Calcutta: East Bengal may field just one foreigner in Ryuji Sueoka for Thursday’s CFL Championship Round tie against Bhowanipore Club.
With most of the first XI regulars — Uga Okpara, Mehtab Hussain, Edeh Chidi, James Moga, Lalrindika Ralte and the likes — yet to recover completely from injuries, Armando Colaco prefers not to take a risk and instead, is intent on fielding his reserves for the match.
“Around eight to nine players in the squad are yet to regain 100 per cent fitness. I simply can’t pressurise them to play this match.
“CFL, of course, is very important like other tournaments. But at this moment, we need to prioritise our goals. And winning the I-League would top that list,” the East Bengal coach said after the day’s practice session, at the club ground.
Mehtab, however, has resumed practice and sounds confident of getting back to shape within a week.
Meanwhile, Mohammedan Sporting’s newly-appointed coach Sanjoy Sen had a 30-minute closed door meeting with the players, after a practice session at the Central Park. Players feel very encouraged after having spoken to him.
“All of us know that winning is a habit. So he told us that most of our problems would be sorted out if we win two-three matches in a row. We just need to work on making winning a habit. That’s what he stressed upon,” said striker Dipendu Biswas.
For Sen, it makes no difference as to whether Tolgay Ozebe remains with the squad or is chucked out.
“The Tolgay matter is entirely up to the club. If they are satisfied with his reply (to the show-cause letter), they will continue with himů Else, they won’t,” Sen said after a meeting with the players, at the Central Park, on Wednesday.
On his part, Tolgay has replied to the show-cause letter and the club officials will decide upon his fate at a meeting, on Thursday.