I-League 2017: East Bengal set to oust under-performing Willis Plaza
What's the story?
East Bengal striker Willis Plaza is facing opposition from club officials as well as fans. The 30-year-old could soon be on his way out even as the club is said to have began its search for his replacement.
With Plaza underperforming, East Bengal are said to be looking at former striker Ranti Martins and ex-Mohun Bagan forward Darryl Duffy as possible replacements.
In case you didn't know
In the club's first training session after their loss to Mohun Bagan, East Bengal fans sounded agitated and made their displeasure clear with chants of 'Go Back' aimed at coach Khalid Jamil and striker Plaza.
Plaza joined East Bengal last season and was fairly successful as he notched a tally of 13 goals in the I-League. This season, however, the forward has struggled to open his account in the two matches played so far. His poor performances in front of the goal and the derby loss have caused the fans to revolt against the striker.
The heart of the matter
For Plaza's replacement, the two major names that have cropped up are former Ranti Martins and Darrel Duffy. Martins, who formerly played for the Red and Gold, has stated that he can join them but only in January. He is currently staying in the United States to complete his 'Green Card' formalities.
Duffy, a former Mohun Bagan player, is currently playing for St Mirren in the second tier of Scotland. Duffy is being touted as the more probable choice as he has not been getting enough playtime at St Mirren.
It will be interesting to see what the East Bengal management decides in the near future for the replacement of Plaza and how their coach Khalid Jamil handles the decision. East Bengal's next match will be against Shillong Lajong at the Barasat Stadium on Saturday.
The displeasure of the fans, so early in the I-League season, shows the immense pressure faced by players in East Bengal. The team management was wise to stick to Jamil as he delivered them with their record CFL title. Whoever comes in place of Plaza will have to deliver quickly in order to satisfy the ever so demanding supporters of the club.