With only four days remaining for kick-off in the Calcutta football League against Mohammedan Sporting, Mohun Bagan seems to be keeping its faith on two outstation footballers. One is Brazilian defender Gustavo Silva. Another is Kean Lewis, 19-year old lad from Mumbai who has experience of participating in a couple of Major League Soccer matches for Huston Dynamos last season. Among these players, Mohun Bagan coach seems more impressed with Lewis than the Brazilian defender so far. The team had been able play three friendly matches so far where Lewis has shown impressive performance, scoring twice in a match against CFC. More importantly Lewis, the cadet of Maharastra Football Academy (PIFA) who also spent a year by learning football in Tata Football Academy, has ability to feed his strikers, playing from the deep in the attacking hole. Mohun Bagan played a goalless draw on in its last preparatory match against Railway FC Tuesday. Bagan strikers messed up a lot of chances. Even Lewis also was not exceptional in this perspective. Still he earned the applause for his excellent passing ability and with-ball speed. Coach Sanjoy Sen said after the match, “There are so many players who perform superb in the training or in a preparatory match. So, Lewis will still be under observation as he has not yet performed in a competitive match. But considering the basics, he is potential.” Lewis is all set to sign for Mohun Bagan before their kick-off in the Kolkata premier league on next Sunday. But he might not start in the opening match.
Bagan coach actually seems to be little anxious as he does not have a quality foreign striker yet. The Ghanaian striker, Samuel Eboah who also came on trial and participated in the team’s all three friendly matches, seems not to have been able to make an impact on the coaching staffs. Naturally, Mohun Bagan will have to start with two young Bengali strikers, Raja Das and Azharuddin Mullick. The team has so far only foreigner, the Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa. Raja Das shined in the senior national football championship, Santosh Trophy last year, being the top scorer of Bengal. And Azharuddin Mullick is also a potential striker who had an excellent show in the IFA Shield last season, being chosen the best player of the tournament.
Looking at the condition of the defensive part Gustavo Silva has not yet regained the required fitness for the match. The Brazilian fitness trainer of Mohun Bagan Garcia Miranda, talking about Gustavo’s fitness, said, “It might take around 10 days more for him to regain match fitness.” But, on Tuesday, despite being unfit, Gustavo, playing in the team’s friendly match against Railway FC, showed glimpses of his old magic a little bit as he was immaculate in tackling the opposition strikers on a few occasions. A senior footballer said, “Once he regains the full fitness he could be an attraction in the Kolkata Premier league due to his finer technique.” Gustavo is also likely to be registered by the club. But it might take a couple of League matches for him to get into the first 18.
Mohammedan Sporting on the other hand, has made a team totally with most of the local footballers. On Tuesday, the club, having earned the title sponsor of the team for this season, announced their team in a city hotel. Coach Mridul Bannerjee said, “Though we do not have any experienced player or a high quality foreigner, the boys look mentally charged to produce their best in the Kolkata league this season.”