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Friday, February 27, 2009

Bagan practise in full swing to start afresh!

When asked about the derby loss to Karim, the coach was confident and he replied, "You never have any control over a derby match, there is so much that goes into it, the media, the support, the pressure." With this Bagan side going into the derby with the pressure of winning 10 matches on the trot and everybody expecting them to make it 11. Moreover, the unbeaten derby run for Bagan for almost a period of 2 years also was a big pressure to defend and not to mention the pressure of winning the I League. I guess the players couldnot cope up with the pressure well, but honestly am happy we lost." I mean obviously losing in a derby match for Bagan is a big thing, but I learnt to take it in a possitive tone. I can now see the players are more relieved and enjoying themselves and rearing to a start afresh against Churchill; Hope we can make another good run of 6 matches."
When asked about KEB coach Shubhash Bhowmick's derogetary comment, coach Karim said, "I am a coach of ethics, I have my work ethics and I respect even my opposition and so I share a healthy relationship with all footballers and coaches of India."
During practice session however, Bagan coach laid stress on the defensive formation and on the finishing capabilities of the bagan striking force. Pitted against their own defense, Bhaichung, Barreto and Lalam practiced hard and so did Dipak, Manju, Odafe and Habibur.
It seems the team against Churchill would be remaining the same. Dipak, Manju, Odafe, Habibur, Ishfaq, Marcos, Masih, James, Bhaichung, Barreto.
Pictures: Soumyadeb Sinha

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bagan stumble atlast!

The inevitable happened! The dream run for Kareem's boys came to a shocking stand still! Just when they were looking forward to extend their winning streak in the I league and remain undefeated in the Kolkata derby for almost 2 years completing, KEB's coach Subhash Bhowmick pulled a bunny out of his hat to sting Kareem; and the bunny here being Syed Rahim Nabi!
Mohun Bagan lost the Kolkata derby at Salt Lake after almost two years, last being in February 2007, by a solitary goal from Shaumik Dey! But this time its triple the amount! Two coming from Nabi and the last one from the former Bagan youngster, Chettri.
From the way the match started, it seemed Bagan were about to cut a flesh out of KEB's heart. Waves of attack lashed the East Bengal penalty box and Bhaichung Bareto were busy heading and shooting balls towards Abhra Mondal, who slightly lucky, slightly brave was equally upto the task!
Bagan was taken aback in the 22nd minute, when from a corner, an entirely unmarked Rahim Nabi headed in from an unbelievable acute angle. The ball hit the cross bar and went in. Nobody could have done anything. A goal to appreciate, no doubt.
Bagan were just trying to shrug the early set back and get into the game and find an equaliser, but the effort was directionless. And out of the chaos, East Bengal put another in. From a free kick from just out side the box, from the right, Renedy found Nabi, who rose above Odafe to head it in. What was glaring was how on both the occasions Nabi was left free. Subhas has always laid stress on the scoring abilities of Nabi even though he is a side back. The Bagan defense completely over looked the person they should have been most aware of.
The second half promised some tactical move on Kareem's side to put Bagan off the misery. But unfortunate as it were, it was another lacuna in the Bagan defense that was exploited. Rahim Nabi made a run down the right flank, and sent in a minus for Chettri. Manju, a complete misfit as a Central Back was out of his position, and Dipak, who should have been at the thick of it was left in the flanks. Why this was 'unfortunate' is because, Sunil Chettri dawning the green and maroon, a few years back has had even easier chances in front of the goal and he made sure that the opposite goal keeper would thank him after the match for not embarrassing him on the day. But luck favoured and today Chettri went bounding away after scoring the third.
Bagan seemed not out of ideas, but out of resources. Bagan game seemed like a sad tale of disjointed episodes with Deepak running up the flank, trying to centre, hitting the opposite number, Manju rolling into the opponent's half with the ball, ending up passing it off to a KEB player then failing to get back to his position. Dipak needs to play the role of a CB. Manju if can not play LB then may be Mohunraj would still be a better option, considering fully his current horrible run of form and if not him atleast Rahul Kumar.
However, Bagan pressed on in the second half, with Lalampuia, Lalkamal and Mama, but it was just not to be. Bhaichung kept on missing headers, Barreto kept on getting tangled in a mesh work of KEB legs.
However, Kareem should know better that this is not the end of the road. Infact this is where it starts. The I League. It gets tougher and Bagan has to prove its character. The easy job is done. Now to win the I League, Bagan has to win all the matches, hoping SCG falter.
Set backs happen to the best of them, but its those who come back to show that it was nothing but a set back are the best!
Bagan certainly has the character and to win 10 matches in a row is no walk in the park. But Kareem now just needs to shrug off the negative vibes, if there is any, and look forward to winning the I League and making this season memorable one for all the right reasons!
Long Live Mohun Bagan!

Friday, February 20, 2009

FIFA issues an Article on Mohun Bagan!

Mohun Bagan's magical 10 wins in the I League to rise from relegation talks to championship dream, as we all know had excited FIFA and today they has published an article about Mohun Bagan's dream run on the official FIFA website with the Headline : Bencharifa's Bagan back with a Bang! click on the link to view article .

Bagan's streak of 10 excites FIFA!

Mohun Bagan’s feat of 10 wins on the trot in the ongoing I-League has its ripples being felt at world football’s headquarters in Zurich. Fifa, football’s governing body, has taken note of the green and maroon brigade’s ‘Perfect 10’ and
e-mailed a questionnaire to coach Karim Bencharifa. The Q&A will be published on Fifa’s official website. Ever since Sepp Blatter visited India in April 2007 to “wake up the sleeping giant from its slumber”, Indian football has been on the world body’s radar. The official website had carried elaborate interviews of national coach Bob Houghton and All India Football Federation president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi. Besides, Fifa has Satyam Computers as a service provider for World Cup 2010. But publishing an interview of the coach of an Indian club is very rare. And the man in question is happy about it. “Look, 10 wins in any league is an achievement. And in Indian club football it’s a record. It shows that our performance is being noticed. And people want to know about Indian club football,” Bencharifa said. According to Bencharifa, has quizzed him on everything from Bhaichung Bhutia and Jose Ramirez Barreto to the club culture in the country and the state of Indian football. “How important is this winning streak for the club, and how I feel about it are some of the other questions,” he said. Bencharifa, in fact, was taken by surprise to see an email from Fifa. “Your inbox doesn’t show mails from Fifa often, isn’t it?” Ironically, this email comes at a time when most of the critics are trying to sell the idea that Bagan have been lucky in winning those 10 matches. Agreed they were not up to the mark in some— the match against Mohammedan Sporting is still fresh in our minds — but Bagan showed enough guts and gumption to deserve this feat. Bencharifa, who has consciously kept controversy at arm’s length, did not comment on his critics. “I have a big match coming up on Sunday against East Bengal. I am focussed on that and not bothered about what the critics are saying,” the Moroccan signed off.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bagan juggernaut make it 10 in a row! Perfect gift for Kareem!

It was Kareem Bencharifa, the Mohun Bagan coach's birthday and on his 41st birthday he could not have had a better present. Bagan getting three points from the Mohd. Sporting match and with that extending a feat that will be inscribed in golden letters in the history of I League- 10 straight wins in the I League and by doing that regained the number one spot on the league table which was taken away from them for about 15 mins before by Sporting Clube de Goa, who ended their match against Churchill Brother with a win and going on to 31 points. Bagan on the otherhand, moved to 33 points from the same number of matches.
The match started with Bagan enjoying the better portion of possession and also were making quite a few movements down the left flank, engineered by Ishfaq. Dipak was seen to taken a lesson or two from the earlier matches and seemed quite keen enough to move up and down the flank to help Ishfaq.Ishfaq made a few blistering runs down the flank and left the defenders spell-bound and Naseem Akhtar diving for the balls.
However the moment came when from a Odafe throw-in, Barreto received the ball and calmly laid it on for James, who advancing took a left footer on his stride- the ball glanced off Gurpreet Singh's thigh went straight into the Mohd. Sporting goal. After the goal, Bagan tried to maintain the pressure, but was found lackingin vigour and in ideas as Mohd. Sporting slowly clawed into the match. Though there were a few streaks of brilliance here and there from Barreto and Bhaichung, it was not enough to get another goal. Bagan also missed a lot of opportunities to score and thus the half ended 1-0 in Bagan's favour!
The second half, belonged to Mohd. Sporting. In the entire season, Bagan has not played a more awful second half. Waves of Mohd. Sporting attacks kept crashing at the Bagan goal, but the Bagan goalie, Sangram Mukherjee proved once again why even at his age, he can make young promising keepers sit at bay! Acrobatic as he was, he was brave. If James has scored the winner, then Sangra Mukherjee has defended that solitary goal to make it the winner!
Manju today was outstanding and he took much pressure at the back handling Okoro and Eugene and also cover up for Dipak Mondal, who it seemed was not entirely fit.
With this win, Bagan earn 33 points and are at the top of the league table and will play arch rivals East Bengal on the 22nd and will look forward to extend not only their winning streak against East Bengal, but also to make it 11 continuous wins in the I League!
On Behalf of the Millions of Mariners who stay outside India or Kolkata and even on behalf of those who live in the City of Joy, Mohun-Bagan. would like to Wish Kareem Bencharifa on his wonderful Birthday.
Photos: Soumyadeb Sinha

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bhaichung to remain at Bagan next season!

Bhaichung Bhutia, the Indian and Bagan captain, today assured the million Bagan fans that he is staying at Bagan for the next season. Bhaichung confessed that it has been great to play with such success for such a great team and he is happy to have contributed and been loved by the fans. Bhaichung said, that he has a contract with Mohun Bagan for another year and he is in no mood to break such contract because he says he is happy being at Bagan and he is enjoying the atmosphere!
Bhaaichung lauded the wonderful team spirit for the recent success and said that his onfield understanding with Barreto is only being bettered with time. "Now, he knows what I want to do, and I know he wants to do..." said Bhaichung.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bagan topple Sporting to lead I league table! 9 straight wins for Mohun Bagan!

The National cricket team and the National club of India are going hand in hand. It was just yesterday that Dhoni's India team registered their 9th consecutive victory and today Bhaichung, Bagan skipper made sure Bagan go on to register a record 9 consecutive wins in the I League!
Mohun Bagan are now the league leaders with Sporting Clube behind them by 2 points!
It is after almost a long 4 year span that a Kolkata team has made it to the top of the League table! Astonishing as it is, so are Bagan's 9 consecutive wins. Just when it seemed lady luck would deny Bagan their 9th win and push Sporting clube below them, Bhaichung Bhutia, scored a acrobatic goal to put Bagan ahead and acquire the deserved win.
Sporting Clube, the former league leaders looked for every opportunity to bide time and from their game it was difficult to make out what they wanted to kick, Bagan shins or the football. Surprisingly however, the only two times the referee pulled a yellow card was when two Sporting players lost their temper and banged the ball onto the pitch!
Bagan kept their intentions clear as they pressurised the sporting defense on a number of occasions. Ishfaq as always was impressive on the left, however, looked lacking in support on the left with Deepak Mondal not allowing him to make the stretching runs down the left flank. Barreto worked hard along with Masih. Odafe as always impressive at the back along with Manju, who tried their best to keep Sporting strikers Junior and Amos quite. However, it might be a good idea for Karim to bring Dipak back as a Central Back thus strengthening the defence and may be place a Left wing-back who could lend Ishfaq the wanted support. Bagan played their way into the game and created chances way to many but couldnot convert them and from one such chances, at the very end of the first half, off a James centre, Bhaichung placed a wonderful header, which hit the post, went in but was cleared by the Sporting Clube keeper. The Line's man on duty saw nothing interesting about the incident though television replays showed it was a clear goal.
In the second half, Bagan applied increased pressure and it was not far when Bagan again created a goal mouth action. From a long throw in headed in, Habibur headed goalwards but to a Sporting Clube defender on the goal line and then the return ball was headed in again by Bhaichung but again to a Sporting Clube defender. Bagan kept on creating chances one after the other and in the 76th minute, from a corner, Barreto and Habibur scrambled the ball to Bhaichung, who spinning a complete 180 degrees on his toe put the ball to the back of the net.
Bagan did not stop after this and Marcos, Barreto, Ishfaq and Bhaichung kept creating chances but the finish just was not there.
Sporting Clube, was not much impressive. The only times they looked scoring was when two long shots were taken, which the Bagan custodian, Sangram Mukherjee dealt with supreme confidence.
Bagan after this win have remained undefeated in the last 11 matches in this I League, and out of them, 9 continuos wins.
Mohun Bagan next meet Mohd. Sporting on the 15th of February

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Magical Barreto shoots down Air India! Bagan register record 8 I League wins on the trot!

Bagan bettered their previous 7 continuos I League wins today by making it 8 wins on the trot in the I League with the previous record being 6 wins in a row! Air India was shown the door in their own den, as Bimal Ghosh, after the I League defeat, had warned Bagan about Air India's capabilities in the Cooperage! Barreto flouted any such warning and threw Air India to the wind to retain Bagan in the second spot with 27 points, just one point behind Sporting Clube de Goa, who are on 28 points.
Air India, however, drew first blood in the 20th minute. The Air India forwards combined well in the moment to take advantage of the unsettled Bagan defence and after playing a one-two opened up the Bagan goal. Manju looked totally out of position and without any clue of what task he had been assigned to do. Deepak too, assigned the role of a left back ,could not live up to his task of overlapping and sending in good crosses. Odafe, however, stood tall in the defense and covered up for Manju while Habibur played to the best of his ability.
After the goal, Bagan stepped up and Marcos started to initiate a few movements. He himself took a crack at goal, which forced the Air India goalie to make a good save. But the moment came late in the 1st half, when Barreto, off a flat corner from James, headed in the equaliser for Bagan.
In the second half, Air India, it seemed as if was out to prove a point to Bagan and crowded men in Bagan's half, but in the 69th minute, Ishfaq did well to tussle a ball away from an Air India player and initiate a counter attack. Ishfaq ran from the Bagan's and into the half of Air India and laid the ball off to Barreto to the right. Barreto took himself to an acutely narrow angle and then let off a bullet, which pierced through the first bar and the keeper.
Air India piled on the pressure with bringing in some forwards but Odafe, Deepak and Habibur made sure they saw Bagan through with 3 points!
Next, its a clash of the League contenders, Bagan and Sporting Clube in Kolkata!

MOHUN BAGAN ATHLETIC CLUB-The National club of India

A Short History:

MOHUN BAGAN AC-The National club of India, the oldest Club in Asia,
was established on 15th August 1889 when India was up in arms against her collonial head, England.

Eversince its establishment the Club had been winning a lot of local leagues and cups but the moment of greatness that surpasses all came in the year 1911 when Mohun Bagan AC became the first Indian club/team to defeat the foreigners in their own game of football.

On 29th of July 1911 Mohun Bagan won the IFA shield beating East Yorkshire 2-1. Eversince there has been no stopping!

The club has won and keeps on winning many a laurel for the country! It has made our Nation Proud!

According to FIFA rankings, in Asia, Mohun Bagan is the 16th biggest team to have an avg. home crowd of 19,888. According to World standards, Mohun Bagan has been ranked of 127 much ahead of other big clubs like Udinese(Italy), Benfica(Portugal) and Fulham(England) to mention a few.

It is however,not an easy task to consolidate the history of a club which is more than 117 years old*...(read more...)

*For Further Info:Please visit The Offical site of MAC: History section please open in a New Window

Location: Kolkata Maidan
Green and Maroon
Symbol: Sail Boat

Stadium: Mohun Bagan ground
Yuva Bharati Krirangan

MOHUN BAGAN AC- It's not just a club, it is an institution, a religion, a passion. LIVE IT...DIE FOR IT...

A Pictorial trip of the Mohun Bagan Ground!

Satellite Imagery of our Club Ground!*
*Open in a New Window please.
Images of Yuva Bharati Krirangan*
*Open in a New Window please.

Photos by: Soumyadeb Sinha
Photos by: Soumyadeb Sinha


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