Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen is confident that his team would kick off the 10th edition of I-league in style winning the first three home matches.
“The key will be to log maximum points from our first three home matches. Our target will be to win all the three matches at home before we hit the road to play the two away matches,” the I-League winning coach said on the sidelines of their practice Thursday.
Hungry to win back the silverware that they had failed to defend last season, he said: “We all want to win back the I-League. We have to work harder to achieve it. The journey will not be smooth, but we are ready.”
Mohun Bagan begin their campaign against Churchill Brothers SC (January 8) before facing Shillong Lajong FC (January 13) and debutants Minerva Punjab FC on January 17 in their first three matches, all at home.
Defending champions Bengaluru FC and bitter foes East Bengal will pose the toughest challenge but they are not taking newcomers Chennai City FC, Minerva Punjab FC and darkhorses Aizawl FC lightly.
As for the team, Mohun Bagan have brought back AIFF Player of the Year 2016 Jeje Lalpekhlua to go alongside the terrific duo of Sony Norde and Yusa Katsumi in a strong forward line-up.
Kerala-born Delhi Dynamos defender Anas Edathodika is also roped in by the green-and-maroon brigade as Mohun Bagan also have signed up six under-22 players and all of them have been impressive at the practice sessions.
“It will be an extremely challenging task to single out one u-22 players. All of them are capable of getting into the first XI.”
“I have taken it as challenge to coach a big team like Mohun Bagan. Like I have told all of you, if I fail to bring success, I will walk away from the same gate I entered the club. I have that mental strength to accept the failures.”
Brazilian-born Equatoguinean centre back Eduardo Ferreira who plied trade at FC Pune City in the Indian Super League and Darry Duffy complete their foreigners’ line-up.
Ferreira has ample experience of playing in South America, South Africa and Thailand and more recently Iran. He spent his youth career playing for Fluminese, Flamengo, Corinthians.
The Equato-Guinean journeyman has played in the South African Premier Soccer League with Ajax Cape Town, Mamelodi Sundowns, Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Hailing the Indian players, Ferreira said: “I have played against most of them in ISL. I know the captain and Jeje.”
He will be seen in action with Debjit Majumder, the Atletico de Kolkata goalkeeper, against whom he had scored in their 2-1 win before being strechered off the field in the ISL.