| Malswama (centre) of Tata Football Academy in a tussle for the ball with a CPT player in an IFA Shield group league match at the East Bengal ground Tuesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: Tata Football Academy (TFA) has been producing some outstanding players over the past few years. But the present batch seems to be one of the most mediocre groups ever to have come of the academy. Though they made their way into the semi-finals of the TVS Fiero IFA Shield on Tuesday following a goalless draw with Calcutta Port Trust (CPT), there was hardly any flash of talent that could catch the imagination of a paltry crowd, who had gathered at the East Bengal ground, hoping to witness the future of another Dipak Mondal or Malswamtluanga.
Another blotch for the team was the way they lost their heads several times on the field. Even their coach Ranjan Chowdhury sounded a bit disappointed with the conduct of his boys.
“Yes, I’ll talk to the boys, and if needed, I can suspend some of them,” the coach said. He, however, flayed the referee Christopher John for poor supervision. “My boys were often instigated and the referee didn’t take notice of that,” the coach argued.
Other than occasional spates of scuffles among the players, there was hardly an incident of note in the match. TFA, as usual, looked organised in the preparatory zone, but they seemed clueless just in front of the penetrative zone.
The CPT team also looked lacklustre. They were good on counter-attacks, but when the actual punch needed to be delivered, they lost sight of proper initiatives.
With both the teams, thus, lacking the penetrative flair, the game was mostly confined to the middle-third.
TFA, however, once came close to scoring in the 48th minute as substitute Sumit Thapa wriggled his way into the rival territory. But instead of shooting himself, he played a back-pass. CPT retorted immediately when Sujit Dey found himself in the open off a long ball from the midfield, but he shot it over with the goalkeeper at his mercy.
TFA finished the group stage with five points from three games while CPT managed to garner just one from two.
TFA: Subrata Paul; Subhas Mondal, Gurpreet Singh, H. Rahman Mondal, Debabrata Roy; Jehry Zirsanga, S. Chitra Sen, Goura Mangi, N. Khemtang Paite (Sumit Thapa, 46); Naoba Singh, Malswama (Vanlal Rova, 76).
CPT: Sandip Guha; Pinaki Dutta, Rabi Karmakar, Srimanta Das, Soumen Sarkar; Sanjit Saha, Bastab Roy (Souren Sardar, 67), Pradip Indu, Amar Pyne; Sujit Dey, Sandip Ghosh.
Referee: Christopher John.