Low profile Wright may pass muster
Indians off to good start
Tollygunge shock Mohun Bagan
East Bengal brush aside George 3-0
13 teams confirm participation
JCT to take part in IFA Shield
Everything is not lost yet: Subrata
AIFF ordered to produce documents

Calcutta, Aug.28 
Yesterday, president A.C.Muthiah set the record straight by confirming the Board had an �open mind� on a coach from overseas.

That the Board, indeed, was inclined to look beyond the Indian shores had already been reported in these columns.

What Muthiah left unsaid, though, is that most Board members favour �somebody low-profile.� That eliminates Australian Rodney Marsh � the preferred choice of a leading Board official � and brings New Zealand�s John Wright firmly into the picture.

�The mood among most Board members is that the coach (Kapil Dev) be replaced. Also, that his successor (ideally, from overseas) shouldn�t be somebody high-profile,� revealed a top Board source.

Speaking to The Telegraph this afternoon, the gentleman added: �Even before anybody made the first move, the Australians have firmly scotched talk of Marsh coming over...

�In the circumstances, the best bet could be Wright, who has made a terrific impression at Kent this summer. Besides, he is the thinking sort. Of course, any approach will only be made once the Kapil issue is resolved.�

Officially, the Board�s working committee has authorised Muthiah to interact with Kapil � a fall-out of the current coach�s remarks during an interview earlier this month.

Unofficially, one learns, Muthiah has been given a specific brief: To convey to Kapil that a majority of the Board members do want a change.

Muthiah and Kapil met in New Delhi last week, but nothing came of it as �both,� one understands, �were in a hurry� to fulfill other engagements. Meeting No.2 is expected this week.

Though Kapil�s appointment is till September 2001, nothing of course stops the Board from reviewing his performance at this point of time.

Also, as a leading Board official pointed out, �no formal contract has been signed.�

According to him, Kapil and the Board �merely exchanged letters� which talked about the appointment (made last September) being guided by �mutually acceptable terms and conditions.�

An absolute colossus as a player, Kapil�s record as coach has been anything but impressive � on the plus side only being close wins in Tests and ODIs at home, versus New Zealand, and the ODIs against South Africa, again at home.

Defeats have been many: In the Test series� in Australia and at home (versus South Africa); failure to make the finals of either the Carlton and United Series in Australia, the tri-series in Sharjah or the Asia Cup in Dhaka.

Then, there�s this unsavoury business of Manoj Prabhakar�s allegation and the recent Income Tax/Central Bureau of Investigation raids.

In any case, Kapil has himself left it to the Board to decide whether or not he should continue. Indirectly, then, Kapil has offered to go.

That, however, was ten days ago and the emotional type that Kapil is, he may have something else to tell Muthiah, this week. This possibility has already begun to �worry� quite a few within the Board.

The reasons are obvious.

To return to former New Zealand captain Wright, one learns some Board members/officials have spoken to Rahul Dravid about him.

The India vice-captain is turning out for Kent this season and the feedback, from Canterbury, has been �excellent.�

Should the negotiating stage be reached, though, the Board could face a significant hurdle as Kent are reported to have re-engaged Wright for 2001.

But, before any one-to-one with Wright, the Board may request former president Raj Singh Dungarpur to open �lines of communication� with the Kent chairman � Lord Colin Cowdrey.

Lord Cowdrey, unwell at the moment, and Raj Singh share an exceptional rapport.    

The Indian Open team got off to a good start in the World Teams Bridge Olympiad being played at the MECC conference centre in the Dutch city of Maastricht.

On the opening day, Sunday, they won both their 20-board matches, 18 VP to 12 (49-36 imps) against the Yugoslav squad and then went one better by defeating fancied Indonesia 19-11 (51 imps to 30). Though India lie seventh in group C at the end of the day with 37 VP, their position is actually better as they have played two of the better teams in their group. India play Japan, Cyprus and Uruguay next.

In the other important matches of Round I, Brazil beat Canada 19-11, Germany edged Indonesia 16-14, while on Vu-Graph Italy defeated Norway 20-10 primarily with the aid of a close game that made, and a slam missed by the Helgemo-Austberg of Norway and made by Duboin-Bocchi of Italy on a squeeze after a finesse failed.

In Round II, Canada got the better of Denmark 16-14 while Russia drew 15-15 with hosts Netherlands.

At the end of the day, Switzerland led group A with 47 VP with one easy match and a 20-10 win over Pakistan while Australia, England and Iceland led their groups with 42, 50 and 50 VPs respectively, from two easy matches.

In the women�s series, India suffered two disasters, 6-24 against Greece and 9-21 against Morocco, after a 16-14 win over Venezuela. In other matches of Round I, Norway avenged their Open team�s 10-20 loss to Italy by blitzing the Indian ladies 25-3 while Chinese Taipei defeated the strong American squad 18-12.

In Round II, Japan scored a surprise 19-11 win over England and in the last round of the day, Egypt, after two disasters in the previous rounds, managed a 13-17 losing draw against Canada. At the end of the day, Austria led group A with 66 from two blitzs over Indonesia and Jamaica and a 16-14 winning draw over Ireland, while Greece led group B with 65 VP from wins over Turkey, India and Venezuela.

India play South Africa, Scotland and Mexico on Monday.

THE STANDINGS (in brief)

OPEN (max. 50 VP from 2 matches, 15 to go) Group A: 1. Switzerland 47; 2. Poland 46; 3. Brazil & Austria 44; 5. Ireland 43; 6. Belgium 42. Group B: 1. Australia 42; 2.Chinese Taipei 39; 3. Netherlands 38; 4. Hungary & Portugal 37; 6. Lebanon & Finland 36. Group C 1. England 50; 2. Israel 49; 3 Japan 45; 4. France 42; 5 Sweden 41; 6 Cyprus 38; 7. India 37. Group D: 1. Iceland 50; 2. Italy 45; 3. Morocco 41 ; 4. South Africa 40; 5 China 37; 6. Argentina 35.

WOMEN (max 75 VP from 3 matches, 16 to go) Group A : 1 Austria 66; 2. New Zealand 63; 3. Norway 62; 4. Denmark 61; 5 Chinese Taipei 54; 6. Sweden 53. Group B : 1. 1. Greece 65; 2 Germany 62; 3 . France 61; 4. Poland 60; 5. Netherlands 59; 6. Canada 57; 7. China 55.

SENIORS (max 100 from 4 matches): 1 Scotland 85; 2. Sweden 84; 3. England & San Marino 72; 5. Egypt & Germany 69.

UNIVERSITY (max 100 from 4 matches) : 1. China 89; 2. Austria 84; 3. Norway & Denmark 78; 5. Italy & Indonesia 75.    

Calcutta, Aug. 28 
Tollygunge 2
Mohun BAGAN 1

Mohun Bagan snatched a sensational 1-2 defeat at the Salt Lake Stadium this afternoon, thus jeopardising chances of regaining the Super Division league title even further.

Leading the championship-leg tie against Tollygunge Agragami by an 11th-minute R.C. Prakash strike, Mohun Bagan conceded two soft goals in the final three minutes to go five points adrift of frontrunners East Bengal.

Second-half substitute Mohammed Qaiser slotted home a penalty in the 88th minute while Seriki hit bull�s eye in stoppage time to fashion an incredible Tollygunge Agragami victory.

Mohun Bagan aren�t technically out of the race yet � they can still force a championship play-off by beating both Mohammedan Sporting (Wednesday) and East Bengal (Saturday). But with Jose Barreto and Debjit Ghosh set to miss Wednesday�s game with double bookings, few will envy coach Subrata Bhattacharya�s predicament.

The coach, of course, will have to take a fair share of the blame for today�s defeat. A couple of tactical mistakes sunk his team in the second half after the first 45 minutes had been a breeze for the National League champions.

With Satyajit Chatterjee spearheading an inspired midfield show, Subrata�s wisdom of disturbing the four-man formation defied logic. He took off R.P. Singh and brought in an indisposed James Singh at the start of the second session. Not only did Mohun Bagan lose rhythm, Tollygunge Agragami found theirs.

It took the coach 23 minutes to realise his folly, but instead of rectification his next move spelt further trouble. James was withdrawn in favour of defender Kajal Bhattacharya and asked to police Seriki. The Nigerian striker had tested the Mohun bagan defence two-three times, but hardly looked threatening enough to merit a dedicated marker. Kajal, not a regular of late, messed up twice in the closing minutes as panic set into the Mohun Bagan ranks.

Subrata�s ultra-defensive tactics � he had half-a-dozen defensive men in the field � actually helped Samson Singh, Felix, Sandip Das and Seriki gain control of the midfield in the last quarter of the match. As the pressure mounted, Omollo & Co. wilted.

After shooting straight to custodian Rajat Ghosh Dastidar, Seriki couldn�t control a volley off an inviting Samson cross. Seriki�s next foray into the rival danger zone was, however, fruitful.

Gautam Sadhukhan � who had minutes earlier shown the yellow card to Barreto and Madhusudan Majumdar for an off-the ball scuffle after consulting with the assistant referee � was dead right in pointing to the dreaded spot as Kajal brought Seriki down. Qaiser�s right-footer was perfectly placed, to Rajat�s right.

Soon after, with the Mohun Bagan fans launching verbal tirades against the coach, Seriki picked up a loose ball, screened it from Omollo and took Kajal in his stride before pushing it past a helpless Rajat.

Within minutes, the match had turned on its head. Tollygunge Agragami, after being outplayed in the first 45 minutes when they survived a series of close calls, feasted on Mohun Bagan blunders to claim a famous victory.


TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Prasanta Dora, Reazul Mustafa (Partha Sarathi Dey, 35th), Napoleon Singh; Satyabrata Bhowmick, Madhusudan Majumdar, Shasthi Duley (Mohammed Qaiser, 79), Felix, Sandip Das, Bhawani Mohanty, Seriki, Samson Singh.

MOHUN BAGAN: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar, Dulal Biswas, Sammy Omollo, Hussain Mustafi, Lolendra Singh, R.P. Singh (James Singh, 46; Kajal Bhattacharya, 69), Basudeb Mondal, Satyajit Chatterjee, Debjit Ghosh, Jose Barreto, R.C. Prakash.

Referee: Gautam Sadhukhan.    

Calcutta, Aug. 28 
East Bengal 3
George Telegraph 0

League leaders East Bengal brushed aside George Telegraph in their Super Five encounter at home today, getting three past their hapless goalkeeper.

All the goals came in the first half, with Seikh Sanjib, Carlton Chapman and Dipendu Biswas finding the mark in a rather one-sided encounter.

The first half saw East Bengal pile up pressure, and they went into the lead as early as in the seventh minute. Dipendu Biswas� shot from the right was saved by a diving Sankar Dey, but on the rebound Seikh Sanjib, who was left unmarked, gave no chance to the George custodian and coolly tapped in.

The second goal came in the 20th minute. Dipendu�s pass down the right found Chapman, who dodged past Amritlal Biswas, and then fooled an advancing Dey to tap in.

East Bengal went on to consolidate their lead in the 41st minute, and this time Dipendu obliged. Running down the right flank, he got past a defender, then with a subtle right-left touch wrongfooted goalkeeper Dey. His powerful rightfooter then struck the far post before rolling in, with Dey, on the ground, looking on helplessly.

East Bengal also got some chances which could have given them a wider victory margin. But they had only themselves to blame, failing to convert what seemed to be easy chances.

Most of the action, however, took place in the first half, with the second half constituting rather lack-lustre soccer.

Among those that went abegging, the best chance perhaps came Chandan Das� way. In the 29th minute, Chapman floated one from the left and Chandan jumped high for the header. But his attempt failed as the ball just sailed over. Just before this East Bengal had another golden opportunity to go ahead, but Seikh Sanjib, Dipendu and Sur Kumar Singh all failed to score off a goalmouth melee.

Chandan had missed one more chance to get his name on the scorers list today when, in the 17th minute, he received a forward pass from Dipendu on the left, but his shot crashed into the side netting.

The second half was comparatively dull, but East Bengal�s dominance was total. They managed a couple of chances in this half too, but failed to convert any. In the 10th minute, defender Dipak Mondal�s longranger sailed over the crosspiece.

And then in the dying minutes, Amit Das� powerful long volley � with the goalkeeper advancing � went long. And with seconds to go for the long whistle, Dipendu got a chance to add to the tally. He dodged past the defence but shot right at the goalkeeper. He tried again off the rebound, but failed to find the mark.


EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee, Sur Kumar Singh, Jackson Egygpong, Deepak Mondal, Ratan Singh, Carlton Chapman (Amit Das, 13), Isiaka, Chandan Das (Zaheer Abbas, 77), Dipankar Roy, Seikh Sanjib, Dipendu Biswas.

GEORGE TELEGRAPH: Shankar Dey, Sisir Ghosh, Sujit Neogi, Amritlal Biswas, Kutubuddin Sepai, Snehangshu Rudra, Swarup Chatterjee, Asish Das (Arunava Sarkar, 62), Pratap Senapati (Partha Khamaru, 77), Lalbhulaia (Manoj Singh, 85).

Referee: Supriya Bhattacharya.

>EB to release Andryi

East Bengal will release Uzbek forward Andryi Malchevsky and look for an African forward assistant secretary Dipak Das, said today. Moreover, Suley Musah will be joining the red-and-gold brigade by next month.    

Calcutta, Aug. 28 
Thirteen teams from Latin America, Europe and Asia have confirmed participation in the Millennium Cup football tournament to be held in India from January 10 to 25.

K.S. Juneja, managing director, Studio 2001, negotiating with the foreign teams on behalf of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), said here today that his company was also trying to get either Australia or New Zealand and one more team from Europe.

Juneja said Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Jamaica, South Africa, Cameroon, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and the Czech Republic had already confirmed participation.

�Never before so many top teams had played together in India. We are also trying to get either Croatia or Scotland or Bulgaria,� Juneja, who came here to inspect the facilities at the Salt Lake Stadium, said. The participating teams will be divided into four groups and the matches would played in Goa, Cochin and Calcutta.    

Calcutta, Aug. 28 
JCT today confirmed their participation in the IFA Shield. The second outstation team will be from among State Bank of Travancore (SBT) and Mahindras.

The Super Five (East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting, George Telegraph and Tollygunge Agragami) and the cluster champions will make up the other teams in the tournament proper beginning next week.

United Students on top

United Students Club won the CFL second division league title, edging out Garalgacha SC 3-2 in a penalty shootout today. Both teams have qualified for next season�s first division group B.

In third division championship play-off matches, Batore SC beat SAI 6-5 via the tie-breaker and Greer overcame Kumartuli 1-0.

Nursery League

Friends XI won their IFA Nursery League match against Dhakuria Club Coordination by the thinnest of margins. Sanjay Haldar got the matchwinner.

CSTC-CTC final

CSTC and CTC entered the final of the ASRTU soccer meet with convincing wins today. CSTC beat Andhra Pradesh 3-0, thanks to goals from Jayanta Sen, Bapi Mitra and Dipak Das.

CTC rode Biswajit Dey�s five-goal effort to a 7-0 win over SBSTC. Gobinda Saha netted the other two.

Mixed luck for Behala

Behala SA made the final of the Pankaj Gupta Memorial hockey meet with a 3-0 win over Belgachia Manohar Academy today. Their opponents will be identified tomorrow after Khalsa English HS and Khalsa HS play out the tie-breaker. The match had to be stopped due to bad light today with the teams playing out a goalless regulation time.

Behala SA failed in the Dhyan Chand Memorial meet semis, losing 0-1 to Paikpara HCS. Entally HA were the other finalists, edging out Khalsa HCC 1-0.    

Calcutta, Aug. 28 
For a man who had minutes before presided over a shock defeat, Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya was remarkably calm.

�The team failed in the second session, that�s why we lost. We just couldn�t maintain the pressure we had applied in the first half,� Subrata told newsmen after the 1-2 defeat at the hands of Tollygunge Agragami.

Admitting that his decision to try out James Singh in the second session failed, Subrata said: �I wanted to utilise the speed of James but unfortunately it didn�t work out.�

The coach defended his ploy of bringing in Kajal Bhattacharya as Seriki�s marker in the 69th minute. �He (Kajal) has done the job before, I expected him to do it today as well,� Subrata explained.

His team being in a tough must-win situation now, Subrata hasn�t given up hopes of bagging the title. �Everything�s not lost yet. Yes, there will be tremendous pressure on the players in the two matches (versus Mohammedan Sporting and East Bengal). I have to try and prepare them for the battles that lie ahead,� Subrata remarked.

With club officials sitting next to him, Subrata mentioned the need to bring in a good big-built striker. �You need a good striker to convert chances we are creating. Today, in the first half had we scored one or two more goals, we�d have been safe.�    

Calcutta, Aug. 28 
Mr Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta of the Calcutta High Court today ordered K. N. Mour and A.R. Khaleel, secretary and treasurer, respectively, of the All-India Football Federation (AIFF), to produce all documents relating to the federation�s accounts before the court by September 19.

The case will be heard again on September 19.

The IFA secretary, Ranjit Gupta, had earlier filed a case against the AIFF alleging misappropriation of funds.    


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