It took a while, but the eventual transition of SC East Bengal from the I-League to the Indian Super League has finally happened. The club has also followed arch-rivals, Mohun Bagan, to the league. Incidentally, the Kolkata Derby played against ATK Mohun Bagan will mark the much-awaited ISL debut for SC East Bengal.
While the management team of SC East Bengal has been working tirelessly in the backend, the focus now shifts to the activities on the field. The appointment of Robbie Fowler at the helm has been a sign of positive intent with the former Liverpool striker currently going about his staff and player recruitment.
Ahead of the season, Fowler has managed to name a strong and well-balanced squad on paper with several of the players who have worked with him in the past. The recruitment of Indian talent has also been noticeable with the likes of Narayan Das, Balwant Singh, and Eugeneson Lyngdoh signing for SC East Bengal as well.
Let's take a look at the squad composition and the fixtures for SC East Bengal ahead of the 2020-21 Indian Super league.
SC East Bengal- The head coach
Robbie Fowler is famous for his time with Liverpool. Having spent a significant portion of his career with the Reds, Fowler has several accolades to his name as a player. He has the distinction of netting the second-fastest hat-trick in the 1995 League Cup final against Arsenal.
However, while his record as a player has been par excellence, Fowler's record as a manager has been under scrutiny in the media. The 45-year-old's managerial career has seen him in charge of Muangthong United in Thailand and Brisbane Roar in Australia.
Fowler's football philosophy as a manager focuses on a balanced style of play, with midfielders having a huge role to play. At times, he has also preferred a predominantly defensive strategy by shoring up the defensive unit and building a fortress at the home venue.
With Brisbane Roar, this style of play yielded mixed results. For instance, the 4-3 win over Melbourne City might have witnessed an expansive style of play with the midfield heavily involved, while a 5-1 loss at the hands of Sydney FC was evidence of a failed defensive strategy.
While Fowler does bring in a strict set of values and a pre-defined philosophy, it remains to be seen what style of play he will bring in with the current group of players in his squad at the moment.
Inspired by Jurgen Klopp, the manager of current Premier League title-holders Liverpool, Fowler has appointed Terry McPhillips as the set-piece coach. Anthony Grant, who served as Fowler's assistant at Brisbane Roar, rejoin the 45-year-old as an assistant with East Bengal.
Opening with the Kolkata Derby
The ongoing COVID-19 protocols and safety measures have thrown a spanner into the pre-season preparations of the Indian Super League. No club has been hit more than SC East Bengal, given the fact that they have only four weeks to prepare ahead of their opening fixture against ATK Mohun Bagan on the 27th of November.
The Tilak Maidan Stadium will host the first of two Kolkata Derbies in the ISL, something that will mark the debut of SC East Bengal in the league. Fowler's men will then face a rejuvenated Mumbai City FC followed by NorthEast United FC and Jamshedpur FC.
The final fixture of the first-leg of matches for SC East Bengal will be played against Bengaluru FC at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao. SC East Bengal has a tough set of fixtures to begin the campaign with, but coach Robbie Fowler will be hoping that the players can put their best foot forward.
Goalkeepers: Mirshad Michu, Sankar Roy, Debjit Majumder, Rafique Ali Sardar
Defenders: Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Samad Ali Mallick, Abhishek Ambekar, Narayan Das, Mohammad Irshad, Gurtej Singh, Rohen Singh, Lalramchullova, Rana Gharami
Midfielders: Senhaj Singh, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Wahengbam Angousana, Bikash Jairu, Yumnam Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Meiti, Mohammed Rafique
Forwards: Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpheklua, Anthony Pilkington
Predicted XI: Mirshad Michu, Scott Neville, Gurtej Singh, Daniel Fox, Narayan Das, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Bikash Jairu, Anthony Pilkington, Jeje LalphekluaPublished 31 Oct 2020, 14:04 IST