Kolkata, Dec 26 (IANS) Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen on Monday said Minerva Punjab FC’s decision to bring back former India youth coach Colm Toal as their technical director is a good sign for the country’s football.
Toal, who was in charge of various youth teams in India, has scouted several of the national team regulars like AIFF Player of the Year Jeje Lalpekhlua, India’s only Europa League player Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and midfielder Pronay Halder among others. Sen was also assistant to India age group teams.
“I read in the newspaper that Minerva have roped in Colm Toal as their technical director. It’s great news. I was under Colm for many years and he was here for eight years. Now those who are playing well in Indian football are all his products,” Sen told reporters as Bagan started their preparation for the 10th edition of the I-League here.
“This is great news for football and also shows they (Minerva) are serious about the game and looking at long time development plan,” Sen said of the new entrant in the league along with Chennai City FC and Churchill Brothers who are back in the fold after a two-year gap.
Asked if not having the Goan clubs this time around will make Bagan’s job easier, Sen said, “Dempo were not there last year also. Of course Dempo of old is always a threat. I think it is good that new teams from different parts like Punjab and Chennai have come up. It’s not easier, it can be tougher.”
On the former champions’ chances this season, Sen said expectations will always be there they will win the crown but no coach can guarantee the title.
“Expectation will be there and if we can play well we will do well. I cannot guarantee title, but we will do our best. Mohun Bagan is always a contender,” Sen said.
Jeje is expected to join the camp by January 3, as is Haitian forward Sony Norde, Sen said.
Centre-back Anas Edathodika, Bagan’s new recruit, is attending his sister’s wedding and will join the team soon while Eduardo Soares Ferreira, the green and maroons only new foreign buy, has applied for the visa and should also come shortly.
Signing off, Sen said bitter cross-town rivals East Bengal have also signed good Indian players.
“I don’t know about their foreigners but they have good Indian players. Jackichand (Singh), (Thongkosiem) Haokip, and Romeo (Fernandez) are all good players, also Rowlin (Borges).”