The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Injury-stung East Bengal wary of Churchill

Calcutta: East Bengal have been on quite a roll this season, but their coach Subhas Bhowmick is toying with the idea of quitting.

Talking to reporters here on the eve of their IFA Shield match against Churchill Brothers on Wednesday, Bhowmick said: “It’s inhuman for the boys to play so many matches in the space of a few days. It would have been better if I could leave the job, but for certain obligations, I can’t even do that.”

The East Bengal coach said playing as frequently as his wards are would only hamper their chances in the National Football League. “I had developed the reserve bench with so much care, but most of them are getting injured. This will increase the pressure on the main players when they come back for the NFL,” Bhowmick said. The latest inclusions to his ever-increasing list of casualties are Malswamtluanga and Surya Bikash Chakraborty. “Malswamtluanga has a groin strain, and if I can’t play him tomorrow, it will be a major blow.”

However, Tushar Rakshit and Chandan Das’ availability for the match should gladden Bhowmick.

Talking about his opposition, he said: “We lost our first points in the National League to them. Churchill are a good team and we will have to be careful.” Bhowmick did not elaborate on his playing XI. “Whoever comes tomorrow and says he wants to play, will be included.”

On the other hand, Churchill Brothers too are not in too a comfortable position either. While striker Kasif Jamal is out with two yellow cards, striker Yusif Yakubu is nursing an injury. “Yakubu looks a doubtful starter. Zaheer Abbas will take the field in place of Jamal,” manager N. Gonsalves said.

He also added that Churchill have no other option but to go for a victory. “We have to win it, otherwise it’s curtains for us,” Gonsalves said.

While East Bengal have three points from one game, Churchill have two from two.

Crunch tie for Md. Sp.

Mohammedan Sporting are also in a tight spot as they take on Vasco Sports Club, Goa, in a do-or-die match Wednesday. Anything other than a victory will almost certainly ensure their exit from the tournament.

“I have told my boys to give everything they have,” coach Mohammed Habeeb said.

The coach said he would revert to a 4-3-3 formation for the crucial match. “The main problem is that we have failed to score. So, I will go in with Seriki, Dipendu Biswas and Rahim Nabi upfront,” Habeeb added.

The coach added that medio Amit Das, who was out with an injury in their defeat against TFA Monday, will be back in action. Talking of Vasco, he said: “Ruis Vanderlei is a dangerous player and we will keep him under zonal marking.”

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