Mr. Sudiptamadhab Basu first visited the Mohun Bagan ground with his father in 1959. Over the past 5 decades, he has amassed memories of his association with Mohun Bagan. Now 63, he is suffering from 'Post Typhoid Cerebellar Ataxia' but his love for the club remains undeterred.
Odafa Oneyeka Okolie
Dependence on foreign strikers and also the lack of talents like Chuni Goswami, P.K.Banerjee, Samajpati, Parimal Dey, Ashim Moulik, Mangal Purakayastha, Subhash Bhowmick are the reasons we do not see Bengali strikers. None of the current strikers can fight for a place in first XI.
Supply lines to graduate players to higher leagues from clubs like Kidderpore , Howrah Union, Sporting Union, Kalighat, Bally Protiva are non-existent. Also coaches like Achyut Banerji and Langcha Mitra are rarely seen these days.
You need to water the root not the top of the tree. A 10 year plan must be drafted with stress on nurseries, also districts may be explored to spot hidden talents. Football brains of P.K.Banerji, Amal Dutta, Chuni Goswami, Sukumar Samajpati should be utilized to chalk out the basic plan. AIFF needs to be more proactive. Over-reactive criticism is not helping either. Savio Medeira has become the favourite whipping boy for the national's team's poor showing at the AFC challenge Cup. But those criticising him did not applaud Bob Houghton for his success.
It is extremely difficult and I am not capable of naming the best XI of Mohun Bagan during my time because over this period football has changed a lot in terms of formations, style of play and the duration of the game. The undisputed few on the list would be Chuni Goswami, Jarnail Singh, Mariappa Kempaiah, Subrata Bhattacharya and Gautam Sarkar. To me, the all time best are the immortal XI of 1911.
I have witnessed many such matches but the most memorable was a derby match. However, I have lost count of the year. It was a match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal at the Mohun Bagan ground. By mistake I entered the East Bengal gallery behind the goal. Jarnail Singh was playing as the centre-forward and scored a magnificent goal by volleying home from outside the penalty box. I vociferously supported Mohun Bagan and invited the wrath of the East Bengal supporters, but few others in the crowd protected me. Mohun Bagan won the match 3-1. I was a small boy then and i saw how the East Bengal Fans panicked when Chuni Goswami had the ball at his feet. He had a habit of clapping and showing his feet to draw the attention of his teammates.
No, I have never met any of the club legends. But I have fond memories of a meeting with Satyajit Chatterji at a roadside kiosk. It was around the time his ascendency as a footballer had started.
To me, the improvement of Mohun Bagan means to fill the cupboard with trophies. For this to happen, total professional approach is the need of the hour. Now it appears to be quasi-professional and heart is allowed to rule over the head in selective cases. Coordination between the coach, manager, technical committee and officials should be perfect. Only two maxims are followed in the professional world:
- As you sow, so you reap.
- Perform or perish.
Needless to say, infrastructural development and various innovative marketing techniques to earn money are also called for.
I am not a Mohun Bagan fan of one generation. Mohun Bagan is in my blood. It is such a feeling that it cannot be described in words. Hunger for this feeling will never end. It will remain insatiable forever. This is impossible to share. It is my own, exclusively my own. I want it to be like this till I breathe my last.