Calcutta: East Bengal got a big boost ahead of their crucial I-League match against Pune FC. Captain Mehtab Hussain and James Moga joined Monday’s practice session and if everything goes well the duo will be playing against Pune FC on Saturday.
While Moga has recovered from the groin strain, Mehtab, who sustained a hamstring injury during India’s International friendly against Bangladesh early last month, has also got the green light.
There is a fear though about Mehtab’s fitness who hasn’t been the mix for a quite some time now. “I am available for Saturday’s match,” Mehtab said on Monday.
However, there is one line of thinking that Mehtab should play from the Churchill Brothers match onwards. “He just returned today after a long injury lay-off. We have no idea about Mehtab’s fitness at this point in time. So it will be better if he returns only from the Churchill match. Still it will be coach Armando Colaco’s call,” a club source said.
Edeh Chidi also may play against Pune FC as the MRI report on his shoulder injury did not show any damage. Chidi was advised rest for two days by the doctor and with Wednesday being a day-off, the Nigerian will return only on Thursday.
East Bengal need to win all their four I-League matches and hope for Bengaluru FC to fumble. That’s why for Colaco the I-League has become a knock-out tournament.
“We have to win every match from here on. So it’s like a knock-out tournament for us. The League has become like a knock-out meet,” he said.
Alvito D’Cunha said East Bengal cannot afford to think much about how Bengaluru FC are faring.
“We have to win our next matches. Then see what’s Bengaluru’s position. We cannot just afford to blame our luck. We have got a chance to regain the I-League, we have to give our best,” he said.