| The meet offers Bhutia a chance to prove he is still dangerous
Calcutta: The judgement day has come, finally. Last year’s superlative show at the domestic level has emboldened East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick to look beyond what is Indian.
Consequently, like a true commander, he has instilled in his team an intense self-belief — that East Bengal can be part of the international expanse of competition.
Come Monday, Bhowmick’s side will have the first taste of international challenge when the National League champions take on their Thailand counterparts and AFC Champions League finalists, BEC Tero Sasana, in the ASEAN Club Championship in Jakarta.
East Bengal have a good chance of making the quarter final stage from the three-team group. On Wednesday, the red-and-gold brigade faces Army FC of The Philippines in the next match. Two teams from each group will move into the last eight.
According to an East Bengal camp source, who spoke to The Telegraph from Jakarta on Sunday, the team has no fitness worry. “Everybody is fit and the team’s confidence is also quite high,” the source said.
The source further informed that the temperature in Jakarta is around 31 degree Celsius, which is better than the team’s base here. “It’ll help us,” the source added.
It has been learnt that Bhowmick told a match-eve press conference that his team was confident to go the distance. “Tero Sasana may be a good side but that does not mean that a good side can not be tamed,” he was reported to have told reporters in Jakarta.
For Bhaichung Bhutia, the occasion also offers him an opportunity to prove his point that he’s still the most dangerous force to reckon with in Indian football.
The star striker was believed to have tilted in East Bengal’s favour this season because of the club’s Asian engagements.
The arrival of Brazilian Douglas da Silva and Nigerian Mike Okoro is also seen as a timely boost for the city outfit.
Tero Sasana have virtually the Thai national team. They have ten national players, including captain Terdsak Chaiman. Three players — Dusit Chalermsan, Aldebayo Gadebo and Jatupong Thongsuk — have had small trysts with Mohun Bagan in the past.
DD Sports will telecast live the ASEAN Club Championship. The match between East Bengal and Tero Sasana will be shown live from 5.30 IST.