city rivals East Bengal for encouragement. A well-built side, Trevor Morgan has made the red and gold brigade as one of the best teams from Calcutta. The Englishman has held on to the same team since 2010 and earned accolades for excellent work after recently guiding the team to their second Federation Cup win in three years.
Meanwhile, if Bhattacharya is asked to take charge, I doubt if it’s really going to help Bagan, who finished fourth in the last I-League. During his stint as team’s Technical Director, Bhattacharya was more of a tyrant. With his scornful looks and abusive words, Babluda definitely isn’t the best of the coaches around. Still, both the club insiders and fans feel, Bhattacharya can help them banish the demons.
He uses his pep talk to good effect as he remains an iconic player who had never ditched Bagan during his 17-year-long playing career. But that logic doesn’t work here.
The club have to make a clean break. But unfortunately, there is nobody better equipped to pull together the fractured parts and regain team’s lost goodwill.
Ideally, the club must look for a thoughtful, educated coach who is experienced enough to navigate the boat.