Calcutta: Had it been any other day, any other practice session, there wouldn’t have been much to write about. But Thursday’s session at the Salt Lake Stadium was different for East Bengal.
With Debabrata Sarkar, better known as Nitu, arrested by the CBI in the Saradha case on Wednesday, East Bengal’s ‘regular’ practice session attracted all interests for reasons right and wrong.
When one reached the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday morning with many such questions, the overall scene was of cautious. On the club administration’s behalf, assistant secretary Dr Shanti Ranjan Dasgupta was present. The intention was to give the players a pep talk, asking them to concentrate on football and not to worry about the off-field developments.
But it wasn’t just Dr Dasgupta who tried to keep the players’ minds on the right track. Coach Armando Colaco and senior pro Alvito D’Cunha also played their parts.
According to sources, both Armando and Alvito spoke to the players in the dressing room asking them to keep their priorities clear.
Alvito, who has been with the club for over a decade, knew Sarkar well and so volunteered to chip in with his bit of advice in difficult times. Another source revealed that Alvito stressed on the importance of “life” going on despite such sudden distractions and how it is necessary to focus on the game. “He gave an example… He said, ‘if you are going for an examination and a family member falls ill, you don’t panic, rather you try and concentrate on the exam first’,” the source said.
Though none of the players spoke to the media on the matter, Armando spoke briefly. “I have known Sarkar for a long time… When I was coaching in Goa, the only East Bengal official I knew was him… So it’s definitely an unfortunate matter… But I will not like to speak about it. It’s not our job, our job is to concentrate on football. We are playing in the CFL and we have to concentrate on that.”
It is important to note that the club has called an emergency executive committee meeting on Friday evening to decide on the course of action. It is highly likely that the club will extend all kind of support to Sarkar.