Renedy Singh believes current title favourites won't win the I-League
“Make no mistake, I love how they have played this season. But I just don’t it's going to happen this season.”
The I-League is coming down to the business end with only a handful of games left. And surprisingly Aizawl FC, against all odds and expectations, are sitting atop the league. Their fate is in their own hands now. An effervescent East Bengal are three points below and Mohun Bagan - four - although they still have a game in hand.
However, there doesn't seem to be many who believe they can script a Leicester-like fairytale in the Indian footballing scene.
Former Indian skipper Renedy Singh was uncompromising when he took to the field and off it, he doesn’t mince his words and opinions as well. A real difference maker on the pitch, he is making a difference long after he hung up his boots as well as he now heads the Football Players Association of India.
Speaking to Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview, he spoke about the I-League this season, the coming derby and everything in between.
I-League heading for Kolkata; advantage East Bengal?
Renedy Singh is one of the few figures in Kolkata who is loved equally by Mohun Bagan as well as East Bengal fans. After starting off his days in the Red and Gold, he reached his pinnacle under Subrata Bhattacharya when he helped the Mariners capture the National Football League (which has later been christened as the I-League).
“Believe me I would love it Aizawl wins the league. It will be a dream come true and a real boost for the football in the North East.
“But I just feel that they lack that title-winning mentality. They have got here without anyone expecting much of them. And suddenly all eyes are on them. It takes a different kind of mentality to win the title and I don’t really feel that they really can,” quipped the former Indian international.
So if the title is heading back to Kolkata which team is going to have their hands on it?
“If you see the run-in in the last few games barring the Kolkata derby, you have to say that East Bengal have the easier games to look forward to,” Renedy added.
“But, everything will boil down to the derby. It’s not only three points, a loss in that game can be devastating for you mentally. So everything is going to come down to that game.
”I have seen both teams perform and to be honest when I saw Bagan win 3-0 against Bengaluru, I thought they are really hitting peak form. But if you take your mind back to the last derby, they were really coming into the game with some good form.
“But the derby, it takes the form books out of the reckoning. It’s about pressure and who can really handle that. And that’s why I feel it’s going to be another draw. And thus, the advantage should be with East Bengal if it happens so.”