Mohammedan Sporting Club will look to turn around their fortunes from last season, when they host ATK Reserves in their first match of the Second Division League on Saturday at Kalyani Stadium. Kick-off is at 1:30pm.
The Black Panthers managed just three wins in the previous season under former coach Biswajit Bhattacharya and failed to make it to the final round. This time, however, Mohammedan Sporting wants to make their intentions clear on the opening day itself.
The opening match could be the catalyst that Mohammedan Sporting need to finally start the league on a high as they are notorious for being slow starters.
“The first match is always hard because there is always some uncertainty. We will approach the game with all the seriousness it deserves. We will surely try not to repeat mistakes from last season,” said Mohammedan Sporting manager Raghunath Nandy.
“We have done our homework and we gathered intelligence about ATK, albeit limited because they haven’t been exposed that much,” he added further.
Mohammedan Sporting began their preparations for the 2nd Division League way back in October as they traveled to Assam thrice to participate in the Independence Day Cup, Bordoloi Trophy and Bodoland Martyrs Gold Cup respectively, before participating in the GTA Chairman’s Gold Cup in Darjeeling. Nandy feels these experiences will help the team immensely in the Second Division League.
“Playing outstation tournaments has really helped us build the bond within the team especially with those who joined after Calcutta Football League. We had some exciting matches in Assam and Darjeeling and those helped us experience different situations. Every match has been a learning experience,” Nandy explained.
Nandy brings a different style of play to the table and he is adamant that he has the players to make this work. Laltu Mondal is likely to start the game in goal. Snehasish Dutta will start at left back while Prosenjit Pal and one of Balwinder Singh or Ashim Kumar Dey will start as centre backs. It will be Prosenjit Chakraborty who will start as right back.
With a wealth of options in midfield, it will be interesting to see who the experienced tactician eventually picks to start the game. Laltu Hembram and Joy Mrong Kharraswai are likely options in the central midfield positions. The attacking and wing positions will be a tough choice for Nandy who will have to choose between Stephenson Pale, Amarendu Chakraborty, Debasish Pradhan, Safiul Rahman, Firoj Ali and Eijingmut Lyngdoh. Pankaj Moula will be a likely starter up front with Philip Adjah Tetteh.
Although the Nandy appeared worried about the absence of international players – Adjah is the only foreigner available for the opener – he insist his young and exciting squad will be up for the challenge.