Calcutta: East Bengal coach Armando Colaco is not too happy with the fact that he will have to start the pre-season as early as June 18. The reason for the early start is IFA Shield, which is expected to begin mid-July.
“It will be tough for the players. Never in my coaching career I have had a pre-season so early. It will be raining and the grounds will not be in good condition.
“Also chances will be high that the players will get injured,” Colaco, who renewed his contract with East Bengal on Sunday, said.
Colaco was also not pleased with the timing of the ISL. “The window is impractical. You cannot have a three-month tournament before the I-League. What if the players get injured?
“Suppose I spend a good amount on a marquee player and he gets injured while playing in ISL. What would I do then?
“Then when the I-League begins, the period will be so short that you may end up playing two-three matches a week. I am worried about my players and also the fixture congestion,” he said.
Colaco said he will be trying out youngsters in the IFA Shield. “It will be a big chance for them. You have to give confidence to the youngsters. We have the AFC Cup also this season.
“So the senior players will need rest. I cannot afford to play them in IFA Shield at the beginning of the season and find them tired at the business end,” he said.
But didn’t Seimenlen Doungel, a youngster who got a lot of match-time last season under Colaco, leave the club seeking greener pastures? Colaco said he was not unhappy with Doungel’s decision. “You have to make sacrifices… I wish him all the best,” he said.
Colaco said the reason behind renewing his contract was the love of the East Bengal supporters.
“When I came in November everyone was talking about Trevor James Morgan. But now he is a thing of the past. Nobody talks about Morgan anymore… The supporters have given me the confidence,” he said.
Talking about All India Football Federation’s move to make it mandatory for I-League clubs to sign one marquee player, Colaco said: “As long as we get good foreigners, it’s fine. But given our poor rankings do you think any big name will be interested in playing in India? So I have to wait and see,” he said.
Colaco revealed that if East Bengal were game he could speak to Trinidad and Tobago World Cupper Densill Theobald.
“He has the experience of playing in India when I was Dempo. He linked up well with Ranty Martins… So he could be the ideal marquee player.”
Colaco also welcomed AIFF’s decision that a club can only appoint technical directors with A-License degree. “It’s a good move. But coaching is not an easy job. I would like to see coaches being educated.”
Talking about what to expect from East Bengal in the coming season, the former India coach pleaded for patience. “Please have patience. This team will deliver. One trophy doesn’t make a coach great or a team world-class,” he said.