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Attacking role for Nabi: Karim

Bagan coach Karim Bencharifa during his first day at practice, on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Syed Rahim Nabi’s capability of playing in any position is not something unknown. Even during his East Bengal days, the midfielder has doubled up as both defender and striker to serve his team’s purpose.

Importantly, it was only on Tuesday that Nabi played as a forward and led McDowell Mohun Bagan to a 1-0 win over Calcutta Port Trust in the Calcutta Football League.

Coach Karim Bencharifa too has it in mind to make optimum use of Nabi’s abilities inside the 18-yard circle. And, on being consistent throughout, the 27-year-old may also be partnered alongside Okolie Odafe up front.

“Having spoken to him, I feel Nabi has the confidence to keep performing when positioned in goal-mouth areas,” Bencharifa said after his first training session with Bagan, on Wednesday.

“He’s certainly a utility footballer and from now onwards he will be operating in the attacking-third. Maybe I can think of sending him up front with Odafe at some point of time.”

Giving special attention to fitness, Bencharifa has prepared separate sets of exercises for each of the players. For instance, the likes of Odafe, Denson Devadas and Dipendu Biswas underwent light physical training, while the team that featured in Tuesday’s CFL encounter had stretching and other warm-up exercises in store. “There’s nothing to worry about the fitness of players. It’s absolutely okay. “Besides, if you look at someone like Odafe, he has special abilities that help him improvise and work his way to success,” the Moroccan explained.