March 2, 2021

Alvito D’Cunha: ‘We can expect a good competition between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in ISL’

Spread the love

The Goan admitted Mohun Bagan joining the ISL hastened East Bengal’s entry into the top tier as well…

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement that “East Bengal will play in the ISL (Indian Super League)” on Wednesday was music to the hears of the Red and Golds faithful.

After Kolkata-based Shree Cement Ltd emerged as the club’s latest investor in the aftermath of Quess’ exit in mid-July, East Bengal official Alvito D’Cunha expressed his pleasure over the development.

“It’s great news. Actually, we were just waiting for the announcement to be made. May be it got delayed because of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus pandemic situation).

“For East Bengal, having such a rich history and so much of legacy with millions of supporters, getting a good investor is something which was bound to happen. It did move a bit slowly because of Covid, [but] finally the investor is there and [East Bengal’s participation in] the ISL is also a great news for our fans all over the world.”

The former India international, having spent nearly two decades with the Kolkata giants including donning the famous red and gold shirt for a good 14 years from 2002, added that the pressure was on East Bengal ever since arch-rivals Mohun Bagan merged with ATK to play in the upcoming ISL season as ATK Mohun Bagan.

“Basically, that is the reason why the East Bengal fans wanted [the club] to play in the ISL. Last year also, ISL was the number one league but nobody made so much chaos to ask why East Bengal is not playing [in the ISL]. This year, wherever we went, everybody kept on asking ‘dada (‘elder brother’ in Bengali), are we going to play in the ISL this year?’ But last year nobody asked because Mohun Bagan was also not there (in the ISL). 

Alvito felt that the possibility of the Kolkata derby not happening in a national in the 2020-21 season would certainly have unnerved all fans from Kolkata.

“They (East Bengal and Mohun Bagan fans) just love to see one game and that is the [Kolkata] derby. Even at the end of the season, if we don’t win a trophy but we beat Mohun Bagan, for them (East Bengal fans) it’s a big thing. It’s the same case with the Mohun Bagan fans. They must have been thinking, if Mohun Bagan plays in the ISL and East Bengal in the I-League, there would not be a derby.”

Now it is just a matter of formality until Kolkata will have its second team in a 11-team ISL in 2020-21.

“The good part is that we are more or less there in the ISL. So it’s going to be a good competition between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan that will carry forward.”

The managerial roles and player contracts would be the next steps in the ironing out phase as the 42-year-old bottom-lined those discussions for the bosses.

On account of the Coronavirus pandemic, the seventh edition of the ISL – with East Bengal being part of it in all probabilities – is slated to be staged in Goa. The start date for the season and subsequently the fixtures are yet to be announced by the league.