SC East Bengal announced their 33-member squad for the upcoming edition of the Indian Super League on Monday.
A poor display last season saw the Bangal Brigade finish 9th in the table (3 wins, 8 draws and 9 losses) and earn 17 points. A poor performance and a few below-the-belt jibes from former gaffer and Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler added to the misery for SC East Bengal.
With pressure mounting on the management to field a team displaying the mentality of the traditional red and gold brigade, José Manuel 'Manolo' Díaz Fernández, a former Real Madrid Castilla coach, was roped in to take over the helm of affairs at the club.
The Indian Contingent
Much of the criticism from the gaffer fell on the shoulders of the Indian recruits last season. The East Bengal club management has had to make some good calls in terms of recruitment to clarify their intentions to the fans.
They made a statement by roping in last season’s Golden Glove winner Arindam Bhattacharya from ATK Mohun Bagan. This seemed somewhat certain after the Mariners roped in Amrinder Singh. Backing Arindam up are Sankar Roy, a former I-League winner with Mohun Bagan and Suvam Sen.
Daniel Gomes, Joyner Lourenco, Hira Mondal, Ankit Mukherjee, Goutam Singh Akashdeep Singh will be handling their defensive duties alongside the experienced Raju Gaikwad and Adil Khan.
In the center of the park, former FC Goa star and India U23 international Amarjit Kiyam, Sourav Das, Angousana Wahengbam, Romeo Fernandes, Songpu Singsit, Loken Metei and Lalrinliana Hnamte will be aided by seasoned campaigners Md. Rafique, Jackichand Singh and Bikash Jairu.
Balwant Singh is expected to bring in experience playing in the Indian footballing hemisphere for his colleagues in attack, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Naorem Mahesh, Siddhant Shirodkar and Subha Ghosh.
Former Perth Glory star and Australian defender Tomislav Mrcela and Franjo Prce, the U21 Croatia international who featured in Serie A side Lazio, have been recruited by East Bengal to lead the defensive duties alongside their Indian counterparts.
Ajax youth academy product Darren Sidoel and Slovenian midfielder Amir Dervišević will be pulling the strings alongside their Indian counterparts in midfield. SC East Bengal have managed to rope in Nigerian forward Daniel Chima Chukwu, a three-time Norwegian first division league winner with Molde FK who will be partnering Croatian forward Antonio Peroševic upfront.
SC East Bengal head coach Jose Manuel Diaz had the following to say:
“The squad has balance and a mix of youth and experience. We have players who have been there in the league since its inception. The foreign players have also played at the highest level and we believe the overall depth of this squad is good."
SC East Bengal squad
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya, Sankar Roy, Suvam Sen
Defenders: Daniel Gomes, Joyner Lourenco, Raju Gaikwad, Adil Khan, Hira Mondal, Ankit Mukherjee, Goutam Singh, Tomislav Mrcela, Franjo Prce, Sarineo Fernandes, Akashdeep Singh
Midfielders: Jackichand Singh, Sourav Das, Angousana Wahengbam, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Md Rafique, Lalrinliana Hnamte, Bikash Jairu, Amir Dervisevic, Darren Sidoel, Romeo Fernandes, Songpu Singsit, Loken Metei
Forwards: Balwant Singh, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Naorem Mahesh, Siddhant Shirodkar, Daniel Chima Chukwu, Antonio Perosevic, Subha Ghosh