East Bengal

I League 2017-18: East Bengal Coach Khalid Jamil under pressure ahead of opener against Aizawl FC

[caption id="attachment_58874" align="alignnone" width="580"]EB-Practice-271117-rr-(18) East Bengal Coach Khalid Jamil will be under pressure as his side takes on defending champions Aizawl FC in an I League encounter at YBK. Image Source: Xtra Time[/caption]

Internet Desk: East Bengal Coach Khalid Jamil is feeling the pressure as his side takes on defending I League champions Aizawl FC in the opener at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. It was Jamil who coached the North East side to glory in I League last season. Talking to reporters during the pre match conference the East Bengal gaffer said, “I always feel the pressure to do well against any opponent and tomorrow is no different.”

It’s been almost four months for Khalid since taking charge of the Kolkata giants. He tasted immediate success by winning the Calcutta League. Talking about tomorrow’s match Khalid said,“It is a big challenge. We need a positive start. We are going to play with a good team. It won’t be an easy match. I have got accustomed to East Bengal. It’s been a long time since I have left Aizawl. Even playing at the ground (Salt Lake Stadium) will be a challenge”, said the former Mumbai FC coach.

It will be a melee of sorts because as many as four former Aizawl FC players, Lalramchullova, Laldanmawia Ralte, Brandon Vanlalremdika and Mahmoud Al Amna alongside Khalid Jamil will line up against their former team in Red and Gold colours.

India internationals Salam Ranjan Singh, Arnab Mondal and Mohammed Rafique will have the foreign contingent of Willis Plaza, Charles D’Souza and Bazzou Armand to rely upon. Eduardo Ferreira and star playmaker Katsumi Yusa jumped ships from cross-town rivals Mohun Bagan and the inclusion of Al Amna makes Kingfisher East Bengal’s midfield an envious one this season.

Both Mehtab Singh and Eduardo has recovered from a fever and so has Laldanmawia Ralte after picking up a knock the previous day. Eduardo Ferreira’s inclusion in the starting lineup is a touch and go case.

“Eduardo is fully fit and will take the field tomorrow against Aizawl,” said Khalid.

As for Paulo Menezes, most of the title-winning players have left for pastures new and he will have the hard task of building the team from scratch. However, the Portuguese has been with the team since August and Aizawl are also involved in the business round of their local state competition, the Mizoram Premier League, having played their first leg of the semifinal last Thursday.

Only skipper Alfred Jaryan continues with the side from the Mizo hills. Former Minerva Punjab defender Kareem Omolaja joins the side and with the induction of Masih Saighani, Andrei Ionescu, Yugo Kobayashi and Leonce Dodoz, Aizawl FC have mustered up a strong foreign contingent.

Local favourite Shylo Malsawmtluanga (injured for the game) and David Lalrinmuana, both former Kingfisher East Bengal players will only make the familiarity factor between the two sides stronger. Liandala Sena, Andrei Ionescu and Jonathan Lalrawngbawla are injured as well.

“It’s a very good challenge facing East Bengal in the first game. All the teams want to beat the champions. We are ready to compete”, the Portuguese said.

He added, “We are still a small team compared to the likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan even though we are champions.”

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