Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting could earn the ‘distinction’ of winning two trophies and being relegated from the country’s most prestigious football tournament in the same season.
Any other result apart from a victory, versus Mumbai FC on Sunday, in Pune, will confirm Mohammedan Sporting’s relegation from the I-League. It’s a tough job, no doubt, especially when it comes to beating Mumbai FC at their backyard.
Coach Sanjay Sen, though, exudes confidence. “Players know it well that there’s just one final chance remaining to avoid the drop. They are aware that the result of tomorrow’s match has plenty to do with their pride and prestige, both of which are at stake.
“And during today’s practice particularly, that zeal and determination to prevail at all costs was evident among the players. So, I’m pretty hopeful of a positive resultů Guys are ready to give it their all,” Sen said from Pune, on Saturday.
Mohammedan Sporting are also very upset with the fixture of the last two days. “The club had written to the AIFF, citing its reservations over Churchill Brothers playing Salgaocar a day after we play our final game. But the AIFF never bothered to reply.
“Nowhere in any other league in the world do we come across two bottom-ranked teams playing on separate days. Maybe our national federation officials are more worthy and understand things better than others,” was Sen’s tongue-in-cheek comment.
Mohammed-an Sporting will be able to field more or less a full strength side, leaving alone the suspension of goalkeeper Luis Baretto, who could be replaced by Ashok Singh.
There is no doubt that coach Khalid Jamil's men have resurrected themselves well with two important wins in their last five games, which lifted Mumbai FC from a gloomy position to something they could well celebrate, although the top-five positions are already taken.