The wait is over within 24 hours of East Bengal’s 103rd foundation day celebration. The deal was formally signed with the Emami group of investors in front of a crowd of ex-footballers in the ballroom of a five-star hotel in Kolkata on Tuesday afternoon. But can East Bengal build a strong team?
Comments from former goalkeeper
Most of the ISL clubs have completed their formation. They have started pre-season preparations. However, East Bengal has not officially announced the name of the footballers yet. Former goalkeeper of the team Bhaskar Gangopadhyay said with some concern, “It’s been too late. All the other teams have packed up. There’s no denying, that it’s hard to find good quality, Indian footballers. But this investor’s attitude seems very positive. Hopefully. , they will try to build a good team even if the work is difficult.”
In the words of another former player Prashant Banerjee, “It is too late. It is difficult to get good-quality Indian footballers. This situation needs five to six great foreigners. Because they are the ones who make the difference in Indian football.” Adds, “Steven Constantine is selecting the foreign footballers. Hopefully, the East Bengal team will not be too bad.”
The stance of Emami’s director
What is the plan of East Bengal to build a strong team? Aditya B Aggarwal, one of the directors of the investment firm, said after the deal was finalized on Tuesday, “It is true that we started a bit behind. But the way we have performed in the last one-and-a-half months, we are hopeful of recovering the lost ground. We want to play to win. Although there is no such team that wins every day. We will aim to give the best. Then we will see what happens.”
According to East Bengal’s top manager Debabrata Sarkar, “We started the process of building the team before the investment. But the number of such footballers representing the Indian team is only 30 to 40. Most of them are under long-term contracts with one or the other club. As a result, there was a problem in selecting footballers. Constantine has given us a list of his favorite footballers. I will give preference to that opinion. But we have formed a reserve team. Four to five footballers from champion Kerala will be signed for the Santosh Trophy.”
Who is on the list of former coaches of the Indian team? According to sources, Steven emphasized youth. None of them have any experience of playing in ISL. Also, East Bengal bosses are desperate to pick up some footballers even with transfer fees. The name of Hrithik Das is at the top of this list. The Bengal midfielder played brilliantly for Jamshedpur FC in ISL last season. Hrithik himself is also keen to play in the red and yellow jersey. But Jamshedpur is not willing to leave him.
East Bengal’s top official said, “We are already talking to four or five people. Those who plan to take transfer fees. I hope to get them.”