Calcutta: Not many trophies have eluded Subhas Bhowmick since he started coaching, but the AFC Cup is one of them.
Back in Mohun Bagan after three seasons, helping the team gain success in the AFC Cup is one of the primary objectives of the veteran coach. “It’s been long since the club had last won a trophy. So, my goal is to bring back the smiles for everyone in the Mohun Bagan family,” the Bagan technical director said after an informal meeting with the players, at the club premises, on Monday.
“As coach, I’ve won plenty of trophies, including two international ones. Now, the AFC Cup is the only untouched one in my coaching career so far. So, if the team makes it to the AFC Cup under my supervision this season, we can then think of taking it on from there.”
Coaching for over two decades, Bhowmick hinted that the present assignment in Bagan could be his last, as he wasn’t getting any younger. However, a successful season may lead him to change his mind, he added.
“Look, I’ve always enjoyed a challenge and the current job brings in a new responsibility. I still remember the time, back in 1976, when I first came to Bagan as a player. Previously, the team wasn’t winning anything. But post my arrival, there was a major turnaround.
“On this occasion as well, I hope for something similar. Having said that, I must say that I’m getting older and need to stop somewhere. Maybe the time has come to draw the line. But now if the team starts winning a series of tournaments, I might as well change my mind and continue for a longer period… It depends…” Bhowmick explained.
Talking about his interaction with the 18 players who were present on Monday, Bhowmick said: “It was primarily an informal chat with the players. Most of them are new, so I have to get acquainted with them. And they too have to know me.
“Discussions were mainly about the needs and requirements of the squad, including the support staff.” Bhowmick also said that unlike previous seasons, there wouldn’t be any pre-season residential camp.
Meanwhile, playing for the first time in one of the Big Twos of the city, talented striker Jeje Lalpekhlua said he’s ready to handle the pressure.
The experience of his statemates Shylo Malsawmtluanga and Lalrindika Ralte will also guide him, Jeje emphasised. “It will be crucial for me if they share their knowledge and experience of playing in this part,” he said.