It Was A Satisfactory Result, Says Saheed Ramon

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club coach Saheed Ramon has expressed his immense pride in his players after they claimed the title in the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup with a 2-1 victory over Sikkim Himalayan FC in the final played at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Tuesday.

“I am no good for words right now. I’m just really just super proud of everyone the players, the staff and everyone. I couldn’t be happier,” an emotional Saheed Ramon said.

“It was a satisfactory result and we worked very hard. I won’t take anything away from Sikkim Himalayan. They showed how good they are. It was tough, it was a final and you have got to grind it out.” he added.

“Mohammedan deserved this win. They showed hunger and they didn’t allow us space to play, credit to them,” these were the words of Sikkim Himalayan coach Pranay Subba.

“I want to highlight the players’ bravery and battling spirit,” he continued. “I am pleased with their performance, and in particular, with the effort and character they showed throughout the match. It was very important to us that our players produce a response against a team like Mohammedan despite going down early. So we can be happy with what the team have done at the tournament.” he concluded.

Vanlalbiaa Struck Twice As Mohammedan Claim Gold Cup

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club blank Sikkim Himalayan FC 2-1 to claim the title in the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Tuesday.

Vanlalbiaa Chhangte (4th and 79th), who adjudged as the player of the tournament, scored twice after Sikkim Himalayan equalized through Eugene Nimako (62nd).

The Black Panthers looked dangerous from the outset and took the lead as early as the 4th minute through Vanlalbiaa, who rounded Sikkim Himalayan goalkeeper Urgen Pintson to slot from close range.

Encouraged by their start, the Black Panthers piled on the pressure only to be denied by Urgen, who produced a string of brilliant saves to keep his side in the match.

That’s not to say Sikkim Himalayan didn’t have their chances. There were several occasions when they broke past the Mohammedan SC back-line and threatened 1v1 with Mohammedan SC goalkeeper Priyant Singh, however were failed to be as lethal as they needed to be in front of goal.

Mohammedan SC though continued to dominate the proceedings, but poor decision-making let them down in the final third which saw Dipendu Biswas’ charges went into the breather with only a solitary goal lead.

Sikkim Himalayan came out of the sheds fired up to bring themselves back into contention, controlling the ball, winning set pieces and keeping Mohammedan SC pinned into their own back third and their efforts were soon rewarded in the 62nd minute when a chipped ball headed into the path of Eugene who ran onto it and smacked it hard at goal. Priyant failed to put in a clean save and the ball trickled past the goal line.

Nonetheless, Mohammedan SC continued to have the majority of possession and chances in front of goal with Tirthankar Sarkar combining well with Vanlalbiaa and Charles Atcha to create opportunities they were often unlucky not to score from.

Sikkim Himalayan defense looked comfortable in absorbing Mohammedan SC’s attacking pressure, while looking to catch their opponents off-guard as it appeared like the local side were trying take the game to the penalties.

With time running out and the game heading towards penalties, Mohammedan SC reclaimed their lead in the 79th minute when Vanlalbiaa find the net with a powerful drive at the end of a determined run and cross from the left.

The match started to become a little tenser as the clock counted down with Sikkim Himalayan showing great determination in their pursuit of an equalizer, while Mohammedan SC players tried to kill the game’s rhythm and they did what they needed to secure third Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup title.

Final Is About Small Details, Says Dipendu Biswas

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club technical director Dipendu Biswas says tomorrow’s final of the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup at Paljor Stadium will be tough but stressed that the Black Panthers have prepared well to soar over Sikkim Himalayan FC.

Sikkim Himalayan, who reached their maiden Gold Cup final, will compete against a side that has been there 9 times before – and successful 2 of them.

Sikkim Himalayan are the only second club from the state to reach the Gold Cup final, after GMC Gangtok beat BSF Kadamtala to clinch the title in the inaugural edition of the competition in 1979.

“Final is about small details. There’s stress and pressure, and these details make the difference. It will be premature to say how we would approach the match but I can say it will be a good game.” Biswas said.

Biswas continued, “We will play our normal game but bearing in mind that the most important thing for us is not to concede. Keeping things tight at the back will be important.”

According to Biswas his side will strike a balance between offensive and defensive play but will definitely take the game to the opposition and continue with the style and combinations that has served the side well so far.

“Sikkim Himalayan is a good team and I think we need to improve our game as we have shown throughout the Calcutta Football League. I completely trust my players and hopefully they will again execute the game plan the coaching staff will set like they have done so well so far.” Biswas added.

Though it may appear that Mohammedan SC have an excellent pedigree to go the distance, but they have to topple a Sikkim Himalayan side that have grown stronger and stronger as the tournament has progressed.

“We have a lot of respect for Sikkim Himalayan and their football but we are ready to face them. l have been working on my team and concentrating on what we need to do to win. We have our destiny in our own hands and I believe we can win this tournament. We are capable, we have what it takes to win,” he added.

Despite creating plenty of goal-scoring opportunities the Black Panthers have often struggled with their finishing and Biswas feels the likes of Charles Atcha and Sarra Camara need to be more clinical in attacking third given a draw will go straight to penalties.

The pressure will be very much on Mohammedan SC to clinch the first silverware of the season. Sikkim Himalayan, on the other hand, have exceeded many people’s expectations by reaching this stage and they have a side that is more than capable of pressing for the title, and with so much riding on the outcome, tomorrow’s meeting is sure to be an absorbing affair which will kick-off at 1:30 pm.

Saheed Ramon Refutes Mohammedan’s Favourites Tag Ahead Of Gold Cup Final

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club head coach Saheed Ramon has refused to buy into the favourites tag on his team’s head ahead of their Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup final clash against Sikkim Himalayan FC on Tuesday at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok.

The Nigerian tactician says the final will be a open contest despite exhibiting an output which has clearly put them above their opponents for the championship clash.

According to Sikkim Himalayan coach Pranay Subba, the Kolkata-based side is the favourite to win the ultimate at the knockout competition, but Ramon is not willing give ear to that assertion and insisted that Sikkim Himalayan have an equal chance of being crowned champions.

“We are not favourites. From a tactical point of view‚ the set up for both teams is almost similar. Both teams have the equal chance of winning the competition.” Ramon said.

Sikkim Himalayan, formerly known as Gangtok Himalayan, boosts a better head to head record over the Black Panthers. In-fact Mohammedan SC have never beaten Sikkim Himalayan at Paljor Stadium in 2nd Division League. However, Ramon is simply not interested to dwell in the past.

“I am aware that we are up against a very good side, with speed and able to create a lot of scoring chances. They are also going to be as determined as we are, so we have to play well.” said Ramon.

“Since this is a knockout tournament every game was like a final and it will be same against Sikkim Himalayan. We will put in our best to make sure we win. The team that is psychologically stronger might carry the day,” he conluded.

Mohammedan Edge Sikkim Police To Advance To The Gold Cup Decider

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club edged past Sikkim Police to set up a showdown with Sikkim Himalayan for the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup crown.

In a game that didn’t had many open scoring chances Charles Atcha scored the only goal of the match in the 27th minute at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Sunday.

The opening 10 minutes was a rather scrappy affair, with both teams unable to hold onto the ball long enough to create any decent scoring opportunities.

The first effort on goal only came in the 13th minute, when Sarra Camara met a left-sided cross from Sujoy Dutta, but he headed his effort wide of the rival goal.

Four minutes later Charles came bitterly close to opening the lead but his close range effort was superbly saved by the Sikkim Police custodian Bipen Bhattrai.

Charles then continued to terrorize the Sikkim Police defense, setting up another two chances for Camara, but the former Dhaka Abahani forward squandered both.

Mohammedan SC, thereafter, continued to press on, and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 27th minute though Charles.

It was a goal made in football heaven, involving a glorious passing movement featuring a number of players, and with classic one-touch football, they carved open the Sikkim Police defense, leaving the Ivorian with a simple tap-in.

From the goal onwards, Black Panthers dominated the proceedings, but poor decision-making let them down in the final third which saw Dipendu Biswas’ charges went into the breather with only a solitary goal lead.

The second-half saw Mohammedan SC continue to attack with ease, but Bipen kept his side in the contest with a number of fine saves, including one to deny Charles his brace in the 47th minute.

However, some sloppy defending from the Black Panthers eight minutes into the second-half gave Sikkim Police the chance to equalize, but goalkeeper Priyant Singh did very well as he came out to block Bir Bahadur Pradhan from close range, before Sanjeev Rai missed the target on the follow-up.

Mohammedan SC then took the ball up to the opposite end of the pitch and looked set to double their lead when Camara arrived unmarked in the box to get on the end of a cross by Tirthankar Sarkar, but his header was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Bipen.

As the match progressed Sikkim Police did all the attacking and it took everything Mohammedan SC had left in their tank to deny the onslaught from the locals. Priyant also made a number of telling saves to ensure his team’s passage to the final.

The Black Panthers will face Sikkim Himalayan FC in the grand final on Tuesday.


Stage Is Set For Semifinal Showdown As Black Panthers Take On Sikkim Police

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club technical director Dipendu Biswas is expecting nothing short of a ‘ fierce game’ against Sikkim Police in the second semifinal of the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Sunday, kick-off 2 pm.

“It’s definitely going to be a fierce game. We have seen some closely contested matches in this tournament and we are also expecting a same type of game tomorrow. But we have come here to win and we will try our level best to accomplish it”, Biswas said on the eve of the clash.

Although the Black Panthers defeated Army Red 2-1 in the quarterfinal yesterday, Biswas has admitted that his team were not at their best, but they did what needed to be done in order to get a result.

“In a tournament like this we have to be adapted to every situation. We have to be mentally ready because our aim is to qualify for the final. Every match is different according to the situation. We will use the suitable strategy. We have to stay focussed, we will have to concentrate for the whole 90 minutes,” he added.

Measuring the opponents’ strength he said, “Sikkim Police is a good team, they qualified for the semifinals due to their quality.”

“Sikkim Police have a lot of good players, we expect a very tough game, physically very demanding. So, we must prepare well. They are physically dominant, fast, strong and will be a good opponent. They will also have advantages of playing at home. We need to keep our composure and I am positive that the players will rise to the occasion.” he explained.

The legendary striker hopes that his side can recover in time and turn up with the goods against Sikkim Police who have had the luxury of three extra days to recover before the big fixture.

“It is not the ideal recovery period before a big game but we are going to keep that aside and focus on the job ahead,” he concluded.

Mohammedan Edge Past Army Red To Enter Gold Cup Semis

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club edged past Army Red 2-1 in their quaterfinal clash of the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup on Friday at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok.

Sarra Camara (6th) and Tirthankar Sarkar (41st) were on target for the Black Panthers before Jain p. (83rd) pulled a goal back for Army Red.

Mohammedan SC started the match with more purpose as they threw everything they had to impose their will on their opponents during the early exchanges.

And their efforts were soon rewarded in the 6th minute when Camara sent in a thundering header into the net from a low cross by Prosenjit Paul from the right wing.

Encouraged by their start, Saheed Ramon’s charges piled on the pressure only to be denied by Army goalkeeper Mohamed Shanoos, who produced a string of brilliant saves to keep his side in the match.

That’s not to say Army didn’t have their chances. There were several occasions when they broke past the Mohammedan SC back-line and threatened 1v1 with goalkeeper Priyant Singh, however were failed to be as lethal as they needed to be in front of goal.

Inevitably, failing to convert their chances came back to haunt Army as Mohammedan SC doubled their lead in the 41st minute when Camara fed debutante Sujoy Dutta, who easily outpaced Alwin E and passed to the unmarked Tirthankar, who calmly slotted home.

Mohammedan SC’s spirits were lifted by the goal and they played out the final moments of the first-half with a lot of energy, which they brought with them when they returned from the break.

The Black Panthers continued with that momentum as they came out for the second-half and forced Shanoos into making a number of goal-denying saves.

Nonetheless, the lack of finishing in the attacking third and outstanding defending from Army meant Mohammedan SC could not find a goal as reward for their early dominance.

Despite a wave of attacks by the Black Panthers, Army have kept their shape and structure to limit the damage before Jain P struck a thunderous volley to half the deficit in the 83rd minute.

The match started to become a little tenser as the clock counted down with Army showing great determination in their pursuit of an equalizer, while Mohammedan SC remained solid at the back.

Army, to their credit, never gave up but it appeared as if getting on the score sheet just wasn’t to be for the side today with every shot went anywhere but on target as Mohammedan SC held on on for a well-deserved win.

“We always think of winning whatever game we are going into. I wished to play a better game especially in the second-half, but we were facing a very strong team in Army. They were very dangerous especially in the second-half. You have to keep in mind that we playing our first game in such high altitude and cold weather also did not helped our cause but we are happy to win such a tough game,” said Technical Director Dipendu Biswas.

The Black Panthers will face Sikkim Police in the semifinal on Sunday.

Mohammedan Ready To Battle ‘Unknown’ Army Red In Gold Cup Quarterfinal

GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club will look to build on their Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ exploits when they begin their Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup campaign with a quarter-final clash against Army Red at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Friday, kick-off 5 PM.

Mohammedan Sporting’s upsurge in the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ started late which brought them very close to the title and earned praise from all corners. Saheed Ramon and his team have now shifted their focus to the Governor’s Gold Cup as the coach is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

“A knockout competition is always different from the league. Any small mistake can end your path in the tournament so we will have to be at our best if we are to progress through to the next round,” said Ramon.

The Black Panthers are no strangers to the Paljor Stadium, having clinched the Governor’s Gold Cup in 2016 beating Nepal’s Jhapa FC in the final courtesy Manvir Singh’s solitary strike, but Ramon feels that past success will count for little heading into the tournament.

“It’s true that our record in the Governor’s Gold Cup is very good but tomorrow is the beginning of a new tournament and everybody is serious to put up a good show. I know the expectations are very high and we will think nothing less than a win when we hit the pitch tomorrow,” the gaffer added.

Regarding Mohammedan Sporting’s ambitions in the Gold Cup, the former striker mentioned that his team would consider each game separately. “We always prefer to take one game at a time. We don’t see any reason to change our philosophy now. The game of football is very unpredictable and we have to keep our heads down and continue the job on the field.”

Ramon admits Army Red are posing a somewhat unknown challenge and they are going to approach the game with a more patient lookout as they will prefer to read their opponents before hurling the attacks on the Lucknow-based club.

“It’s our first match at this ground whereas Army Red have already been here once. Surely We will tweak our strategy for a knockout game. We have to be more patient. We have to be very alert defensively and mentally strong to get the job done. We don’t know much about them so we are focusing mainly on our own team,” he explained.

The Nigerian tactician believes results matter, but it’s even more important for his players to learn from the experience and keep developing for the future.

Important To Stay In The Rhythm, Says Saheed Ramon

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club coach Saheed Ramon is anticipating a tough competition but he is confident that his charges are good enough to challenge for the title in the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup.

The Black Panthers, who looks to build on their Calcutta Premier Division exploits where they went very close to bagging silverware after 38 years before eventually settling for a fourth-place finish, leaves for Gangtok tonight, and Ramon has full confidence that his team will be up for the challenge.

Ramon knows that there is a reasonable amount of pressure on his side to deliver a similar result to Calcutta Premier Divison, and the Nigerian tactician has insight into what is required at this level of competition and believes the preparations the team has followed will assist them in achieving their objective.

“We will go all out for the title,” said Ramon. “We have prepared for this tournament. We are going there with a good team, a competitive team, which will perform to the best of their ability. The spirit is high in the team and the boys believe that we will do well in Gangtok.”

“We built a good rhythm during Calcutta Premier Division and I want the players to build on this momentum,” added Ramon.

Ramon maintains that despite the forthcoming 2nd Division League being more important than any other competition, winning any game will always be a priority.

“We aspire to win at all times. Governor’s Gold Cup is important to us. It’s important for the confidence of the team and the supporters.” he concluded.

Mohammedan Sporting Club Team For Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup

GOALKEEPERS: Priyant Singh, Subham Roy, Miraj Ali (MSC U19)

DEFENDERS: Fallou Diouf, Prosenjit Paul, Balwinder Singh, Kamran Farooque, Sujit Sadhu, Hira Mondal, Bikash Saini, Safiul Rahman

MIDFIELDERS: Satyam Sharma, Tirthankar Sarkar, Vanlalbiaa Chhangte, Sanjib Ghosh (MSC U19), Firoj Ali, Sujoy Dutta

FORWARDS: Sarba Camara, Mohammed Farid, Charles Atcha

Camara, Tirthankar Shine In Practice Match Against ATK U-18

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club, as part of preparations for the forthcoming 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup, played a practice match against ATK U18 which the Black Panthers won 6-2 on Friday afternoon at the Bidhannagar Municipal Sports Complex.

The win was powered by brace from Senegalese striker Sarba Camara. The former Dhaka Abahani marksman was well supported by his fellow compatriot Serigne Fallou Diouf, Sujit Sadhu, Charles Atcha and Bikash Saini who contributed with a goal each. Interestingly, 5 out of 6 goals came from corner and midfield mainstay Tirthankar Sarkar setup four of those.

Mohammedan Sporting technical director Dipendu Biswas, is happy with his team’s performance but admits there is still a lot of work to be done.

“Everybody is showing the right energy. I am happy with the mood in the team. The Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup will give us an opportunity to measure our level of readiness for the upcoming 2nd Division League.” Biswas said.

The Black Panthers will leave for Gangtok on Monday to participate in the Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup.