KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club will seek a revival of fortunes under new coach Sankarlal Chakraborty when they take on Chennai City FC in a crucial Hero I-League fixture on Tuesday.
The match is slated for a 7 PM kick-off at Kalyani Municipal Stadium and will be broadcast LIVE on 1 Sports with online streaming available on 1 Sports’ Facebook page.
Sankarlal took over the reins of the team after previous incumbent Jose Hevia was relieved of his duties following a string of uninspiring results. Currently they sit in a disappointing seventh place and are seriously in need of a big win to lift their spirits, as Sankarlal has mentioned that his first priority would be to help the players regain self-confidence.
“We have to overcome this difficult phase with hard work. Players are fully aware that what happened in the last few matches is simply unacceptable for a club of Mohammedan’s magnitude and stature. The first thing I need to do with the players is to reinforce them mentally, to make them mentally stronger. Once the head is okay, everything else will take care of itself. The important thing is injecting them with elements of self-belief and self-confidence.” Sankarlal said.
Sankarlal is fully aware that he has a big job on his hands but remains confident the players available will do the task to revive the team. Nonetheless, he has also mentioned that it will take a collective force to change the team’s fortunes and not the wave of a “magic wand” from any single individual.
“It will take time, there are technical things and other problems too which we have to see. I am aware that it’s going to be a big challenge and only unity at the moment will help us. I will do my best as the coach to make sure the team returns to where it belongs. I believe the players available are capable of accomplishing the task. People have to understand that some of this is not going to be an overnight thing. I have no magic wand, we have to be patient.”
“What I would love to see is a cohesive effort in terms of how we move things forward. We need to identify where we are strong and where we are weak and come up with strategy in terms of how we are going to tackle certain things. And if we do that over a period of time then it’s very possible we’ll have more positive results,” he added.
Although Sankarlal has mentioned that it’s literally impossible to make any drastic changes in just 72 hours, judging by Mohammedan’s training session on Monday, the former defender has definitely succeeded to inject positive energy in the side that has lost the fighting spirit and will to win.
Mohammedan’s mental resolve will be tested by a Chennai City FC side who will be eager to bounce back to the winning ways having suffered successive defeats at the hands of Roundglass Punjab FC and Churchill Brothers.
Sankarlal remains cautious of the beleaguered Chennai City, who are currently at 9th position, as he anticipates a resurgent performance from Satyasagara’s charges.
Chennai City will take some positives out of their performance against Churchill. Despite the 2-1 final score, Chennai City held their own for most of the game. They looked especially dangerous on the counter to create a number of anxious moments for Churchill defense. With Mohammedan likely to dominate possession, Chennai City’s counter-attacking prowess could be a dangerous weapon against the Black Panthers.
Sankarlal wrapped up preparations for Tuesday’s crucial league encounter with a training session on Monday morning. Mohammedan will be without Arijit Bagui, Asheer Akhtar and Hira Mondal, who has started training but is not yet match ready.
“We have obviously got key players out but that is part and parcel of the game,” says Sankarlal. “We have to focus on those who are available and not concentrate on the players we don’t have. We have to work on our set up for the game and do the best we can.”