A shame we can’t continue, rues Paes
Subrata AFC’s Coach of the Month
In the City

Calcutta, May 6: 
The claycourt season on in full swing, a title under their belt on the red Spanish soil just over 24 hours ago and yet, the Indian Express will continue to chug along different routes.

Once Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi found different partners after the March split, it was virtually closing the door on each other.

They came together last week ‘accidentally’, when both were ‘free’ of commitments, and went on to win the Mallorca Open beating Julian Knowle (Austria) and Michael Kohlmann (Germany) 6-2, 6-4 Sunday evening.

Could this triumph — after weeks and weeks of failure with foreign partners — spur them on to a permanent reunion? That’s an obvious question doing the rounds in their ever-optimistic fans’ mind.

Well, there was no discussion about their future in Mallorca, both Paes and Bhupathi confirmed. It was a thoroughly professional approach which fetched the three-time Grand Slam champions their 22nd doubles title.

“We have always done well on clay… it’s good we capitalised on our experience to win at Mallorca,” Paes told The Telegraph just before leaving for Rome this afternoon. And, then, almost in the same breath, added: “It’s a shame we can’t play the entire clay season together.”

It was Bhupathi’s idea to try out different partners two months ago that led to their second ‘divorce.’ But Paes would not be drawn into a discussion on a controversy-coated topic.

“See, both of us have to take care of our careers by making smart moves. That’s why I agreed when Mahesh asked me whether I’d play with him at Mallorca,” Paes explained.

What if Bhupathi wants to defend the French Open crown in three weeks’ time with his old partner? “We’ll cross the bridge when we come to it,” was the diplomatic answer. It can easily be interpreted as a statement in the affirmative by virtue of it not being a negative one.

As for the immediate future, Paes is playing with South African partner John-Laffnie De Jager at the Rome and Munich Masters Series events the next two weeks. “Most probably, the French Open too.”

But he’s on the lookout for another player to pair with during the grasscourt season. “De Jager is good on clay, not grass. And our results so far have been anything but satisfactory,” observed Paes. Of the four tournaments they have played in, the Indo-South African pair has tripped in the first round thrice.

The search has begun and Paes has two or three guys in mind. He’s in no hurry to make the decision, though. Obviously, he is keen on getting it right this time.


Calcutta, May 6: 
Mohun Bagan’s Subrata Bhattacharya has been named Coach of the Month for April by the Asian Football Confederation.

“With Mohun Bagan a point behind Churchill Brothers going into the final day of the season, the former India international masterminded a remarkable 1-0 victory over the leaders in Churchill’s home state of Goa, ” the AFC said of Mohun Bagan’s recent National League triumph in its release from Kuala Lumpur.

The AFC also lauded Bhattacharya for becoming the first Indian coach to guide his team to two National League titles.

The Mohun Bagan coach, meanwhile, was either not too happy, or, maybe, he was not showing it. Accepting congratulatory messages in characteristic calmness, he said: “It’s definitely a great feeling.”

Bhattacharya felt that the AFC honour was doubly satisfying since he is yet to get any award from the All India Football Federation. He went on to add that he would be happier if he could help Mohun Bagan to some sort of international success.

Asked whether he aspires to become the national coach some day, Bhattacharya snapped: “I have stopped thinking about all these.”

There was jubilation at the Mohun Bagan tent this evening. “We have only got the news in the afternoon. But we will definitely felicitate him,” said the football convenor of the club.

South Korean club Anyang LG Cheetahs’ goalkeeper Valeri Sarytchev was named AFC Player of the Month. The 42-year-old, who helped his side to the runners-up spot in the Asian Club Championship, was also named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings of South Korea was adjudged Coca-Cola AFC Team of the Month following their successful defence of the Asian Club Championship title.


May 6: 

Kalighat in semis

Kalighat and the Combined Universities XI moved into the semi-finals of the P. Sen Trophy Monday. While Kalighat edged out Tapan Memorial by four runs at Eden Gardens, the University XI scored a last ball victory against Wari at Deshabandhu Park. The Combined University XI will play Eastern Railway in the semi-final on Tuesday while Kalighat will take on East Bengal on Wednesday.

BCCI pitch panel for Eden

The BCCI’s pitch committee, including G. Kasturi Rangan, will come to Calcutta on May 10 to inspect Eden Gardens’ pitch. One pitch curator from New Zealand is also expected to work at the Eden.

Bhratri coach

Chandu Roy Chowdhury has been chosen Bhratri Sangha’s coach for the forthcoming season. Roy Chowdhury was in charge of Mohammedan Sporting for a short period last season. He succeeds Shabbir Aliin Bhratri Sangha. Shabbir has reportedly joined HAL in Bangalore.

Port win

Calcutta Port Trust beat CC&FC by two goals in their BHA League group A match Monday. Junas Bara and M. Toppo scored. In a Group B match at the Mohammedan Sporing ground, Punjab defeated Baranagore SC 6-2.

Kenya tour

Elite Cricket Club, Calcutta is organising a trip of an under-22 east zone team to Kenya. The team reaches Kenya on October 18 and are scheduled to play nine matches in Nairobi and Mombasa during their two-week tour.

Basketball meet

La Martiniere beat St Anthony’s 70-48 in the N.S. Subaiya memorial basketball meet Monday. La Martiniere girls beat Loreto Convent, Entally 38-32, while Loreto House defeated Julien Day 45-6. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan defeated Saifi Hall 26-4.


Cricket: P. Sen semis: E. Rly vs Combined University (Eden, 10 am).

Hockey: BHA Gr A: CESC vs E. Rly (Bagan). Gr B: Behala SA vs Sporting Union (Md Sp); SAI Training Centre vs Howrah Union (EB) All matches from 3:30 pm.


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