Calcutta: We have already had glimpses of two among the Big Three of city soccer. While East Bengal looked highly impressive, Mohammedan Sporting were patchy at best. It will be Mohun Bagan’s turn to show their mettle on Tuesday when they lock horns with Railway FC, in their CFL Super 12 opener, at the Salt Lake Stadium.
They have had a few forgettable seasons and are desperate to do well this time. But courtesy the financial constraints, they haven’t been able to forge an impressive squad.
Yes, they have retained Okolie Odafe, but apart from that coach Karim Bencharifa seems to be their biggest star.
Unfortunately for Bagan, Odafe has been ruled out for at least a month with a hamstring injury. In the circumstances, Bagan will have to depend on better team play to log full points. That is perhaps the reason why Bencharifa is mulling a 4-3-3 formation on Tuesday.
Ravinder Singh pulled a muscle during Monday’s practice session and hence Nicolai Borges is likely to be the left back. Rowilson Rodrigues, Aiborlang Khongjee and Wahid Sali are likely to be the other defenders.
Denson Devadas, Adil Khan and Katsumi Yusa are set to be the midfield managers. CS Sabeeth, Sankar Oraon and Manish Bhargav are likely to play upfront.
Striker Eric Muranda and defender Anyichie Echezona are the other foreigners on the Bagan roster, but both missed the registration deadline and are so unavailable for the match.
“This is our first official match after three months and so the whole team is very excited. We definitely want to start with a win as that would boost our confidence for doing well in the rest of the season,” Karim said on Monday.
“It’s obvious that we will miss Odafe… But that’s only normal because players can have injuries. In fact, if we mange to win without Odafe, he will recover faster as then he will be under less pressure,” the Moroccan coach hoped.