East Bengal hand coach Menendez two-year contract extension
Kolkata, March 6 (IANS) Title contenders East Bengal on Wednesday announced a two-year contract extension for their coach Alejandro Menendez.
The red and gold brigade are currently placed second in the I-League table, one point adrift of leaders Chennai City FC going into the final round.
An away win over Gokulam Kerala FC on March 9 and a defeat for Chennai at home against Minerva Punjab FC on the same day could see the Kolkata giants bag their maiden title since the rechristening of the league in 2007.
"I believe in the new management for the support and trust they have built in me and I am delighted to continue this relationship for next two years and build East Bengal as a world class club," Menendez said.
"The dominating performance by the team this season guided by our Head Coach Alejandro is taking the team in the right direction. This investment has worked very well for the brand Equity of Quess, while taking the footballing accolades of East Bengal Club to greater heights. We continue to support him to take the team to the next level," club chairman Ajit Isaac said.
Besides still being in the title race, East Bengal have bagged the bragging rights in the Kolkata derby twice in the I-League by beating Mohun Bagan, a feat which is being repeated only after 14 seasons.
The last time they won two back-to-back derbies, they went on to win the National Football League.
Menendez also played a big role in recruiting foreigners like Jaime Santos Colado, Antonio Rodriguez Dovale, Spanish defender Borja Gomez and Mexican striker Enrique Esqueda who have all done reasonably well.
Under the Spaniard, several Indian players have also shown signs of improvement, the most being Kerala striker Jobby Justin who is their highest scorer.
Menendez, though, will miss the services of Justin in their crucial next game as he has been handed a six-match ban by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) disciplinary committee for spitting on Aizawl FC defender Kareem Omolaja.
East Bengal are presently on 39 points after 19 outings, having won 12 games, drawn three and lost four.