The Telegraph
Thursday , January 9 , 2014
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Colaco: Credit to the players
- Armando Sir more like a friend: Mehtab

Edeh Chidi celebrates his goal with Seiminlen Doungel, on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: East Bengal romped to their fourth consecutive CFL title on Wednesday, defeating Kalighat MS, and in effect that has made the Derby match inconsequential for their coach Armando Colaco.

“I am very happy to win the CFL. The Calcutta League is very different, it’s very special. It is full of emotions. I know the Derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is on Saturday, but for me now that is just another match. We have already won the League,” the Goan coach said.

Colaco, who would make a short trip back home before returning to the city on Saturday, said credit for the CFL triumph should go to the players. “They are the champions. They deserve all the credit. I have tried to be a friend to them, more than just a coach and maybe that has helped to bring the positives back in the team,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that his predecessor, Marcos Falopa and the whole support system of the club had played their role in the success.

The coach saw first-hand how emotional and excited the fans can get. “I was almost injured in the frenzied celebrations on the ground after the match, but that is the price of success. If this is what the fans feel after a CFL win, I can only imagine what may happen if we win the I-League.”

Colaco was caught in the midst of fan frenzy as thousands of supporters rushed onto the field as soon as the match got over.

Asked what is his next priority, he said though both the I-League and the Federation Cup are important, to him the I-League is the priority. “We have not won the I-League. So that is a priority now,” he said.

With Goan teams having dominated the I-League, Colaco’s aim is to take a Bengal team to the title. For captain Mehtab Hussain, it was almost painful to sit outside and watch. “I never want to miss a match, but it’s the injury. I hope to be fit for the Federation Cup,” he said. Mehtab injured his knee during the I-League Derby on November 24.

Visibly happy with his team’s success, a beaming Mehtab, however, said: “We all know what the Derby means. So am sure coach (Colaco) will be ready with the team that can win on Saturday.”

Despite the fan onslaught, Mehtab was happy that the CFL victory was ensured at the club ground. “Well, this is Calcutta. When you do badly you have take the brickbats, but when you win this is how they show their love. After all, we are what our fans make us.”

Mehtab was all praise for the new coach. “What has changed in the team is the mindset. We have become more positive. He is more like a friend and we can play freely,” he said.

James Moga

The scorers on Wednesday, Edeh Chidi and James Moga, were both happy with their team’s success. Chidi said: “The CFL is a very interesting tournament. It can be tough.”

The Nigerian knows only too well what goes on in a Derby.

Donning the East Bengal colours now, he said: “Mohun Bagan and East Bengal — there is a lot of history. You have to win. That’s what fans and officials expect of you. Doesn’t matter if we have already won the CFL.”Asked how he felt about coming in as a substitute and scoring, he said: “I was lucky.”

Moga said that he was extremely happy with the win. Asked whether this was a challenge for him to prove himself, he said: “I am a professional. If they had wanted to release me it would have been fine with me. I know myself. I know my game. Coach (Colaco) made a few adjustments and that’s all that I needed.”

The only jarring point on Wednesday was the complete chaos that followed the match. With very few policemen present at the ground, there was hardly any check as thousands spilled onto the ground to get close to their stars.