The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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EB to open season

Calcutta: Thanks to a rather commercialised soccer event, the first in this city, East Bengal will be the first to showcase their prowess in the new season. Tollygunge Agragami will do it alongside. Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting take the field 90 minutes later. All this on June 15, at the Salt Lake Stadium.

The IFA, along with Celebrity management Group and a vernacular television channel, have organised this one-day show, sponsored by Yamaha. That is the Yamaha Libero Cup.

The Rs 4 lakh prize money meet (Rs 2 lakh for the winners, Rs 1 lakh for the runners-up, and Rs 50,000 each for the first round losers), is purportedly to “promote the visibility of soccer in the state and to assign it some cricket-like glamour”.

The entire ‘show’ has been planned, said IFA secretary Subrata Dutta Thursday, as just that. “It will be a mix of soccer and entertainment, and it will be a television show,” he said. “The matches will be of 60 minutes duration. The first two (as per schedule above, the first match starting at 3pm) throwing up the finalists. The final will be at 7.30pm.”

Of the proceeds (tickets will be at Rs 20 each and the television company will pitch in with cash), Rs 1,00,000 will be given to the family of former India captain Krishanu De, who died recently. Also, ailing former footballer Chandreswar Prasad will get Rs 50,000.

The Man of the Meet will get a Yamaha motorcycle.

While all the other clubs’ representatives were present at the press meet, Mohun Bagan, again showcasing the total chaos that the club is in, failed to even show the basic courtesy of having a man on the spot. Dutta said he was told that coach Aloke Mukherjee was to have attended, but had to attend to a domestic emergency.

East Bengal back home

Meanwhile, East Bengal are not being able to carry out practice under South African trainer Kevin Jackson at the Salt Lake Stadium ground as planned because of the ongoing state athletics meet. They will train at their own club ground on Friday and Saturday though they will still be staying at the Hyatt.

Coach Subhas Bhowmick said three foreigners — Suley Musah, Douglas da Silva and Mike Okoro — are all yet to report for practice. Team manager Swapan Ball said Musah and Okoro are “expected by Sunday”.

Others yet to report are Sur Kumar Singh, Bijen Singh and K. Kulothungan. Trainer Jackson will conduct his first set of tests — blip test and sprint shuttle test — Monday.

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