The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dreams get bigger for Bhowmick
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Calcutta: Moments after achieving his cherished goal Friday evening, Subhas Bhowmick started dreaming again. The National Football League (NFL) had been sealed with a one-sided win over Vasco, but the East Bengal coach revealed he has already set his sights on the next season.

He looked reticent and relieved and even if he was elated, he didn’t show it. “Winning this was a matter of time. I knew it was coming,” said Bhowmick, struggling to escape the affection of admirers amid scenes of ecstasy at Salt Lake Stadium. “But I am dreaming of bigger things now. This success inspires me to do so.”

The coach said he will be trying to extend his winning run beyond Indian shores. East Bengal will play in the AFC Champions League next season and also in the ASEAN Cup in Indonesia in August.

“Nothing is bigger than representing the country. My aim will be to win the title in Indonesia and reach the quarter finals of the AFC championship. Our success rate this season has been 100 per cent. I don’t know whether the club will win five trophies out of five in the next 20 years.”

Bhowmick refused to take any credit for East Bengal’s second National League triumph. “The players won it. I am only basking in reflected glory. All the players, including those in reserve, have contributed to the success. Even the club officials must be praised for giving me the team I wanted.”

In a rare gesture, Bhowmick left the pitch minutes after the final whistle and went to the dressing room to congratulate the players left out of Friday’s squad.

“Everybody got his chance and chipped in with valuable contributions whenever needed. They deserve a share of this success. What if they were not in today’s line-up.”

The coach lauded the players for rising to the occasion whenever things started looking bad throughout the season. “In all the tournaments, they delivered just when things threatened to veer out of control. Whenever there was pressure, my players responded by producing winning performances.”

Vasco coach Derek Perreira admitted his team had lost to a better side. “They are the best team and deserved to win. We had no chance of winning the title until East Bengal lost two matches. We tried our best but bowed to a superior team. No regrets.”

Rui Wanderley Weis, Vasco striker, also spoke the same language. “East Bengal were the deserving champions. We missed too many chances. Besides, they had the home advantage, with supporters all the time cheering them,” the Brazilian said.

East Bengal’s man of the moment, Douglas da Silva Goncalves, was finding it difficult to hide his joy. “My best performance till date. This is the first time that I have scored two goals in a match. That too, in such a key match. It hasn’t ever been better for me,” said the Brazilian, who prefers playing in defence, but moved up to midfield at the behest of Bhowmick.

Alvito D’Cunha, arguably the best Indian player of the tournament, felt a good start did the trick for East Bengal. “Our first six matches were at home. We won five and drew one of them. That momentum became the key to our success. It’s great to win the title again.”

He also hailed the team’s reserve bench. “A good and balanced bench always makes a huge difference. Whenever there were troubles, somebody from the bench came up and delivered. Credit should also go to these players”, Alvito remarked.

Though fans and members started celebrations in the stands with red and gold balloons and aabir apart from bursting crackers, the mood in the dressing room was far from delirious. East Bengal play their last match against Salgaocar and leave for Goa early on Saturday.

The party, it seems, will begin in Goa. Nice place to savour success no doubt.

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