Probably for the first time in his last football career of 11 years in Indian football, Ranti Martins, the Nigerian star striker had a false start in this season with a listless performance in the ongoing Kolkata Premier Football League which has already been won by East Bengal for the 37th time.
First of all, the 29-year old striker failed to get into the first eleven in none of the team’s ten Kolkata League matches due to lack of required fitness. Although, Ranti, immediately after reaching Kolkata in the middle of East Bengal’s pre-season residential training camp at Kalyani, said he kept himself busy in doing fitness training in Nigeria.
Ranti instead looked in miserable condition in the team’s all the matches in the Kolkata League, not being able to even move both off the ball and with the ball. In almost every match, the five-time top scorer in the National League (including I-League) had to listen to only boos from the fans.
All the ultimate result of his poor form has come as another ordeal for the Nigerian striker. Despite the fact that all the footballers of East Bengal have been given 10-day holiday after winning the Kolkata Premier league, only Ranti Martins and East Bengal’s another Nigerian defender Bello Rasaq will have to continue training. East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya said, “Both of them are not at all up to the mark. So, I have instructed them to continue doing fitness training till the team’s training resumes.” Bello, the Nigerian defender whose winning goal brought I-League for Mohun Bagan last season, admitted and said, “My fitness level is not in perfect condition. And due to lack of fitness, my technique has also gone down. I must have to regain my fitness and technique. Otherwise, I will be in trouble in the forthcoming I League.”
However, the only foreigner Do Dong-Hyun is likely to go back to his home in South Korea on Sunday. The midfielder who has been the top scorer in the Kolkata Premier League this season with 12 goals has a regret that he could not play full time in the team’s concluding match in the League due to groin injury. Hyun said, “Actually I got the injury during derby match against Mohun Bagan. Still, I wanted to play full time in our concluding match against Kalighat MS. But for the groin injury I did not take the risk. I will only have to take a rest now.”