| Mehtab Hossain takes a shot under the supervision of new Mohun Bagan coach Aloke Mukherjee on the first day of the team’s practice Wednesday. Picture by Pabitra Das
Calcutta: Mohun Bagan on Wednesday started practice for the ensuing soccer Super Division season with 19 players. New coach Aloke Mukherjee put his wards through the paces in what he called a “fitness programme”.
“What I wanted to test out was the physical condition of the players,” said Mukherjee. “From what I saw most of the players have been in some sort of practice during their off days. So it will not be that difficult to bring them back to form and fitness.”
The Punjab players Hardeep Gill, Hardeep Saini and Balkar Singh were around, as were Basudeb Mondal, Mehtab Hossain and Insan Ali. Coming in, said Mukherjee, by Friday will be the rest of the squad, including those from Manipur — Manitombi Singh, Lolendra Singh and Rennedy Singh. “The Manipur players generally keep fit in practice,” said Mukherjee, “And in this I have little to fear.”
The Mohun Bagan coach said he took it a bit lightly on this, the first day and will follow up with a tougher regimen only after all his wards have gathered. “Today I put stress also on ball-work, along with fitness.”
Mohun Bagan’s goalkeeping coach Atanu Bhattacharya was also present at the morning knockabouts.
Meanwhile, East Bengal will have to do some adjustments with their training programmes at the Salt Lake Stadium till June 8 because of the state athletics that start Thursday. Athletics will get some priority and state sports minister Subhas Chakraborty has asked East Bengal to adjust accordingly.
Debjit signs up
East Bengal signed on Debjit Ghosh from Mahindra United Wednesday. This was the official confirmation, because Debjit has already been practising with the club.
Also signing on the dotted lines at the local transfers here was Lal Bhulaiya. He quit East Bengal and went off to Tripura’s Bloodmouth Club.
Mohammedan Sporting practice, too is gaining momentum. Twenty-eight players attended practice on Wednesday, but coach Mohammed Habeeb is waiting for Bungo Singh to come over. He is expected in another couple of days.