Calcutta: The highest turnout for a local league match this season is very much on the cards as Mohammedan Sporting begin their Super Division campaign against Wari AC at Salt Lake Stadium Tuesday.
Expectations are high, and so are aspirations, says coach Mohammed Habeeb. After coming back from the brink of oblivion with some hugely encouraging showings last season, the coach knows his team will have to contend with the constant craving for more this time.
“We will try to reach the summit this season. This team, on paper, is better than the one we had last year. We will be among the title-contenders this time. It’s no more a Mohun Bagan-East Bengal race,” said the coach.
Though Habeeb said the preparation time hasn’t been enough, he added his team will attack from the start and play with three forwards — something that is rarely seen from a top team these days, even against outsiders.
Habeeb informed that Dipendu Biswas, Rahim Nabi and Sheikh Sanjeeb are his likely options up front with Bungo Singh, Khalid Siddique and Shahnaz Iqbal Khan manning the midfield.
In defence, Hussain Mustafi and Satish Bharti will be at the centre with Amjad Khan and Falguni Dutta on the sides. Bivash Ghosh is the first-choice goalkeeper. Habeeb added that Amandeep Singh and Zaheer Abbas are unavailable, while Nigerian recruit Habeeb Adenkule will not be used, considering the slippery ground conditions.
“We will attack, that’s for sure. But the players have to prove that this year’s lot better than the previous one. Only performance can say whether we are actually a better side this time.”