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regular-article-logo Friday, 21 June 2024

Mohun Bagan's party, trophy and ‘new name’ in tow

Coach Juan Ferrando thanks his players and support staff for the success

Angshuman Roy Calcutta Published 20.03.23, 05:23 AM
ATK Mohun Bagan’s (from left) coach Juan Ferrando, goalkeeper Vishal Kaith and owner Sanjiv Goenka with the ISL trophy at the RPSG House on Sunday.

ATK Mohun Bagan’s (from left) coach Juan Ferrando, goalkeeper Vishal Kaith and owner Sanjiv Goenka with the ISL trophy at the RPSG House on Sunday. Santosh Ghosh

Mohun Bagan were given a rousing welcome by the fans after they touched down in the city on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Around 2000 fans had turned up at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport and, as the team bus made its way into the city, 3000 more joined the party.

It was a double bonanza for the Bagan fans on Saturday. Bagan won the ISL IX final beating Bengaluru FC in Fatorda, Goa, and following that, team owner Sanjiv Goenka announced the removal of “ATK” as the prefix to Mohun Bagan, which henceforth will be called as Mohun Bagan Super Giants. While the company stays as ATK Mohun Bagan Pvt Limited, the change of the brand name is a good enough reason for the fans to celebrate.

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So it was not surprising that so many supporters, wearing their favourite green and maroon jerseys and braving the rain, followed the bus to the RPSG House in Alipore where the celebratory function was organised.

“I would say Bagan fans are the best,” a delighted Manvir Singh said. “I have lost two finals (one with FC Goa and the other at Bagan), so it’s special to me,” he added, pointing to his champion’s medal.

“This is for the millions of Bagan fans,” Dimitri Petratos, who scored two penalties during the 120 minutes of play and converted from the spot in tie-breaker as well, said. “Will come back stronger next season.”

This was just after the players got down from the bus. Later, a beaming Goenka said: “We are grateful for the support we got. Keep backing us like this and we will continue to deliver. Our target now is Super Cup. There will be expectations.”

Goenka also announced that coach Juan Ferrando would stay. “Why should we not continue with the winning coach? He is not going anywhere,” he said. “We will build a stronger team next season.”

Goenka reiterated that the name “Mohun Bagan Super Giants” was in the pipeline for a long time. “Even before the season began we had decided on Super Giants.”

(From left) Pritam Kotal, Dimitri Petratos and Subhasis Bose with the trophy on Sunday.

(From left) Pritam Kotal, Dimitri Petratos and Subhasis Bose with the trophy on Sunday. Santosh Ghosh

Three years back, on a Sunday in March, ATK had a similar function at the same venue. That was a day after the team won the ISL trophy under Antonio Lopez Habas. The ATK-Mohun Bagan merger had just happened and the brass had to face some probing questions. But with the title and name change, Sunday was all about happy faces and warm hugs.

Ferrando thanked his players and the support staff for the success. “We are the champions.” Captain Pritam Kotal echoed his coach’s view. “We want to enjoy this moment,” said Kotal, who has also been called for national duty.

Ferrando was much criticised when Bagan were not performing well. At the post-match news conference on Saturday, he had a go at his critics. “I never waste energy on them. The people don’t know what happened in the dressing room, what happened in training and what happened with injuries,” he said.

The team will enjoy a brief break and assemble again on April 2 to prepare for the Super Cup which will be played in Kerala. Bagan starton April 10.

Appointment with CM

The squad and the coaching staff will have another round of celebrations on Monday. They will be at the Bagan tent where chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be present. A working day, but a sea of fansis expected there as well.

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