I-League 2017-18: Aizawl FC sign former East Bengal and Neroca FC goalkeeper Arup Debnath
What's the story?
I-League title holders sroped in goalkeeper Arup Debnath from newly promoted team Neroca FC. With the I-League round the corner, the side from the North-east signed Debnath as a backup to their first choice player between the sticks.
The former East Bengal man would be eager to make a mark for the North-Eastern side’s title defence. The announcement was made via the club's Twitter account.
In case you didn't know
Aizawl FC’s first appearance in the I-League was in the 2015-16 season after winning the 2015 2nd division of the tournament, thus becoming the first team from Mizoram to qualify for the top tier. Their performance was disappointing during that season, finishing 8th out of the ninve teams participating.
The following year, veteran Khalid Jamil was appointed as head coach of the team. The former Mumbai FC coach did wonders to the team and they created history by winning the I-League, recreating a “Leicester City” performance in the I-League.
The heart of the matter
Arup Debnath is an experienced player and will be more than useful if he is summoned to the playing XI. After beginning his youth career with Steel Authority of India (SAIL), the Kolkata-born started his professional career for East Bengal.
Following that, he played for various clubs like Air India, Mumbai Tigers, Kenkre, Pune FC and finally Neroca, before bring approached by Aizawl FC.
Aizawl FC has a talented side but the absence of mastermind Khalid Jamil will hurt their chances of defending the title this season. Kolkata giants Kingfisher East Bengal recruited the I-League winning coach for a huge sum at the beginning of the season.
Being the I-League champions, Aizawl FC will be playing the qualifying rounds of the AFC Champions League later this season.
To sum it up it is not going to be an easy ride for Aizawl FC as all the foreigners who were instrumental in bringing them Cup glory last year, have all shifted their loyalties to other clubs, which makes their squad fragile.
Playmaker Mahmoud Amnah has moved to East Bengal, defender Kingsley Obumneme will look after the defence of Mohun Bagan, while striker Kamo Bayi is also not part of the team.