|Okolie Odafe and Christopher Chizoba, during a practice session, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture
Calcutta: Without a win in their last five matches, Mohun Bagan will be desperate for a victory when they meet United SC in an I-League encounter, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Friday.
“We’re looking forward to this game. Things haven’t quite worked in our favour so far, but tomorrow being a new day, we certainly hope for a positive outcome,” said Karim Bencharifa after practice on Thursday.
Okolie Odafe’s off-form has been a concern for them and that has been one of the main reasons for their lacklustre showing so far. But the coach didn’t seem quite worried.
“I don’t think Odafe is playing badly. He’s definitely trying his best. It’s just that the goal is not happening. But for a player of his class, it’s just a matter of one game. Tomorrow might well be his game... You never know,” said Bencharifa.
Mohun Bagan have released Nicolau Borges and Bengkok Nameirakpam and are pinning hopes on new recruit Christopher Chizoba from Peerless SC.
“He’s a professional footballer... He knows the job he is expected to do. Also, he has a fair idea of Mohun Bagan and the pressure involved with representing a club of such stature.
“I’m sure he’ll try his best to be an ideal partner for Odafe up front. Besides, he has goals scored goals in the CFL, which augurs well for us,” said the coach. United SC coach Eelco Schattorie is not willing to take Mohun Bagan lightly.
“Mohun Bagan have their share of problems... They are under pressure and find themselves in a difficult situation. But they will surely put up a fight... No doubt about that,” Schattorie said.
“In our last few matches, we did go through some good phases although we haven’t lived up to the performance we had put in at the start of the competition.”
With 17 points from 11 matches, they are placed fifth in the standings, the best among the four city teams.
“Lack of creativity in the midfield has been one aspect that dented our prospects this season. Though Lalkamal (Bhowmick) won’t play for more than 10 to 15 minutes tomorrow, he will be back in our scheme of things... We need to stand up and play possessional football... It’s important we dominate,” said Schattorie.