I-League: Bagan aim to sustain momentum
"We need to gain the momentum," comments ONGC Coach Subrata Bhattacharya.
"We cannot let slip the momentum," comments Mohun Bagan's present Coach Mridul Banerjee.
"We need to add to our account at any cost. We have been unlucky but at the end of the day, it's just an excuse. There's no room for errors," adds Subrata.
"We need to garner three full points at any cost. After a bad start, we have won two consecutive matches. A win here will further further propel us ahead," adds Mridul.
"I'm happy I'm scoring goals for my team. That's what is expected of me. But I'm happier with the ground condition at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. It's too good," Bagan's star striker Odafa Okolie, fresh from a hat-trick in his last outing, informs. Mridul, standing near, overheard, and couldn't be more pleased.
"We are not a one-man team," Mridul stressed. "Mohun Bagan is a team of 11 players. It's not about Odafa alone. Odafa is a great striker and he is doing his job just as the other 10 members on the field are doing theirs," he went on.
"Odafa has been ruling Indian football for almost a decade," opines ONGC Coach Subrata. "You give him freedom on the field and he will kill you. We will have to keep an eye on him. I don't believe in man marking. I may rater opt for a zonal marking for him," he opines.
If you stop Odafa, can you stop Bagan? This time, Subrata pauses. "Bagan are a Great team. Look at their history. Their name is enough to ring a bell," he evades the question.
"I'm relieved to get back midfielder Eric Brown. Stopper Robin Gurung has also recovered and will start," Subrata smiles. "Both of them played a pivotal role against Prayag United. They stay our key players."
The Delhi morning chill is bound to pinch you. Courtesy the change in weather, you'll find every alternate person beside you either coughing or sneezing. "Put on your jackets fast," Banerjee instructs his wards after the morning practice at the Stadium.
"This is a lucky ground for me; not only me but for the Senior Players (read National Team Players)," Syed Rahim Nabi joins the conversation. "We know the atmosphere and the ground, as Odafa pointed out, is in excellent condition," he adds.
"For a team like Bagan which has a huge fan following, people become a bit restless when we don't do well. But after a bad start, we are back on the track. We will play to win."
"I don't have much knowledge about ONGC. All I know is that they held Prayag United to a draw, a match which they could have won. The will be a tough team," Mridul stays cautious.
Bagan are on 6 points from 4 matches while ONGC are on 1 pint from 4 matches.
The kick-off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is at 2 pm on Friday (November 9).