The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aloke Bagan coach
- Igor named technical director, Atanu for goalkeepers

Calcutta: It took Mohun Bagan officials just over a month to name their training crew for the forthcoming season.

After handing the pink slip to Subrata Bhattacharya on April 15, the three-time National League champions appointed Aloke Mukherjee as coach Friday.

The former Tollygunge Agragami man has a support team that looks impressive, at least on paper.

Igor Shkivrin, the Uzbek striker who played for Mohun Bagan in 1999-2000 season, will take over as technical director from November 1. He is currently coaching a Russian first division club — Krylia Sovetou.

Before Igor takes charge, P.K. Banerjee (who is also the technical advisor of the club’s ambitious academy project) will hold the post, claimed club officials. Though the club secretary said ‘P.K.’ has agreed to the deal, the man concerned said he is “yet to make up his mind.”

Former India stalwart Atanu Bhattacharya was named the goalkeeping coach.

Elaborating on the decision to nominate Aloke for the hot seat, Mitra said: “He is a junior coach and has been doing some real good work. We want fresh ideas and I’m sure Aloke will be able to provide that.

“Igor showed he had a very good understanding of the game when he was with us as player. Moreover, Barreto was very impressed with him and had asked for his services,” Mitra informed.

Bhutia in demand

Aloke, meanwhile, wants Bhaichung Bhutia in his team. “He is a matchwinner in his own right. And I’m quite sure of the fact that he has recovered from his injury,” the former India defender said from Balia, where he is currently with the Bengal under-21 team.

Initially, Mohun Bagan officials weren’t too keen on having Bhutia in the team. However, of late, they have retracted from their initial stance with East Bengal threatening to close in on the striker as well.

“I have seen him in the Indian team. He has the leadership quality that is required to inspire the side when things are not going well,” said Aloke, who has assisted national coach Stephen Constantine in several tournaments in the recent past.

Aloke, however, said he won’t press for more players and work with whatever he has been provided with. “The officials had told me beforehand what the team will be. So I can’t have any qualms about it,” he added.

“Let’s make something clear right from the word go. I will not involve myself with the club administration,” he pointed out.

When asked whether he is a little worried about the defence of the new team, Aloke said: “Yes, when compared to the attacking line, it is. But therein lies the challenge of the coach. Moreover, my experience as a defender may also help in setting things right.”

Aloke also sounded happy with the fact that he will be able to work with the likes of Ashim Biswas, Debkumar Sashmal and Mehtab Hossain, who played under his tutelage in Tollygunge Agragami last season.

The new Mohun Bagan coach added he may have to do away with assisting Constantine. “I spoke to Stephen about my new assignment. He told me it’s a chance of a lifetime and I should go for it.”

But Aloke is keen to seek Constantine’s help whenever necessary. “He is my guru in coaching. I’ve learnt a lot working with him over the last 11 months.”

Aloke also doesn’t mind working with either Igor or P.K. “I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from them as well,” he added.

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