Calcutta: Crowd behaviour has always been the worst in the state which loves football the most in this nation. It’s weird, but it’s a fact.
The memories of the notorious East Bengal-Mohun Bagan clash last year, which sent Syed Rahim Nabi to the hospital, are still fresh in our minds. But it seems that no lesson was learnt from that.
On Thursday, at Kalyani Stadium, Dempo player Samir Naik was caught off guard by a fire-cracker thrown from the stands when the I-League match was around 65 minutes old. One couldn’t hide behind the curtains of so-called celebrations as East Bengal were down 0-2 at that time and so the intention was solely to harm the player.
Samir was preparing to take a throw-in when the fire-cracker burst near his feet. Taken aback, he moved away from the spot and the referee stopped play. Thanks to the spirit of the Dempo players, the match resumed soon after.
After the match, match commissioner Rizwan-ul Haq confirmed that he was going to mention the incident in his match report. “Any foreign object thrown onto the ground during a match is dangerous… Be that a water bottle or a stone… In this case, it was fire-cracker and that’s more dangerous. The player could have been badly injured. I will mention it in my report,” Haq said after the match.
It was East Bengal’s home match and so they were the organisers. As per rules, they may be fined by the AIFF for the incident. Also, it needs to be seen if any questions are raised against Kalyani Stadium regarding the safety of the players.
The Dempo camp were annoyed with the incident, but decided against lodging any formal complaint.
Coach Arthur Papas said: “It was very disappointing to see a player being attacked like that… It’s dangerous and he could have been fatally injured. Steps must be taken to avoid such things in the future.”
Man of Match Beto, too, was disturbed. “It was dangerous… Samir could have ended up with an injury. The AIFF must think about this and ensure the players’ safety.”