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I-League 2018-19 Preview: Mohun Bagan AC

Mohun Bagan fans welcome Sony Norde back to their club. Photo Courtesy: @Mohun_Bagan/Twitter
Mohun Bagan fans welcome Sony Norde back to their club.
Photo Courtesy: @Mohun_Bagan/Twitter

The Mariners are the favorites to win the league, and rightly so. They have the depth in the squad, a new man in charge, and the possibility of competing in their last-ever I-League could fuel the hunger for the Kolkata giants to go out with a bang.

Background

One can never discount Mohun Bagan in the I-League – especially this year. They started their season by wresting the Calcutta Football League title away from East Bengal.

The settled squad was further strengthened with the addition of Yuta Kinowaki and fan-favorite, Sony Norde.

In the CFL, Mohun Bagan’s build-up play was their strength. The players would want to replicate the same in the I-League, where they would opt to look for their teammates in better positions instead of having a shot at goal.

The team looks strong with Shilton Paul in goal. While Kingsley and Lalchhawnkima is the preferred centre-back partnership.
Yuto Kinowaki or Darren Caldeira could be the first choice central midfield spot.

Up front, Mohun Bagan is spoiled for choice. Aser Dipanda Dicka and Henry Kisekka would lead the attack, but they also have Sony Norde as a potent option, should he remain fit.

Mohun Bagan

The Gaffer

Sankarlal Chakraborty has been at Mohun Bagan since 2014. He has worked as assistant manager to both Subhash Bhowmick and Sanjoy Sen.

Earlier this year, Chakraborty ended East Bengal’s eight-year dominance of the Calcutta Football League. The title win fuelled the expectations of the fans and caused the club president, Tutu Bose, to have a foot-in-mouth moment.

Chakraborty likes his team to play a good passing game, by keeping the ball on the ground. After winning the CFL, he would be hoping to bring an end to the I-League trophy drought as well.

Player Watch

Aser Pierrick DipandaThe top-scorer in the 2017/18 season with 13 goals. The Cameroonian is likely to repeat that feat this season with the arrival of Kisseka and Sony Norde to provide support up front.

Henry Kisekka: The Ugandan led the attack at Gokulam Kerala in the 2017/18 season scoring 4 goals. He has already formed a formidable partnership with Dipanda, scoring 6 goals in the Calcutta Football League.  

What to Expect

Mohun Bagan has been in the top three of the I-League for the last four seasons. They topped the league in 2014-15. With one of the strongest squads in the I-League this season, the Kolkata-based club would be hoping to win the title.

The club received a major investment to keep them afloat for the next 10 years. This could also create a possibility for the club management to bid for a spot in the Indian Super League.

The supporters would be hoping for a title win this year. They have already bagged the CFL after 9 years. A title win could be a perfect final bow to the I-League, as a move to greener pastures looks increasingly possible.

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