After the postponement of holders Mohun Bagan AC’s opening fixtures and the imminent arrival of the Durand Cup in Kolkata’s football calendar, the 122nd edition of the Calcutta Premier Division got underway on the 27th of July.
For those keeping score, it’s 39 titles for East Bengal FC and 30 for Mohun Bagan AC. Mohammedan FC has a credible 11 titles, while Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (established in 1792!) has won it eight times.
The Calcutta Football League is multi-tiered, stretching up to six major divisions with promotion/relegation structure in place.
The top tier is divided in two: Premier Division A and Premier Division B. Division A is where the likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan feature. Four teams from Division B are promoted to Division A and have a chance to face the top clubs of the city.
Here comes the fairy tale story of BSS Sporting Club. Formed in 2015, the Behala-based club earned back-to-back promotions by winning the CFL 3rd division in 2015, CFL 2nd division in 2016, and CFL 1st division in 2017.
A fourth place finish in the 2018 CFL Premier Division Group B ensured that the club continued its run in the CFL.
BSS began their campaign in the CFL Premier Division A on the opening day with a credible 1-1 draw against Southern Samity at the Barasat Stadium. A goal from Ujjal Howladar was canceled out by Southern Samity’s foreign recruit, Mahmoud Al Amna.
In their next fixture, BSS played out a goalless draw against Rainbow AC at the Gayeshpur Stadium to pick up two points from two matches.
South Kolkata go head to head.
Beton Kamo fired Bhowanipore FC to a winning start with a hattrick against Rainbow AC. Anup Raj helped himself to a brace, while Supriya put his name on the scoresheet.
Raj, alongside Antorushith Rushianto and Shelton Nickson are a trio of young players from Bangalore who have been signed by Bhawanipore FC for the tournament.
At the Gayeshpur Stadium, Kalighat Milan Sangha, beat Calcutta Customs 2-1 with goals from Tuhin Biswas and Surojit. Stanley scored the lone goal for the Customs outfit.
The two south Kolkata rivals came head-to-head at the Barasat Stadium, where Kamo backed up his hattrick with another goal in Bhowanipore’s 2-1 victory over Kalighat Milan Sangha.
Kamo’s fellow Ivorian Leonce Dodoz was the other goalscorer for Bhowanipore, while Kalighat MS pulled one back through Tuhin Biswas with a well-directed diving header. The win puts Bhowanipore at the top of the table on the opening week.
|2||Mohun Bagan AC||11||6||2||3||20||10||10||20|
|6||BSS Sporting Club||11||5||2||4||13||14||-1||17|
Out with the new, in with the old
The fantastically named Aryan Club faced their age-old rival George Telegraph SC at the Gayeshpur Stadium. East Bengal may be celebrating their centenary year in 2019, Aryan Club is in their 135th year of existence. Their rivals George Telegraph SC are in their 94th year.
In this year’s edition, goals from Joel Sunday and Rajib Shaw sealed a 2-1 victory for George Telegraph, while Mohammed Farid scored for Aryan Club.
Last year’s runners-up, Peerless SC played out a 2-2 draw against Southern Samity. Basant Singh and Faisal Ali scored for Peerless, while Ansumana Kromah scored a brace to split the points.
Backed by the business conglomerate of the same name, Peerless won promotion to the Division A in the 2016 season and surprised many with a second place finish in the 2018 season. A repeat of the same performance was dented at the Barasat Stadium against Aryan Club.
A 4-3 scoreline in favor of their opponents and the next fixture against current champions Mohun Bagan could put Peerless in the backfoot early in league.
As for the goalscorers, Abhinobo Bag, Pankaj Moula, and Anthony Wolfe scored for Peerless, while a brace from Aryan’s Nigerian recruit Ejiogu Emmanual, and goals from Kuti Ademola and Sandip Oraw sealed victory for the Dharmatala-based club.
The start of the 129th edition of the Durand Cup would mean that the league fixtures will be stretched over a period of three weeks.
Next week: The big boys join the party as East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan SC play their opening fixtures.