The Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ clash between Mohammedan Sporting Club and Mohun Bagan AC is the centre of attention as the two traditional rivals poised for an epic confrontation at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Thursday, kick-off is at 3 PM.
While watching Mohammedan going through their final polishing touches on Wednesday morning, one gets a clear sense that the players are highly motivated to conquer Mohun Bagan.
“We will give it our all,” coach Saheed Ramon promised after the pre-match training session. “The players know what lies ahead of them. It’s a big occasion and everyone is excited about it. It’s an opportunity for players to rise and steal the show. This match requires a moment of brilliance and we have prepared all our lads to be that player.”
You could feel the sense of anticipation as the players walked off the pitch after the pre-match session. Ramon was animated during the session, often consulting with the technical team.
“I expect every player to play with the best intentions. I asked my players for strong individual performances, as that is needed to contribute to the overall performance as a team. There are only a few matches left to play for, so there is no room for error. We have to go into this match with the right mentality,” he continued.
The Black Panthers, under Subrata Bhattacharya, were beaten by Mohun Bagan in their Durand Cup clash last month. Although Mohammedan had a good second-half against the Mariners it was little enough to save them from defeat.
“A game becomes history as soon as it is played. What is in the past is in the past. We must think of the present,” the coach insisted.
As for opponents, the gaffer comments, “Mohun Bagan are a formidable side and all know that they have some dangerous players who will punish you if you let your guard down. We had a meeting before our pre-match training and players looked sharp in training and sound determined to do well. It is the final lap and all the teams are making a final push. We will definitely pull out all stops to win this one.”
Another positive in the camp ahead of the Mohun Bagan clash is winger Mohammed Amirul and goalkeeper Priyant Singh is fully fit again and available for selection tomorrow.
“I am glad to have Amirul and Priyant back. They bring something extra to the camp and, without a doubt, they are very important players in our squad,” said the Nigerian about the return of the duo.
Although a lot of focus will be paid to the Spanish contingent of Mohun Bagan, Ramon is insistent that his team need only concern themselves with their own performance.
“For every single match there is a lot of analysis done on our opponents, but I really think it’s more about we play on the day that determines what result we will achieve,” the gaffer concluded.
The clash promises to be an intense battle involving high stakes. Mohammedan, now in 5th spot in the table with 13 points from 8 matches, head into the match knowing that anything less than a victory would send them out of the title picture, meanwhile Mohun Bagan, who are on fourth with 14 points, themselves in dire need of those three points as anything less could potentially end their title aspirations.
Therefore, the situation on Thursday really does demand both Mohammedan and Mohun Bagan adopt a gung-ho approach and go all out for the three points.
(Mohammedan Sporting Club)