Karim Bencherifa has a lot of issues to tackle as he leads Mohun Bagan to their first away match since he took over last week after leaving successful stint with Salgaocar, after barely five rounds were played in the 2012 I-League football championship.
Bencherifa and Okolie Odafa, the most expensive coach and player respectively of the current season, are on the same side but it will take a few wins to get them on even keel. And, as Mohun Bagan ready themselves to meet Mumbai FC on Sunday evening in the Round VII match, Bencherifa wouldn’t have asked for a better setting to begin his new stint. “The morale of the team is quite high as team is coming from a good win against Salgaocar. They are ready for another challenge, especially against Mumbai FC as I consider no team as weak,” said Bencherifa after he conducted the team through late morning practice session.
After Bagan made a horrendous start to the season when the Kolkata outfit lost first two rounds before finding their feet against Air India at this same ground. That is something Bagan would like to cash in on when they meet Mumbai, albeit it will be a match under lights. “It feels good joining Mohun Bagan. It has been a smooth transition for me until now, and all are well prepared for the game, also I have known most of the players because I have already coached them or follow them,” said Bencherifa.
Bagan are currently in No 6 position with 10 points from three wins and a draw, while Mumbai FC are at No 10 position with 6 points from two wins. With the Moroccan in control on his own terms, he would like to begin in style against Mumbai FC, who made a turnaround from fifth round after an appalling start to the season with four losses on the trot.
Saturday’s results: Churchill Brothers 1 (Akram Moghrabi 90) bt Shillong Lajong 0; East Bengal 5 (Edeh Chidi 26, Orji Penn 51, Manandeep Singh 66, Lalrindika Ralte 78, Robin Singh 82) bt ONGC 0; Dempo 1 (Joachim Abranches 90) bt Air India 0