The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Still miles to go: Bhowmick
- East Bengal coach drops quit hint if club does not cut down on flow of tournaments

Calcutta: East Bengal are in the middle of a dream run, but Subhas Bhowmick is already a worried man. To the maverick coach, what has been achieved in the space of the last few days is “only the beginning. It’s only a small step. I still have miles to go,” a relaxed Bhowmick said at the club tent on Wednesday.

East Bengal touched down in the city late Tuesday after being crowned the ASEAN Club champions in Jakarta. After a rapturous welcome at the airport, the players got a huge reception as they entered the club on Wednesday on the eve of their Federation Cup-opener against HAL.

And it is this continuous flow of tournaments that is peeving the coach. “The boys are back after such a hard tournament. It is absolutely unscientific to throw them into another meet of this stature,” Bhowmick said.

He also made it clear that he will ask the club officials to pick and choose the tournaments in the future. “If they don’t comply with that request, I’ll have to think whether I’ll continue.”

He feels East Bengal must participate in tournaments abroad to get a “feel of the cut-throat competition”.

Bhowmick also said that he is planning a rotation policy. “It will ensure rest for all players.”

The five-star accommodation arranged for the boys prior to the Jakarta meet is something the coach wants to repeat before they embark on the AFC Champions League campaign. “I want the club to arrange a three-month stay for the boys at a five-star hotel, where they can have gymnasium facilities,” Bhowmick added.

In the same breath, he thanked the officials who helped him get the team of his choice. “They have listened to my advice and done their best in getting the best side possible,” he added.

On the reception the team got, Bhowmick turned emotional. “I had the feeling over the past few years that soccer craze had receded. But when I saw the sea of people at the airport I felt may be we’re on the right track.”

Elaborating on his team’s exploits in Jakarta, he said: “The final was really tough. A phase of 20 minutes after BEC Tero reduced the margin, was really spine chilling. If they made it 2-2, we could have conceded three more.”

However, Alvito D’Cunha scored to seal the 3-1 victory for the National Football League champions. Bhowmick said he would ask the club officials to have Terdsak Chaiman or Fernando of Petrokimia Putra as the fourth foreigner for the NFL.

The coach added: “Winning a bronze as a player under Syed Nayeemuddin in the Bangkok Asian Games was the greatest moment. But this won’t be too far behind.”

Meanwhile, he informed Debjit Ghosh, Surkumar Singh, Dipak Mondal, Mike Okoro, Sasthi Duley and Douglas Da Silva are on the injury list and are doubtful against HAL.

Bhutia no to long deal

Bhaichung Bhutia is looking ahead to his second stint on foreign soil, when he turns out for Perak FC in the Malaysian Cup. Speaking to newsmen after a light workout at the East Bengal ground, he ruled out a long-term contract with the team this season. “If they want me for next season, I’ll think about it.”

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