Big 2 under severe pressure
Bangla on a hot pitch
Anand in big rating-slip
JCT colts thrash Tollygunge
FC Kochin scrape past ARC 1-0
North 24 Pgs, Hooghly best
Chibuzor new Md. Sp. coach
Mysore Racing/ Aerobee for CM’s Gold Cup
Calcutta Races/ 7 events in Friday’s card
Track Trials/ Alyssum impresses

Calcutta, Oct. 10: 
Discontent over the IFA’s move to squeeze maximum out of the Big Two by holding the pending Super Division League championship leg tie tomorrow was palpable at almost every corner of the Maidan on match-eve.

For East Bengal, it is unusually demanding. There are too many scars — which had no time to heal — caused by the scuffle with Palmeiras in Sunday’s Shield final. And the task is arduous. They have to beat Mohun Bagan and then beat Tollygunge Agragami to force a play-off final. And then they have to beat them again on an unspecified date to collect their first title of the season.

Something different is bugging Mohun Bagan. The early-season scoring spree is over and the team they now run into looks a lot different from the one they had beaten in the Super Division first-leg tie. True, East Bengal are fatigued and scarred, but Mohun Bagan are also troubled by the frequency of Big matches: What if they need just a draw to emerge League champions after three years.

East Bengal, their request for a deferment turned down, are without Jo Paul Ancheri — who hit both goals in Saturday’s Shield semi-final against the same rivals. He is out for about six weeks and said he can’t practise before a month while leaving the club on crutches this morning.

The coach’s worries don’t end here and there are several others with discomfort here and there. Four players, including three foreigners, skipped today’s practice. It’s getting too harsh on them, the coach realised, and spared them the usual lengthy pre-match grind this morning. Mohun Bagan did the same.

But Manoranjan Bhattacharjee showed the attitude which sets apart East Bengal. “We have to play. That’s the simple truth. We are not in the ideal state for such a crucial match. But East Bengal does well when confronted with adversities,” said the East Bengal coach.

Surprisingly, there was apprehension in the Mohun Bagan camp — unusual, one thought — for a team a draw away from glory. This became evident from the coach’s comments, which centred around what he is afraid of.

For starters, there was this appeal to the referees to be brave. “Show courage, for once, and forget about consequences,” said Subrata Bhattacharya. What followed, however, left one aghast. “Salt Lake Stadium is a den of terror, where no fair competition is possible. East Bengal gets all the advantage there,” said the fearless defender of yesteryears.

A porous defence must have compounded his worries, which he was trying to hide. “There are problems in defence which we are trying to sort out.” But he was quick to point out that reputation holds little in any clash involving these two. “Difference in points, current form are of little significance, you need courage and stare them in the eye,” said Subrata, standing precariously close to a unique landmark.

Subrata will become the first coach to win all the major titles in India if his team wins the League. He seemed oblivious of personal glory and turned philosophical: “No player for the future is in sight, what’s in winning titles,” came the sigh.

His midfield mainstay Basudeb Mondal is out with injury and few others like Jose Ramirez Barreto are carrying niggling injuries though they will play. Barreto was seen walking with a huge ice-pack around his left ankle and there’s a possibility that he will be used in midfield with R.C. Prakash forming the front pair with Abdulateef Seriki. Subrata has often shown aggressive intent despite being a defender in his playing days and has quite a few to mobilise movement from midfield too.

With East Bengal smarting under the tight schedule and Mohun Bagan unearthing problems afresh, the game that is to happen has taken the backseat. But it’s going to be a crucial one and there are these players to add excitement.

Barreto, with all his distribution and striking skills is sure to be the cynosure but there is another player keen to revisit the days when he was one. I.M. Vijayan declared himself fit and the East Bengal camp is looking up to him in this time of crisis.

The terror of many defenders looks trimmer than he has in the recent past and says he is fed up of waiting in the wings. The filmstar-cum-striker prefers the centre-stage and is certain to come in at some stage.

Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal: League Highlights

Mohun Bagan: Played 12, won 11, lost 1. Points 33. East Bengal: Played 11, won 8, lost 1, drawn 2. Points: 26.

Mohun Bagan need a draw to win title, East Bengal need a win here and another against Tollygunge Agragami later to reduce the difference with Mohun Bagan to less than three points and force a play-off final.

Mohun Bagan won everything until losing to Tollygunge in the championship phase. East Bengal drew two of their first three games and lost to Mohun Bagan in the first leg.

Thursday’s Super Division clash is going to be the 250th between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. The two have met 128 times in the local league. East Bengal won 43 times, Mohun Bagan 34 and 51 were drawn. Of the 249 matches played so far, East Bengal have won 93, Mohun Bagan 64 and 92 were drawn.

Hariprasad Chattopadhyay


Calcutta, Oct.10: 
Lobbying of the most intense kind, for the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) presidentship, is on in Dhaka. In keeping with tradition, Khaleda Zia, sworn in as Prime Minister this evening, will nominate the president.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, canvassing for the top BCB post has matched the lobbying for “cabinet berths.” Hardly startling, as both power and glamour are associated with the presidentship. Additionally, as Bangladesh is a Test-nation, the BCB president gets a seat on the ICC’s Executive Board. It’s a handsome bonus.

The PM’s choice, of course, should be known in a couple of days. At the moment, following an ad-hoc arrangement, the BCB president is bureaucrat Akmal Hussain. He took charge some weeks ago when Latifur Rahman’s caretaker government decided the long-serving (and dynamic) president, Saber Chowdhury, couldn’t continue as he was a candidate in the October 1 elections.

As it turned out, Chowdhury (a minister in Sheikh Hasina’s government) lost. Worse, Shiekh Hasina’s Awami League itself suffered the equivalent of an innings defeat. Ironically, Chowdhury himself lost from Dhaka’s Sabuj Bagh-Motijheel constituency, an area where the National Stadium is located. It’s no surprise his defeat has “devastated” Bangladesh’s cricket fraternity.

Chowdhury was president both when Bangladesh clinched the ICC Trophy (thereby qualifying for the 1999 World Cup), in 1997, and attained Test status, last year.

High-profile sports minister Obaidul Quader, too, finished a loser (in Noakhali). As even Quader was very closely connected with cricket, his defeat is being seen as a double blow. For now, though, the biggest loss for cricket there is Sheikh Hasina’s ouster from power.

Be it according Gordon Greenidge (coach during that historic ICC Trophy triumph) Bangladeshi citizenship or regularly putting in appearances during international fixtures at the National Stadium, Sheikh Hasina’s love for cricket was spontaneous.

The new PM (actually, this is her second innings), apparently, isn’t as fond of the sport. But, sources insist, her family members are. As also, one understands, her “inner circle.”

Hopefully, then, somebody in the Chowdhury mould could get the BCB presidentship. Still, the question is: Will the appointee continue with the “professionally chalked out” policies or seek to drastically re-cast things? As well-placed sources put it, “everything is rather fluid.”

Besides the president, the BCB is run by 29 directors, all of whom are elected — the electoral college comprising districts and major clubs affiliated to the BCB. Incidentally, the current set of directors was elected (for a four-year term) in March/April.


Calcutta, Oct. 10: 
Viswanathan Anand is the biggest loser among the world’s Super Grandmasters, the latest Fide rating list released this month says. The world champion retains his third place, but has lost 27 Elo points — the most by any player in the top 20.

Garri Kasparov stays on top with 2838, followed by Vladimir Kramnik on 2809. Kramnik has gained seven points, but Kasparov has scored none since he didn’t play any match in the period under consideration.

Anand, trying to be the third man in history to cross 2800, has slipped to 2770. The Indian, who was three short of 2800 in the previous list, has paid dearly for his poor show in a star-studded meet in Dortmund where he finished last.

Alexander Morozevich of Russia is still a distant fourth on 2742. He has lost seven points. Hungary’s Peter Leko has gained nine points to move up two places to fifth at 2739.

Veselin Topalov is the biggest gainer in the top 20. The Bulgarian has gained 22 points to move to sixth at 2733. He was ninth in the previous list at 2711. Alexei Shirov, of Spain, Anand’s buddy and Fide world championship runner-up, stays 12th on 2706. He, however, has been inactive during the above period.

The latest list shows 14 players rated above 2700, the same as the previous one. The list doesn’t include those who played less than four matches in the last two years.


1. Garri Kasparov (Rus, 2838). 2. Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2809). 3. Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 2770). 4. Alexander Morozevich (Rus, 2742). 5. Peter Leko (Hun, 2739). 6. Vasselin Topalov (Bul, 2733). 7. Michael Adams (Eng, 2731). 8. Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 2731). 9. Evgeny Bareev (Rus, 2719). 10. Loek van Wely (Ned, 2714).

Fresh nominations

Fresh nominations have been filed for some key posts in the All India Chess Federation (AICF), which is set to hold its annual general meeting here Saturday. The earlier meeting was aborted in Delhi on September 1 amid chaotic scenes.

The ruling group candidate for the president’s post is N. Srinivasan of Tamil Nadu. Rajasthan’s Mohan Singh is opposing him. Rajendra S. Pawar and R.P. Singh were the candidates in the AGM in Delhi.

P.T. Ummer Koya, seeking another term in office, is up against V.R. Bobba of Andhra Pradesh. His opponent in Delhi was Dhiraj Rahguvanshi.


Calcutta, Oct. 10: 
JCT routed Tollygunge Agragami 5-0 in an under-19 National Football League match at Howrah Stadium today.

The India sub-juniors and Churchill Brothers tie at SAI was abandoned due to rain. It will be played tomorrow. At Howrah, JCT’s Ashoke Kumar scored a hattrick with Davinder Singh and Parminder Singh scored one each.

Hockey trials

Selection trials for the Bengal senior hockey team will begin at SAI Friday. Players will be picked for the 38th Jawaharlal Nehru meet (November 14-25) and also the National Games (November 19-December 1).

S.N. Dasgupta bridge

Trambak Rubbers won the Duplicate event in the recently-concluded S.N. Dasgupta Memorial bridge tournament. They were represented by H.S. Bajoria, S. Ganguly, A. Sadhu, S. Saha and S. Mazumdar.

The Calcutta Bridge Club (white) team of D. Gupta, A. Nawn, N.B. Saha, S. De, S.R. Bhattacharya and S. Shome came second.

Shahnawaz in final

Shahnawaz Ahmed reached the final of the state snooker meet being held at Bengal Rowing Club with a 5-2 win over Joginder Singh.

Shahnawaz won 57-21, 21-72, 60-45, 46-59, 68-37, 63-34, 59-35. He will meet the winner of the encounter between Shakil Ahmed and Mohammed Asim in the final.


Guwahati, Oct. 10: 
In its first loss in four matches, Assam Regimental Centre (ARC), Shillong went down fighting to FC Kochin in the first quarter final of the Bordoloi Trophy at the Nehru Stadium this evening.

The final result, which saw FC Kochin slip past ARC with a solitary, unimpressive goal, did not show up the hard work put in by the soldiers from Shillong.

In the first match under floodlights since the Trophy’s inception in 1952, FC Kochin were plain lucky to finish on the right side of history. Had ARC converted the half-a-dozen chances, which came their way, the final result could easily have been different.

Kochin’s Josiah Seton netted the winner in the 39th minute, off a Bijumon K pass. ARC came close to equalising after being awarded a penalty when Kochin’s captain Suresh L fouled his counterpart Lalhmachouma in the 78th minute. But Best Bestman, who had a torrid time under the bars, saved L Angami’s shot.

A free-kick in the dying moments again brought ARC close to equalising.

Four FC Kochin and three Assam Regiment players were shown yellow cards in the match, which saw the highest number of fouls in the tournament.

Both teams will play Thailand’s Rajpracha Sports Club, which arrived yesterday. Tomorrow, Tata Football Academy meet Assam Police.


Calcutta, Oct. 10: 
North 24 Parganas and Hooghly won the junior and sub-junior boys’ team titles, respectively, in the 67th state and inter-district table tennis championships at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra today.

North Calcutta were second in both sections. North Calcutta’s Souvik Kar and Shiladitya Nag won the nursery and cadet boys’ titles. Medha Moitra of Siliguri took the nursery girls’ crown with Howrah’s Shabana Parveen emerging best among cadet girls.


Boys— Nursery: Souvik Kar (NC) bt Soumyajit Ghosh (Siliguri) 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8. Cadet: Shiladitya Nag (NC) bt Kuntal Basak (NC) 11-9, 8-11, 15-13, 11-9. Girls— Nursery: Medha Moitra (Siliguri) bt Gargi Nag (Burdwan) 4-11, 11-5, 12-14, 11-6, 11-8. Cadet: Shabana Parveen (Howrah) bt Shreya Ghosh (NC) 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4.    

Calcutta, Oct. 10: 
Chibuzor Nwakanma has been appointed new coach of Mohammedan Sporting. He replaces Chandu Roy Chowdhury, who resigned during the IFA Shield recently.

Announcing this, new club secretary Sultan Ahmed said Syed Firoze will be the deputy of Chibuzor. The Nigerian played for Mohammedan Sporting and East Bengal in the late 80s and early 90s before playing for outstation clubs.

Inter-school badminton

Birla High beat Carmel Primary in the junior category of the inter-school invitation badminton meet at Mahadevi Birla Girls’ Higher Secondary School. Our Lady Queen of the Missions beat M.B. Shishu Vihar.

OTHER RESULTS: Middle team event: Our Lady Queen of the Missions bt Birla High; G.D. Birla bt Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan; Mahadevi Birla bt Mother International.

Senior team event: Kamala Girls bt Mother International; G.D. Birla bt Our Lady Queen of the Missions; Mahadevi Birla bt Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.


Mysore, Oct. 10: 
On his current form, the S. S. Pillay-trained Aerobee look the best of the eight runners to win the 1,600m Chief Minister’s Gold Cup, tomorrow’s main event. Bhagwat partners the Don’t Forget Me-Stormy Heights four-year-old colt.


2 pm: Comrade In Arms 1. Predominate 2. Amazing Force 3.
2.30 pm: Laplander 1. Gordon’s Pet 2. Storm On The Run 3.
3 pm: Suhasini 1. Cliff Side 2. Indian Wine 3.
3.30 pm: Niveditha 1. Semoran 2. Dad’s Joy 3.
4 pm: Aerobee 1. Fighting Brave 2. The Royals 3.
4.30 pm: Compliance 1. Gullane 2. Augill Castle 3.
5 pm: Parisien Belle 1. Different Story 2. Radical 3.
5.30 pm: Arduous 1. Indian Rocket 2. Soviet Park 3.

Day’s Best: Comrade In Arms

Double: Aerobee & Compliance

Calcutta, Oct. 10: 
The seven-event card framed for the concluding day’s race-meet on Friday, features the Roubaix Cup. First race starts at 1 pm:


1. Big Hearted Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV, Cl V, 3-y-o only Rt. 00-50) 1 pm: Lively Project 60; Angeles 58.5; Impressive Prince 53; Alvernia 52; Calabash 49.5.

2. Roubaix Cup 1,400m (Terms, 4-y-o & over) 1.30 pm: Alyssum 60; Highland Flame 56; Illustrious Reign 56; Lockers Park 53.5.

3. Ex-Service Men’s Handicap 1,400m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 2.10 pm: Nearco Prince 60; Ballard Lady 58.5; Finders Keepers 58.5; Flinders 57; Rare Gold 54.5; Maltayar 52.5; Keep The Faith 52; Breakfast At Tiffany 47.

4. Amar Jawan Handicap 1,000m (Cl IV, 5-y-o over Rt. 22-50) 2.40 pm: Bul Bul 60; Super Smile 59; Floral Path 57; Storm Centre 56.5; Tequila Shot 55; Blessed Spirit 53.5; Heaven’s Blessing 52.

5. Defence Forces Cup 1,000m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 3.15 pm: Ardon 60; Carbon Copy 55.5; Starina 55.5; Tajik 55.5; Ace of Spades 55; Montjeu Star 55; Peace Envoy 54.5; Secret Adversary 53.5; Santillana 53; Classic Pursuit 51; Abashed 50.5; Countach 50.

6. Unknown Warrior Cup 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 3.50 pm: Adeline 60.5; Rheinheart 60.5; Raaz 59.5; Alborada 58.5; Sergeant Slipper 55.5; Calamint 55; Global Harmony 52; Pneumatic Power 51; Just Kidding 50.5.

7. Armed Forces Handicap 1,000m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 4.25 pm: Actuate 61; Aureate 54.5; Abandoned 53; Lady Shirley 53; Calculus 52; Aberdan 51.5; Rich Dominion 49; Magic Ring 47.

Jackpot: 3; 4; 5; 6 & 7.

Treble: (i) 2; 3 & 4; (ii) 5; 6 & 7.

Calcutta, Oct. 10: 
Alyssum was impressive from among the following horses seen working today morning:

Outer sand track

800m: Chivalrous (Dalpat) in 59; (400m) 30s. Actuate (C. Alford) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Fit. Angeles (C. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Handy. Blessed Spirit (R. Chauhan) 1-2s; (400m) 28s. Alyssum (C. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Keep The Faith (P. Chauhan) in 1-1s; (400m) 28s. Flinders (Som S.) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Moved easy.

600m: Illustrious Reign (R. Chauhan) in 48s; (400m) 29s.

400m: Countach (R. Chauhan) in 28s. Finders Keepers (Smith) in 26s. Fit.

Sand track

1,400m: Crowned Prince (Connorton) in 1-54s; (400m) 33s. Touch of Elega-nce (Jaiswal) in 1-46s; (400m) 32s.

800m: Global Harmony (Amil) and Crest Star (Gajinder) in 53s; (400m)

25s. Former was 6 ls better. Adeline (Connorton) in 1-0s; (400m) 28s. Easy.

400m: Lively Project (Connorton) in 26s. Handy. Secret Adversary (Connorton) in 27s.

On Tuesday, outer sand track

1,400m: Automatic (Surender) and Artisia (Amil) in 1-55s; (400m) 31s. Level.

1,200m: Bountiful Gesture (Rb) in 1-36s; (400m) 31s.

800m: Abandoned (Asghar) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Andrada (Rb) and Aherlow (C. Alford) in 1-2s; (400m) 32s. Level. Lady Shirley (Som S.) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Moved well.

Sand track

1,400m: Rich Dominion (Connorton) in 1-47s; (400m) 29s. Adeline (Connorton) in 1-43s; (400m) 26s. Good.

1,200m: Maltayar (Connorton) 1-31s; (400m) 28s. Maintain form.

800m: Flinders (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 26s. Easy. Tajik (P. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Good. Calabash (Amil) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Handy.

600m: Magic Ring (Bird) in 40; (400m) 25s. Moved well. Tequila Shot (Shanker) in 41s; (400m) 25s. Fit.

Secret Adversary (Connorton) in 46s. (400m) 30s.    


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