West Vs North-East: Inside Story

Residents of the home town were overjoyed to see  the young lad from  Ashoknagar, Sumit Das emerging as the man of the match after scoring a brace in the opening match of the tournament. However he regrets  having missed his third goal which would have given him his maiden hat trick in the start of the tournament .A CR7 fan and a left winger by position, Sumit  aims to play for bigger clubs by giving his best in this tournament. He started his initial days playing for Calcutta Customs Club and now represents the NBP Rainbow AC. He was happy with performance and expects to be drafted to a bigger club by  the end of this tournament.

The team is coached by Mr.Ranjan Chowdhury, who is incidentally also the assistant coach at East Bengal .He was quite motivated in spite of having so many changes in the team. He tried his best to bring the team in sync because of lack of training together as a team and also insisted the higher authorities to let the team stick together and stay at one place so that they understand each other  well and have no problem in communication during the game. There was lack of coordination between the defenders and the goalie Ranajit Majumder which was very evident .

Sumit Das was a last minute addition to the team that  turned out to be a golden opportunity for the team who motivated his side  with his early minute goals . No doubt the team is full of skillful players but the coach expects a better coordination from the team in their next match. He is not satisfied with the current format of the game of having matches everyday on a regular basis with each state playing their next game after a gap of one day which does not give ample amount of time for recovery .He ran out of substitutions as he wanted his players to avoid injuries and be fit for the next game.

Mr.Choudhury is very motivational when it comes to boosting the morale of the players since he knows that the players have not played together much as a team and so there will be lack of confidence which he believes he can spark with the right kind of attitude of supporting them. Most of the players were busy with their club commitments at Mohammedan Sporting and joined on the eve of our their match against Manipur .There was literally  not much  training before the tournament. The team  missed out on  four players who have returned to represent their employers Railways in a Inter-Railway tournament, while another was injured. As a result, Bengal were forced to ring in five changes from the squad who qualified from East Zone by winning their two Group B matches against Chhattisgarh (2-0) and Jharkhand (2-0) in Patna.

Mr.Chowdhury, however, said he’s not demoralized and took it up as a challenge to prove himself.More than on field training, coach Ranjan Chowdhury was keen to build the team off the field in the little time frame he had got. His first task was to build the team spirit as he thought these problems would affect the performance on the pitch. West Bengal who have won the title 32 times will be looking forward to more wins and are quite motivated after the first game facing Westerners Maharashtra in their second game tomorrow.

Manipur  had emerged as the new football Capital of India however the lack of support  from state association saw the absence of many talented players. The tiny north-eastern state is home to eight out of the total  of twenty-one players who constituted  the Indian squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. According to former players and experts, two key reasons for the state’s success in football are the natural sports talent that people here are found to have and the deep craze for football which has made the sport a part of daily life here.

This year’s team had many new additions with a lot of restrictions caused due to eligibility criteria that debarred players from the I-League and ISL who have committed themselves  for the Super Cup who’s qualifiers are underway. As per reports 7 teams out of the 10 teams representing the state leagues boycotted the All Manipur Football Association. The remaining 3 teams constitutes of players from the Neroca FC who are ineligible to play the Santosh Trophy.

The TRAU (Tiddim Road Athletic Union) is representing I-League in the 2nd Division which leaves the selection criteria from the one remaining team .It also included some unknown local players making their debut to make the cut and get noticed. Around thirty-three players from across the State had been selected to participate in the trial cum coaching program for selection of Manipur team. Manipur finally had a clear chance to score when Jerry Pulamte’s shot was parried by the Bengal goalkeeper but the danger kept looming until Bengal defenders cleared the ball. They are well managed team with ample number of practice sessions up their sleeve so they will look forward to a comeback in their second game against Chandigarh tomorrow.