I-League 2018-19: Mohun Bagan- Season Preview, Squad, Probable XI, Prediction
India's most loved football competition, the I-League will start in less than a couple of weeks and the teams have been given ample time to prepare for the same. The 2018-19 season sees one new team, Real Kashmir (promoted from I-League second division) introduced to the fold, making it an 11-team league for this season.
Chennai City F.C kick-off the season on 26th October when they come up against Indian Arrows. Mohun Bagan will travel to Kozhikode the next day to face Gokulam Kerala at 5 PM.
Mohun Bagan Squad and Probable XI
The Green and Maroons named their 24-man squad in July ahead of the Calcutta Football League and since then have only strengthened after re-signing two of their star players from last season, Yuta Kinowaki and the fan-favourite, Sony Norde.
Shilton Paul will be the first choice keeper with Ricardo Cardozo signed from Churchill Brothers serving as a back-up for him. In defence, Arijit Bagui is likely to retain his right back spot while Kingsley and Lalchhawnkima will be the first choice centre back partnership with Amey Ranawade waiting in the wings. Abhishek Ambekar would be the first choice left back with both Gurjinder Das and Abinash Ruidas capable of playing in that position.
Sourav Das and Tirthankar Sarkar will be fighting for the central midfield spot alongside either Yuto Kinowaki or Darren Caldeira. The experienced Mehtab Hossain and Basant Singh would be waiting for their opportunity as well. Mallick seems like the first choice for the right wing spot with Pintu Mahata, Avinash Ruidas and Britto PM fighting for the left wing spot.
Aser Dipanda Dicka, the I-League golden boot winner for the last two seasons, is expected to start alongside Henry Kisekka but both should be consistent enough to convince the manager to retain their starting spot with Sony Norde available for competitive action from the second or third week of the I-League season. The 24-year old, Jiten Murmu would also be waiting for his chance in the wings.
Full squad for the 2018-19 I-League season
Shilton Paul, Shankar Roy, Ricardo Cardozo, Mainak Akuli
Arijit Bagui, Amey Ranawade, Lalchhawnkima, Kingsley (Nigeria), Abhishek Ambekar, Gurjinder Kumar,
William Lalnunfela, Shilton D’Silva, Darren Caldeira, Moinuddin Khan, Yuta Kinowaki (Japan), Tirthankar Sarkar, Avinash Ruidas, Sourav Das, Pintu Mahata, Britto PM, Mehtab Hossain, Omar Elhusseiny (Egypt), Basant Singh
Aser Parrick Dipanda Dicka (Cameroon), Henry Kisekka (Uganda), Jiten Murmu, Azharuddin Mallick, Sony Norde (Haiti)
*Foreign players in italics
Mohun Bagan Manager
After the departure of the much loved Sanjoy Sen who brought an end to Mohun Bagan's trophy drought, Sankarlal Chakraborty took over the reigns at the club permanently.
Chakraborty has been at Mohun Bagan since 2014 and since then has worked as assistant manager to both Subhash Bhowmick and Sanjoy Sen. He also managed the team in the Calcutta Football League 2017 when Sen had to take rest due to medical reasons.
The 42-year old impressed last year in the CFL and has also brought an end to the CFL trophy drought at the club as he helped Mohun Bagan win the coveted trophy after a gap of nine years and would be hoping to bring an end to the I-League trophy drought at the club as well.
Predictions for Mohun Bagan
Mohun Bagan has been in the top 3 of the I-League for the last four seasons, winning the coveted trophy in 2014-15 as well. With one of the strongest squads in the I-League this season, the Kolkata-based club would be hoping to win the title.
With Streamcast coming in as a sponsor for Mohun Bagan, the club would receive 200 crore rupees over the next ten years. This, in turn, increases the possibility of the club's management bidding for the Indian Super League spot in November.
The Mariners would be upbeat about their chances of winning the I-League this season after lifting the Calcutta Football League trophy after a gap of nine years. Also, the possibility of this season becoming their last season in the I-League is very high, so, fans would be hoping for a last I-League title before they move on to greener pastures.
Prediction: Runners up