Calcutta: East Bengal coach Marcos Falopa is happy with the way his team is shaping up. “The group is working hard. We are shaping up really well… I cannot complain with the effort these boys are putting in,” Falopa said at the Salt Lake Stadium on a rain-sodden Tuesday morning.
Falopa said he is not at all worried over the injuries of Ryuji Sueoka and James Moga. “No I am not worried… Sueoka will be consulting a doctor and a clearer picture will emerge only after that. Moga did want to practice today but I held him back. There’s no point in hurrying into things,” he said. “And they are not (Lionel) Messi or Neymar that I will have to change plans. Football is a team game and others are there to step in if they do not recover in time.”
The Japanese is nursing a calf muscle injury he picked a month back, while Moga sustained a hamstring injury during practice some days back.
East Bengal begin their CFL Premier Division title defence in early September while the important AFC Cup first-leg quarter final against Indonesian club Semen Padang is slated for September 17.
“The two CFL matches ahead of the AFC Cup quarter finals will put us in good stead,” the Brazilian said.
Falopa also heaped praise on defender Uga Okpara. “He is a great team man and a fantastic player. He has the leadership quality and the players listen to him on the field. Every team needs a player like this. He is an asset for my squad. I wish I had more Ugas in my squad.”
Something interesting happened during East Bengal’s practice session. Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencharifa, whose boys too had a practice session at the Salt Lake Stadium before Falopa’s men took the field, was on the sidelines, watching the red-and-gold brigade going through the motions.
Falopa later said he doesn’t have any problem if a rival coach wants to have glimpse of his practice sessions. “What’s so big about it?
“If somebody comes and watches East Bengal’s practice sessions, I have no issues with that. If he learns something from my idea of football then I will take it as an achievement,” he said.