Indian football giants and 2014-15 I-League champions Mohun Bagan start their campaign against Goan based club Churchill Brothers in the fourth match on Sunday, 8th January. The match which was scheduled to be played at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium will now be played at Vidyasagar Krirangan, Barasat due to environmental issues.
Setting the scene:
The Mariners come into this season on the back of a good campaign last year, finishing in second place on the points table with 30 points from 16 games, just two points shy of eventual champions Bengaluru FC.
Coach Sanjoy Sen has repeatedly confirmed in the past that he is looking to win this year's I-League and for them to do that, they will need to ensure that they remain consistent and find that extra gear to go on and win games. Their tendency to draw a lot of games hurt them last season as they drew six games compared to Bengaluru FC who only played out two draws in the entire campaign.
Churchill Brothers on the other hand only qualified for the I-League after a court directive ensured that Dempo, Salcaogar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa withdraw from the competition.
Churchill though are clearly not prepared for their big test with the team travelling to Kolkata without any of their foreign signings and their head coach. Trinidadian striker Anthony Wolfe's international transfer certificate hasn't arrived yet while Kyrgyzstan midfielder Bektur Talgat and Mali forward A Kroma are unable to travel to India due to visa issues.
Head coach Joseph Afusi has also not been able to join the squad which means that assistant Alfred Fernandes will be in charge of the Goan club on Sunday.
Team news and Injury updates:
Mohun Bagan- Eduardo Ferreira, Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sony Norde are all doubtful for the game and might not play on Sunday.
Churchill Brothers: Anthony Wolfe will miss the game as he has not got a international transfer certificate while Bektur Talgat and A Kroma have visa issues.
Both teams are missing a number of key players but the extra quality that Mohun Bagan possess might help them just win the tie.