East Bengal FC are set to put fire to the Indian Super League in the upcoming season. The Red and Gold Brigades have undergone a massive revolution as they changed their complete squad and coaching staff. Stephen Constantine whom many people recognize as the man to lead the Indian national football team successfully on various occasions has been given the responsibility to manage the team in the upcoming season.
Along with Stephen’s experience, a host of talented Indian players and ISL proven Foreign players have been brought in the club as it looks to break into the ISL playoffs this term after last two season’s dissapointment of finishing at last on the table.
A serious knee injury forced Stephen to retire as a player at the young age of just 26. After that, Constantine started his coaching career for APEP Pitsilia, a 3rd division club from Cyprus. In 1999, he was appointed as the head coach of Nepal’s national team where he stayed for a couple of years before taking the Youth Coach position in 2001 at AFC Bournemouth.
He has also had stints with the National teams of Malawi, Sudan and Rwanda. Stephen also had stints with a couple of other Cypriot clubs and also a Greek club.The 59-year-old, who last managed Pafos FC in Cypriot had managed the India men’s football team over two stints from 2002 to 2005 and from 2015 to 2019. He will now manage the team for the 2022-23 ISL season.
All the Six foreign players that East Bengal FC have signed for the season are new to the club, and none of them have been retained from the last season. In defense, there is Spanish cenre-back Ivan Gonzalez who was signed from FC Goa and is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the league. To accompany Ivan in the backline, there is Cypriot defender Charalampos Kyriakou who usuallly plays in the right back position. Kyriakou had last played in the Cyprus first division club Doxa Katokopias.
In the midfield, there is Brazilian midfield maestro Alex Lima who was roped in from Jamshedpur FC. Lima played a key role in helping his previous side win the League Winners Shield last season. The club has also signed 24-year-old Australian Midfielder Jordon O’Doherty for the upcoming season. Jordon last played for A-League side Newcastle Jets. In the forward line, its Brazilian sitriker Cleiton Silva who joined the club from Bengaluru FC. Along with Cleiton, there is another Brazilian striker in Eliandro who last played in Thai League 2 side Samut Prakan City.
East Bengal FC have signed many domestic players for the new season. They include goalkeepers Pawan Kumar (free transfer from Jamshedpur FC), Naveen Kumar (on loan from FC Goa) and Kamaljit Singh (release clause paid to Odisha FC). In defense there is Sarthak Golui (free transfer from Bengaluru FC), Mohamad Rakip (free transfer from Mumbai City FC), Lalchungnunga (On loan from Sreenidi Deccan FC), Jerry Lalrinzuala (free transfer from Chennaiyin FC), Pritam Kumar Singh (free transfer from Hyderabad FC) and Nabi Hussain Khan who was signed from CFL club George Telegraph.
In the midfield, there is Amarjit Singh Kiyam (On loan from FC Goa), Tuhin Das (signed from CFL side Kalighat MS), Souvik Chakrabarti (free transfer from Hyderabad FC), Mobashir Rahman (free transfer from Jamshedpur FC), Aniket Jadhav (transfer fee paid to Hyderabad FC), Summet Passi (free transfer from Roundglass Punjab FC), Naorem Mahesh Singh (free transfer from Kerala Blasters FC). In the forward line there is striker VP Suhair (Transfer fee paid to NorthEast United FC), Himangshu Jangra (On loan from Delhi FC) and Semboi Haokip who was resigned for the upcoming season.
Top Three Signings
Cleiton Silva, Ivan Gonzalez and VP Suhair are among the top three signings for this season.
East Bengal have a good mix of competitive and hardworking Indian players. The Red and Gold Brigades have also recruited a coach who has got a substantial amount of knowledge and experience in the Indian footballing circuit. The new signings have been able to manage and adapt quickly to the gaffer’s strategies, and they’ve got quick legs down the flanks as well. Also, most of the foreign players the clun has signed this season have prior experience in the Indian Super League.
We feel that the team lacks a proper No. 9, and there would be too much dependence on Cleiton Silva to score the goals this season. Also the Indian centre-back in the team doesn’t have a good backup thus it might be problematic if any one of the key Indian defenders get injured. Also, the fitness issues surrounding striker Eliandro and midfielder O’Doherty are a matter of concern for the side.
East Bengal’s Predicted Starting XI
Constantine will need to do something extraordinary to fullfill the fans’ expectations of seeing thir club make it the ISL playoffs and edge closer to winning the ISL trophy. The last two seasons have been very difficult for eveyone associated with the historic club. Stephen and his army will look to forget it and write the glorious future like it has always been for the Red and Gold Brigades in its successful history of over hundread years.
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