Following their 3-1 win over Kerala Blasters in an ISL pre-season friendly, many have begun to look at SC East Bengal as a potential side for a playoff spot. Their squad for the upcoming season looks compact thanks to Robbie Fowler, who made a few signings immediately upon his arrival.
Jeje Lalpekhlua, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, and Narayan Das are a few of the names whom East Bengal brought in from other clubs. The addition of Anthony Pilkington, Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Daniel Fox signaled a positive intent ahead of the new season.
However, there have been a few players who are part of the club but are not registered. Let's take a look at five of these players.
#1 Lalrindika Ralte
Lalrindika Ralte, also known to many as Didika, first came to prominence in Indian football in the 2011 edition of the Durand Cup with the Churchill Brothers. The Goa-based club would go on to win the trophy with Didika making two appearances and scoring one goal. It wasn't long before East Bengal came calling with the Indian national team following suit.
However, those days seem to be gone as Ralte now finds himself omitted from the SC East Bengal squad list for the upcoming ISL season. The 28-year-old managed to win the ISL title with ATK in 2017 and made the last of his 14 appearances for the national team in 2015.
#2 Boithang Haokip
Boithang Haokip's time with Shillong Lajong was a particularly good one. Having come through the ranks, Haokip would spend eight years at the club, witnessing promotions and relegations within the I-League. With the advent of the ISL, Haokip was initially snapped up by NorthEast United FC and then by Bengaluru FC in the 2017 ISL draft.
Following his release from the Blues, the 29-year-old forward signed with East Bengal in the I-League where he scored one goal in four appearances at the Durand Cup. However, with the likes of Amadi-Holloway, Pilkington and Lalpekhlua signing, Haokip was left out of the squad for the season.
#3 Cavin Lobo
Many East Bengal fans will remember Cavin Lobo with a certain fondness, especially during his six-year stay at the club from 2012 to 2018. It was with the club that Lobo made his mark in Indian football, thus earning a call-up to the Indian national side in 2015.
However, Lobo's reputation in Indian football began to drop with the start of the Indian Super League where he played for Kerala Blasters and ATK. Lobo joined Punjab FC for a short stint before making his way back to East Bengal in April 2020. After the club confirmed its ISL status, Lobo was left out of the final roster.
#4 Rino Anto
Before Bengaluru FC's first season in the I-League, Rino Anto was an unknown name in Indian football. Strong performances under coach Ashley Westwood earned Anto a call-up to the national team for the first time in 2015. He was also the first-choice right-back for Bengaluru FC from 2013 to 2016, making a total of 80 appearances.
Anto also made a few impressive performances for ATK and Kerala Blasters. In fact, it was with the Blasters that he would reach the final of the ISL in 2016. Rino returned to Bengaluru FC ahead of the 2018-19 season. But with Harmanjot Khabra occupying the right-back spot, Anto managed only a handful of appearances.
Rino Anto signed with East Bengal in May only to be left out when the club eventually qualified to play in the ISL.Published 13 Nov 2020, 12:11 IST