|East Bengal’s James Moga (left) and Ryuji Sueoka
Calcutta: Kingfisher East Bengal resembled a happy house on Tuesday evening. The officials were sporting smiles of satisfaction having found new co-sponsors while coach Armando Colaco was a picture of composure.
Wednesday, in all likelihood, will add colours of joy to the red and gold camp as East Bengal look all set to extract at least a point from their match against Kalighat MS and win the CFL for the fourth time on the trot. Actually, it would be very surprising if they don’t go on to win the match.
A loss for East Bengal, however, would ensure that the league is decided on the Derby day, Saturday, when they face arch-rivals Mohun Bagan. But the chances of that happening is as bleak as snowfall in the city.
Colaco didn’t want to count the chickens before they are hatched as he reminded, “We still have two more matches to play my friend.” But his cautious tone couldn’t hide his confidence. “A lot of hard work has gone in… The players have given their all to ensure better results for us. So I’m happy that we are standing in front of a possibility of winning the league even before the Derby is played,” Colaco said.
Colaco had words of praise for his boys. “They have been playing well… I won’t say that we have played every match excellently, but overall, it has been really nice the way they have performed. We have been good in counter attacks… And for me, the most important fact is that the strikers have found their scoring boot,” he said.
East Bengal won’t have the services of Mehtab Hussain, Harmanjyot Singh Khabra and Uga Okpara. While Mehtab and Uga lose out to injuries, Khabra is out with card problem having seen a red in the last match.
Colaco is likely to start with James Moga and Ryuji Sueoka up front on Wednesday. Subodh Kumar and Cavin Lobo will be at the centre of the midfield with Lalrindika Ralte and Joaquim Abranches manning the wings. It will be a test for Abranches as he will be making a return from injury. Naoba Singh, Raju Gaekwad, Arnab Mondal and Soumik Dey are likely to be the defenders.
Colaco, the man who has won five national leagues with Dempo SC, revealed that winning the CFL means a lot to him. “I have won a lot in my career… I have the league titles in Goa and nationally… But I always wanted to come to Calcutta and if we win on Wednesday, it will definitely be an amazing achievement for me.”
Over to the players then, to welcome their first trophy of the season… Their first under Colaco.