Mohun Bagan’s trophy drought officially ends by default
Karim Bencherifa will only take over as head coach of Mohun Bagan on Monday but the green-and-maroon brigade’s trophy drought ended by default on Sunday as they were officially crowned champions of the Airlines Gold Cup, a tournament they won after Mohammedan Sporting refused to play the final due to the frequent change of dates of the final.
The tournament organising committee had declared Mohun Bagan the champions two weeks back after Mohammedan Sporting’s walkover and the official announcement was made in a press conference at the Airlines club tent in Kolkata on Sunday.
It was under Bencherifa, who arrived in Kolkata on Sunday evening, that Mohun Bagan last won a trophy and it was the Calcutta Football League title in the 2009-10 season.
The tournament started in August but the final was deferred several times with police unavailability being the most recurring reason given by the organisers. Mohun Bagan actually played just one match in the tournament and that was a 3-0 win over George Telegraph in the semi-finals, with Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting also being given an automatic entry into the last four.
That 3-0 victory against George Telegraph came in September with Tolgay Ozbey bagging a brace and Jewel Raja netting the other. And based on that match, funnily some individual awards were also given. Odafa Okolie won the ‘player of the final’ award, and Jewel bagged the ‘goal of the final’ prize.
Mohun Bagan were also given a President’s Cup which was introduced this year while Janbazar SC were given the fair play award despite playing just one match. Bhowanipore’s young midfielder Dipendu Dowary got the highest scorer award.
There have been mixed reactions from Mohun Bagan supporters considering the bizarre way their wait for silverware ended but as per history now, Bagan’s trophy drought is over and they can now look forward to Bencherifa’s second spell at the club.