Sunday, April 26, 2009
Mohun Bagan finish 2008-09 as the best in India! 2008-09 is a season that will not be forgotten any soon. Bagan has played 4 tournaments, in India and has emerged deserved Champions in 3 of them and runner up the one. Today, Federation Cup winner, Mohun Bagan met I league winner Churchill Bros for the Super Cup tie in Gurgaon and emerged victorious to end the season on a high and beat the best in the country to capture that spot. Bagan and Churchill both started the match cautiously, trying to measure each other. However, Bagan made more of the headway and Bhaichung was given a few opportunities to score but failed. However, Bagan drew first blood through Manju, whose looping header foxed the keeper who watched the ball drop inside the goal. Bagan took the lead in the 21st minute. Churchill started to pressurize thereafter but Bagan defense comprising of Habibur, Manju, Deepak and Mohunraj showed much discipline and cut off ball supply to Odafa, the highest goal scorer in the I League. Odafa and Deepak kept Odafa and Felix under strict vigilance and did not allow any space. However, at the very end of the first half, from a Vashum centre, the ball deflected of Deepak and rolled into the Bagan net. Churchill equalized. The second half saw end to end action, both teams giving their best and both teams created chances and came to scoring a few occasions. Shilton Pal, who was trusted under the Bagan bar, came after a long injury lay off and pulled off some good saves to keep Bagan in the game. Bagan kept up the pressure and Barreto was denied a definite penalty, when Churchill defender pulled the Brazilian ace down, as he made his was on his way to score the second for Bagan. Referee M. Suresh did not heed any plea for a penalty. However, as they say, Cometh the hour, Cometh the man and in the 88th minute, from a Mohunraj centre, Barreto headed in the winner, but in the process injured himself. He hit his face against the defender in front of him and received a bad cut in his mouth. He was taken to the hospital soon after and according last news received from an official sources, Barreto has been reported to be doing okay. Bagan met Churchill thrice this season and have defeated them twice while got beaten once. Mohun Bagan earned their 2nd Super Cup title in just three appearances. Last time they had beaten Dempo SC, the then I League champion 4-0. Bagan has been once the undisputed Indian Champions, when they had won the Federation Cup and the I League in the same season.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
With Mumbai FC facing a financial dilemma, the heart of the club in the form of their central midfielders – Kalia Koluthungan and Riston Rodrigues have switched their loyalties to I-League runners-up Mohun Bagan.
While Riston signed up with the Green and Maroons on Sunday, Kulothungan put pen to paper only on Tuesday evening at his home in Thanjavur.
Riston said, “Just a fortnight back, Mumbai FC were offering me a good deal for the next three years but due to the problems the club is facing, I had no option but to move on.
“We had an informal meeting with the coach and some from the management told us to sign up if we get a good offer from other clubs rather than waiting for one at Mumbai FC.”
The 29 year old was approached by the likes of East Bengal and Pune FC as well but the medio opted for Mohun Bagan for getting to work under Coach Karim Bencherifa.
“Pune FC had approached but I can’t take any chances with a new club. You can’t trust new clubs any more as they can shut at any moment. Teams are Mohun Bagan are here to stay. I have signed for two years,” added Riston.
Kulothungan too added that the confusion at Mumbai FC meant that he had to look out for offers. The 29 year old had a great season with Mumbai FC scoring seven goals in the I-League and thereby in contention for the Best Midfielder of the season award.
“I have signed for a year with Mohun Bagan and have informed our coach David Booth as he had asked us to keep him posted if we do sign elsewhere,” said Kulothungan.
Several other players are also on the radar of other I-League clubs and it remains to be seen what Mumbai FC are to conjure up to deal with this imminent problem.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Jehad Al-Hussien Fadel scored a hattrick as Kuwait SC blanked Mohun Bagan 6-0 in their AFC Cup group D match at the Kuwait SC Stadium in Kuwait Tuesday. The defeat put an end to Bagan’s AFC Cup run. The winners led 4-0 at half-time. According to information received here, Fadel drew the first blood in the 10th minute and netted the second in the 22nd. Frontliner Farag Laheeb Saad added two more in the 34th and 39th respectively, before Fadel got his third in the 72nd. Six minutes later the Kuwaitis got their sixth goal when Bagan defender NS Manju scored an own goal. This was Bagan’s fourth defeat on the trot in the cup.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Mohun Bagan had nothing to lose going into the match with needing nothing short of a miracle. Churchill losing point to Mohd. Sp., who are fighting relegation and Bagan winning the match against M.U with a broken team, four first team players suspended in the last match, courtesy referee Rizuanur- was something impossible.Churchill thumped 6 goals past the Mohd. Sp. keeper and became the I league champions and Bagan finished Runners Up, three points short, following their loss against M.U. Surprising? not really! It was a well executed 'plan' by AIFF. A Churchill official is incidentally a high official in the AIFF. AIFF made sure Bagan do not go into the match with their full strength side, just to play safe. In the last match, referee Rizuanur showed 4 yellow cards to 4 Bagan players, all key players in Karim's scheme of things erasing Bagan's hope of a miracle. Marcos, Masih, Manju, two midfield players and a CB along with Lakamal had to sit out. While Vasan came in Manju's place and makeshift midfielder, Rahul Kumar and an out of place James singh hopelessly tried to cope with MU attacks. The Television commentators were heard complaining that MU were missing the services of the out of form N.P. Pradeep. Very insightful piece of commentary indeed, but they missed to mention, even for a second that Bagan were lacking the services of three inform players- Marcos, Masih and Manju. About the match though, Bagan really didnot settle into the match from the beginning. It was 10 mins in when the news came in that Churchill were leading 2-0 against Mohd. Sp. and that meant no matter what Bagan would do, they would still remain the runners' up, unless they take in a dozen of goals so as to allow Sporting Clube slip past them. Bagan though tried to score, the midfield and defense really failed them today. Too many balls were played through the defense, as sorry to say, Vasan really doesnot deserve to play in the Mohun Bagan defense. From one such balls, played in between Deepak and Odafe, Deepak failed to connect and Edeh Chidi taking Odafe in his stride took Sangram away from the goal and placed the ball into the net through the right of the keeper. However, Bagan came close to scoring first through Bhaichung, but it was not to be, no gifts for guessing...its the Mr. Referee again. This is the third time in a span of 4 matches(against Chirag Utd, Dempo, Mahindra) that Bhaichung's goal has been disallowed. Mere coincidence? Not conspiracy for sure, I hope. The second half saw, few changes- Branco IN, Rahul Kumar OUT; Lalram IN, Mama OUT. One still felt Karim would have done better had he sacrificed Vasan, and brought in Deepak in CB, send Rahul Kumar to LB and bring in Branco. However, Karim later had to bring Deepak in CB, when Odafe, injured replaced Mohunraj, who went in LB. Bagan thought tired to restore parity, defense and a malfunctioning midfield didnot allow Bagan to settle down and play their game. Mahindra kept up the tempo and the defense allowed too much space for MU forwards. Edeh Chidi was left free on a number of occasions and he made Bagan pay as from one such opportunity, he drove in a ball home from the top of the box, completely unmarked. After the second goal went in, news came in from Goa that Mohd. Sp has pulled one back. Bagan as it seemed were up and willing to do something, but to no avail. Bhaichung and Barreto did show some sparks of personal brilliance, but were soon out numbered in the crowd of MU players in their own half. Bagan came close to scoring when Branco glanced a ball goalwards, but luck favoured the MU goalie as the ball struck his boot and went out. Bagan continued their bona fide attempts to score and in the 90th minute, from a Ishfaq centre, Barreto magnificently glanced a header goalwards, but just as the keeper thought he had saved it with a diving effort, Branco slid in and scored an opportunistic goal. Bagan retained their second spot and ended on 43 points along with Sporting Clube de Goa, but lead them in goal difference. Again Goal difference? only difference...its for the better this time for Karim!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia is all keyed up. He has led the country and his club Mohun Bagan with reasonable success this season and is now waiting for a fitting end to it. Of course, he is aware that even a win against Mahindra United in the Capital on Thursday, the last day of the I-League, may not ensure his team the title. Never one to shirk challenges, Bhutia talks about the season that is all set for a climactic finish. Excerpts: On the threshold of winning the first I-League title for Mohun Bagan, what are your feelings and predictions? If it happens, it will be fantastic for me as well as the team. This season, Mohun Bagan have won everything they have played. And now, we are in a strange situation. It’s tight and very absorbing as well. I am hoping to win the match and then see... After 10 wins on the trot in I-League, where did Bagan lose ground to Churchill Brothers? It was the Churchill match in Goa. We lost 3-1, played very badly. I was suspended. Barreto got injured. That loss turned out to be very crucial and has made all the difference. How did the overall season go? I couldn’t have asked for a better season. India did very well this season and so did my club. My contribution in both causes has been quite satisfactory. It will be overwhelming if we could manage to win the league now. How is your body responding to such a gruelling season? Right now it feels very tiring. Travelling has taken a huge toll on all of us. There has been hardly any time to recover. We have been flying in and out for AFC Cup matches as well. Is your body saying ‘how long’ or is it saying ‘carry on’? Well, it’s not that bad. At the end of the season every player is tired. Actually, now mental fatigue is catching up. If at the start of the season my body starts asking questions, then I will know it is time to take a call. For the first time, a foreign coach could win the I-League. Do you think, it’s going to become a trend from now on? I can’t say about that. But Karim Bencherifa (Bagan coach) has done a great job and the results are there for everyone to see. He has handled the pressure very well considering that it was his first season in Kolkata. But one thing is for sure, to win anything a coach has to have a good team. The signings must be good during the transfers. What is Dempo or Churchill’s recipe for success? They have kept the same group for a long time. In fact, Churchill are reaping the fruits of Bencherifa’s hard work. Suppose Bagan bring in 15 new players next season, the team is unlikely to find much success. How has 12 years of NFL helped the national team? I have always believed that club coaches produce players. Wayne Rooney was not the product of Fabio Capello or Sven-Goran Eriksson. He is an Everton product. Our clubs must realize this. Karim can claim that he has made Rakesh Masih but how many club coaches can claim to have done that? Most of them (coaches) hardly give opportunities to new players. And all clubs have foreigners in the striking position. The federation (AIFF) has to address this issue. Will you ever return to East Bengal? At the moment I am happy with Bagan and I have a year’s contract to serve. But the possibility of joining East Bengal is bleak. Unless something drastic happens, I will probably play my last game in Green-and-Maroon colours. No emotions left for the red-and-gold shirt? I have very good memories with East Bengal and also equally bad memories. I would rather leave it at that. How is the players’ association doing? It is doing well and slowly growing. But the players’ association is a new concept in our country and has not been fully accepted as yet. The clubs and the AIFF must realize that the association is there to help, it is not their enemy Source: Times of India
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
"Well, what now?" Karim Bencherifa could only come up with a chuckle from long-distance. It was the morning-after syndrome. Mohun Bagan have notched a miraculous victory in the I-League on Sunday night and the team’s Moroccan coach was going through the newspapers, trying to soak in all that had been written. As the proxy war with Churchill Brothers for the I-League title continues, Bencherifa opened his heart to TOI.
Your first season in Kolkata wasn’t that bad. Are you satisfied?
A: One can’t be satisfied because that means the start of the downfall. I think we could have done better both in AFC and I-League, where I think we still have a chance to win. Having said that, I don’t want to take anything out of what the team did during this season. It was a long tough season, especially given our small operational group. I feel proud that Bagan have taken the lead to end Kolkata football’s struggle - this was the best season for Bagan since 2001 and the best for any Kolkata club in the last 5 years.
Between Goa and Kolkata, where do you think is the work atmosphere better?
A: For me it does not matter. I am a professional coach and I should give my best wherever I am, no matter what the working atmosphere is. It’s definitely different but not necessarily better here or there. Pressure is tremendous on the Kolkata teams. Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations; winning every game, winning every competition. It is simply impossible. But what is strange is that some of these people are part of the football fraternity and also claim to understand the game. You just look at Mohun Bagan this season. We are the most successful team in the city but yet we are the most criticised in Kolkata by a section of the media, some ex-players and even some coaches. In contrast, the football community all over India highlights and praises our team. This does not help the cause of Bengal’s football.
Do you think that one match (against East Bengal) scuppered your calculations in the I-League?
A: Not really. If we are finding it difficult in the home stretch of the I-League, it’s because of the first five games where we did not win even one match. I know some coaches can claim success because of one match but I am not that lucky. My club is more demanding. My club wants trophies not only one match!
Do you think the city attaches too much importance to one match?
A: It is normal for the fans to give importance to derby matches but we as professionals have to keep it in perspective as well. I don’t think I will keep my job just by winning only against East Bengal. Trophies are what matters in football.
How difficult is it playing in Asia and the I-League simultaneously with the roster that Indian teams have?
A: Extremely difficult. Especially when the "operational group" is too small; players can’t play 100% games of the season. Take for example Cristiano Ronaldo. He started only 60% of the games last season because there are good replacements for him. For us, we don’t have any replacements for players like Baichung Bhutia, Jose Barreto, Ishfaq Ahmed, Marcos, Deepak Mondal. The replacements need time to mature.
Don’t you think that coaches should have more say in team building?
What are your plans for the coming season?
A: Sometimes it is not possible because the coach can be changed in the middle of the season or can be hired after the crucial transfer market. So, the coach must have the ability to work with what he has.
You have worked with the best strikers on show. Who has impressed you most?
A: Odafa, Mboyo, Baichung, Barreto, even the youngster Branco all are good strikers - each one of them has his own approach to the game and has strengths but all of them are effective and can get you goals. I enjoyed working with each of them.
Lastly, do you think I-League is the answer to India’s footballing woes?
A: I-League is definitely a strong asset for Indian football. National team is another one and youth development is the forgotten one. If you take a look at the three assets, they are closely linked to each other. They have to go all together without one harming the other one because all are a must for any progress to happen.
Source: Times of India
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Bagan today had a tough home match against Dempo SC at the Barasat Stadium and needed to win to keep their title hopes alive and take the 2008-09 I League right to the wire. Now the situation is such that the title will be decided on the last day of the League, when Bagan meet Mahindra Utd. in Delhi and Churchill Bros. meet Mohd. Sp in Goa. Bagan today wrested a vital win from the jaws of a draw. The draw would have ended Bagan dreams for winning the I League, but Bagan defender N.S. Manju made sure Bagan fans have a good nights sleep as a clinched the winner in the last minute of the game. Bagan, who this season had won the two previous encounters with Dempo, (once in the first leg in Goa and then in the Federation Cup final) were determined to win this match and extend their tally to 13 wins in this I League. Bagan went on the offensive and played some good football in the first half. Though Dempo tried to grip the match, Bagan drew first blood through Barreto in the 28th minute. Bhaichung scored again, but it was over-ruled by the referee. The referee seemed a bit too biased towards the Goan side as a lot of Dempo tackles went unnoticed. Dempo though had their share of chances in the first half, Bagan also came close to scoring on a number of occasions through Ishfaq, Barreto and Bhaichung, but they were not accurate. In the second half, after Dempo dramatically took the field late than usual, continued with their tough tackles and went grossly unnoticed, instead Marcos was shown a yellow card and he will have to sit for the last match. However, Dempo's attempts paid off when Ranty Martins headed in the equaliser. Bagan seemed a thunderstruck and were lacking in ideas over a stretch of time, but Barreto & Co. like professionals with their "never say die" attitude kept testing the Dempo defense and Barreto, Bhaichung kept the Dempo custodian Abhijit busy under the bar. on the 93rd minute, however, Barreto chipped in a ball and Manju headed in the winner. Sangram to under the Bagan bar stood tall and denied the Dempo forwards on a number of occasions.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Mohun Bagan striker Jose Ramirez Barreto today got back his passport after a court ruling was issued in this regard. “Barasat Court today issued a directive to hand him (Barreto) over his passport,” Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra said. The Brazilian’s passport was confiscated after he was arrested in March 2008 at the Kolkata airport for allegedly carrying dollars in excess of the permissible amount. Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan’s AFC Cup match against the Syrian outfit Al Karama, which was earlier scheduled on May 7, will now be played on May 19 at the Howrah Stadium. The match had to be rescheduled with the fixture clashing with Lok Sabha polls in Howrah. Mohun Bagan will play their away tie against Al Wihdat of Jordan at King Abdullah International Stadium on May 5. Bagan are languishing at the bottom of Group D and are yet to open their account.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
After a successful season with George Telegraph last year in the Kolkata Football League, Shubho Kumar had caught the attention of many and the veteran Prasun Bhattacharya went to extent of saying that Shubho Kumar should immediately be signed by Mohun Bagan in order to render more stabilty to their midfield. However, as the transfer window opens in a few weeks, already players are entering into negotiations with the clubs and the news is that the much sought after player in Kolkata, Shubho Kumar who has had offers from all the three clubs of Kolkata, has showed his interest to play for Bagan and according to Shubo Kumar himself, the negotiation is in progress with the Bagan officials and high chances are that he would be signing for Bagan for the coming season. Media reports also suggest that Bagan have offered Chirag's left half back Snehashish. In the coming season, the Kolkata Footbal League and the I League will be played simultaneously, so Bagan will have to sign a number of quality players who can render stability to the side in the Local league, because key players will be rested for the KFL in order to keep them fresh for the I League matches.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Mohun Bagan today met Kuwait SC for the AFC Cup 2009 tie at the Howrah stadium and Bagan are yet to collect a single at the end of three matches with a goal difference -2.
Unlike the other three matches, for Karim preferred to rest his key players, todays match Karim considered to be an important match for keeping the hopes alive for advancing to the next round. But today Bagan's performance without the least shadow of doubt was below par. May be the tight schedule brought by the incompetent AIFF is taking its toll on everybody.
Barreto, Marcos, Ishfaq and Sangram were either sick or had just recovered from their ailments yet they all played today to earn the valuable three points, which never came.
The match started with both teams trying to gauge each others' strengths and weaknesses. The first half was mainly confined to the middle of the field with both teams trying to control the match. An easy chance did come Bagan's way when due a defensive lapse, Bhaichung's marker fell behind and Bhaichung who was one on one with the advancing Kuwaiti goalie, some how kept his balance and fired wide of the goal. Barreto seemed off colour today and the Kuwait SC showed no mercy, flying in with hard challenges.
However, the match took a wild turn when Marcos flew in with a fair sliding tackle and won the ball cleanly off a Kuwaiti player. The referee signalled for Play On, but the other Kuwaiti players rushed towards Marcos and started pushing and shoving. Marcos retaliated and suddenly the entire Kuwait SC team staff entered the field. The referee took control of the situation and issued a yellow card for both Marcos and his Kuwaiti counterpart. The first half ended goalless.
The second half began with Bagan trying to squeeze something out but from a free kick, in the 68th minute, Kuwait scored.
After conceding the goal, Bagan did try to comeback but the efforts seemed to inadequate. However, it must be said, Kuwait SC were a good defensive lot today. They successfully foiled any attacks built by Bagan through the centre of the field, and its pretty obvious Bagan is lacking quality side backs. Dipak Mondal is playing the role of a left back, when it is apparent that he cannot over lap and even if he does, he cannot send in quality centres!
Malsaumtulunga, who came in place of James Singh in the 2nd half was totally inactive down the left flank. Bagan were chocked themselves to death for the remainder of the match.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
A mystery fever is giving Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencharifa a frown. Three of his first team players — Jose Ramirez Barreto, Ishfaq Ahmed and Marcos Perreira — are down with fever and doctors have failed to diagnose the cause. It started with Marcos earlier this week and seemed to have passed on to Barreto and Ishfaq. The two Brazilians played with high fever against Vasco in the I-League match on Thursday and are running against time to be fit for Tuesday’s AFC Cup home match against Kuwait SC. Ishfaq complained of a sore throat just before the kick-off on Thursday, but decided to start. But the fever seems to have taken a toll and may skip Saturday’s practice session to recuperate. “They are too weak to play right now. But we are hoping all three of them will be fit before the Tuesday’s tie,” a Bagan source said. It might be recalled that the Bagan camp was affected by conjunctivitis before I-League’s first-leg match against East Bengal. The red-and-gold brigade did create a ruckus and asked the match commissioner to bar players from playing with that contagious disease. The matter was later amicably settled. Bagan’s goalkeeper Shilton Paul, in fact, was seen constantly wiping his eyes and was quoted as saying that he could not see Syed Rahim Nabi slipping in to score the equaliser. Paul was later substituted Source: The Telegraph
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Bagan with just three games left for the I League, Bagan needed to win all three to keep Churchill under pressure and today Karim Benchariffa, though had some early jitters convincingly pushed Vasco aside thumping 3 goals.
Bagan seemed to play into Vasco and let Vasco take the initiative at the beginning. Vasco came up with a few attacks and once lofted a ball over the Bagan custodian to strike the post. That came as a rude awakening call and from then on, Bagan put on the pressure. Mohun Bagan utilised the right flank to its fullest and Barreto playing along with Lukaram James sent in a few quality balls. The first chance for Bagan came when, from a Marcos centre, Manju headed a ball goalwards, but the Vasco goalie showed good reflex to keep the ball out.
Within minutes, from the right, Barreto played a perfect ball for Ishfaq, who had the keeper at his mercy, but the Kashmiri could not head it in.
Finally, the goal came and through Ishfaq it was. Same clever little ball ball played in by Barreto to Ishfaq, who just headed in the ball.
Bagan went into the half with that one goal.
In the second half again, Bagan was allowing Vasco settle, but that's when Barreto-Bhaichung magic blinded the Vasco defense. Bhaichung played a beautiful controlled through ball on the top of the penalty box, which was met precisely by Barreto, running diagonally and then after completely wrong footing the keeper, thumped in the 2nd goal.
10 minutes from regulation time, Manju scored his second goal of the I League, when he met a centre by Marcos at the far post. Manju came out of no where to stroke the ball in and himself collided with the post and fell. However, he stood up after some attention and played the match through.
Bagan are now on 40 points.
Team: Sangram, Odafe, Manju, Dipak, Habibur, James, Masih(Lalkamal), Marcos, Ishfaq, Barreto(Branco), Bhaichung
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
Colours: 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!*
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Images of Yuva Bharati Krirangan*
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Photos by: Soumyadeb Sinha
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Images of Yuva Bharati Krirangan*
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Photos by: Soumyadeb Sinha