2010/11 Trophy Cabinet:
Federation Cup – Champion
Kolkata Football League – Champion
Platinum Jubilee Cup – Champion
I-League – Runners-up
Super Cup – Runners-up
Key Highlights of The Season:
1. Winning the Federation Cup for the 7th time in their history, defeating arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the final.
2. Triumph over bitter city-rivals Mohun Bagan in Mohammedan Sporting Platinum Jubilee Cup final.
3. Clinching a record 32nd Kolkata League (CFL) title.
4. Representing the country at the continental level by qualifying for AFC Cup.
5. Remaining undefeated in the first half of I-League campaign – the longest streak of unbeaten run in the history of national football league.
6. Notched-up an unprecedented 11 clean-sheets in I-League. East Bengal also conceded the least number of goals (21) in this campaign.
7. Became the first Indian club to register 150 wins in national football league.
8. East Bengal finished the season undefeated against their bitter city rivals Mohun Bagan.
9. With JCT’s failure to survive the relegation battle, East Bengal remains the only club to participate in every national football league (division-I) since its inception without being relegated.
1. Faltering at the last hurdle in I-League when Salgaocar staged a spirited fight-back to overturn a 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 win in the virtual title showdown.
2. Suffering a shock 0-1 defeat at the hands of minnows ONGC FC.
3. Inability to win even a single match in the entire season whenever play-maker Mehtab Hussain was unavailable.
4. Disappointing campaign in AFC Cup – East Bengal drew 3 homes matches and lost 3 away matches to finish 4th in their group.
Ahead of the Kolkata Derby:
Subhash Bhowmick (Mohun Bagan coach): “We will prove that our team is second to none. Mohun Bagan is the Real Madrid of India.”
After the Kolkata Derby:
Trevor James Morgan (East Bengal coach): “Except for the color of their jerseys (All white, Bagan’s away color), I did not find any similarity. Nevertheless if he (Subhash) insists, then I have to say, we (East Bengal) are not less than Barcelona in that case.”
Sandip Nandy (Goalkeeper):
Assured under the woodwork, Sandip’s composure brought in a sense of confidence among the defenders. The veteran custodian’s solid handling, confident collection of overhead crosses and clever ball distribution helped East Bengal to notch up a record 11 clean-sheets in I-League alone. Sandip played 21 I-League matches and conceded just 14 goals.
Uga Okpara (Center Back):
The Nigerian was the pillar of East Bengal defense. Good anticipation, clean tackling and leadership capability are few of Okpara’s strengths. He also made full use of his towering presence in the opponent’s box by scoring a few goals from set piece situations.
Naoba Singh (Right Back):
The Manipuri lad mesmerized the crowd with his marauding run down the right flank. He has been East Bengal’s first choice right back throughout the season and was equally competent in both defending and attacking duties.
Mehtab Hussain (Central Midfielder):
Undoubtedly the heart of East Bengal line-up, Mehtab has enjoyed a great season, pulling the strings of attack from a deep-lying play maker role. His excellent work-rate enabled him to cover every blade of grass like a tireless engine, which earned him the nick-name of “Double Cylinder”. Mehtab’s consistency was a couple of notches higher than anyone else in the league and he has been duly rewarded with a national call-up by the newly appointed coach Armando Colaco.
Tolgay Ozbey (Striker):
The way he adopted to the conditions here in India in his very first season deserves accolades. Unlike the majority of foreign strikers in India who try to outmuscle the defenders with their physical strength, Tolgay is an extremely skillful ball player. His anticipation, speed, dribbling, accuracy and sheer poacher’s instinct made him a standout performer in East Bengal’s attacking department.
How Well Did They Fare?
The Report Card
Sandip Nandy – 8.5: Exhibited amazing consistency throughout the season. The experienced campaigner was safe as a bank, elegant, and confident.
Jayanta Pal – 6.5: Came into limelight by pulling off two crucial penalty saves in the tie-breaker of Platinum Jubilee Cup final against Mohun Bagan. An able deputy to Sandip, he did admirably well whenever called upon in Sandip’s absence. The U-19 lad will only improve from here on, and is certainly a player to watch out for the future.
Naseem Akhtar – 5: Extremely limited opportunity for the former Mohammedan Sporting skipper. He played in a couple of Kolkata League games, Platinum Jubilee Cup and one AFC Cup game and performed reliably.
Abhra Mondal – NA: East Bengal’s number 1 goalkeeper of the previous season was the last in pecking order under Trevor Morgan. He hardly got any chance to prove his worth.
Uga Okpara – 8: Quite easily the pick of the defenders in the team. Uga has been phenomenal with his consistency, delivering power-packed performances day in and day out.
Gurwinder Singh – 7: Arguably the most improved player over the course of the season. Gurwinder was behind Nirmal Chhetri in the pecking order at the start of the season. He got his opportunities because of the unfortunate injury layoff suffered by Nirmal ahead of the start of I-League campaign and the boy grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Playing alongside Okpara at the central defense, Gurwinder is certainly a breath of fresh air.
Naoba Singh – 7.5: An excellent addition to squad, Naoba made the right back slot his own. Flamboyant while going forward and solid in defending, the lad from Manipur stole the hearts of East Bengal faithful in his debut season at the club.
Soumik Dey – 6: The skipper did a decent job at the left back position. His main quality has been the balancing act between defensive and offensive duties. Lead by example and inspired the youngsters in the team.
Syed Rahim Nabi – 6.5: The Indian international joined the camp midway through the season after serving his national call up. It took him some time to gain the Gaffer’s confidence but when he finally got the opportunity to showcase his talent, there was no looking back. Morgan has used him literally in every position ranging from left back, right back, left wing, midfield to even as a supporting striker. Versatile is the right word to describe this young talent.
Ravinder Singh – 6.5: The pick of the youngsters in Red-&-Gold colours. Ravinder has performed well in the absence of senior players. He has an excellent left foot and an appetite for long range screamers. Deployed at both left back and left wing, he played a number of cameos and notched up 3 goals and 4 assists in his maiden season at East Bengal.
Nirmal Chhetri – 6: Started off brilliantly alongside Uga Okpara in central defence, and played an important role in East Bengal’s Kolkata League triumph, but an unfortunate injury at the start of I-League campaign ruled him out for the better part of the season. He took him more than 3 months to regain his fitness and played decently in the last few matches of the season.
Sunil Thakur – 5.5: Used mainly as a back-up option and the central defender has shown a lot of promise. Sunil played his part well whenever he got the nod in the starting line-up.
Saikat Saha Roy – 5.5: An exciting young prospect capable of playing anywhere across the back-line. He got invaluable exposure in the Kolkata league and played a few matches in AFC Cup & I-League also. He is certainly a talent to watch out for the future.
Rajib Ghosh – 4: The youngster did not get enough chances to make a lasting impression, but has shown good promise in the limited opportunities he got in the Kolkata league.
Mehrajjudin Wadoo – 2.5: The Indian international has largely been a disappointment. He failed to garner Morgan’s confidence and has got very limited playing time.
Mehtab Hussain – 9.5: Mehtab has been the radar of the Red-&-Gold ship. Without even an iota of doubt, the “Double Cylender” has been the best performer, not only for the club, but for the league as well. Creativity, vision, high work-rate, leadership capability and down to earth nature – he has all the qualities to be regarded as an all time Red-&-Gold Legend.
Penn Orji – 7: Given a free role to play just behind the two strikers as an attacking midfielder, Penn has performed superbly. The skillful Nigerian complemented Mehtab well in the midfield and helped the Red-&-Gold brigade to play the beautiful game in a beautiful way.
Reisangmei Vasum – 7: The right winger has had a splendid first season with the Red-&-Golds. His marauding runs through the right wing have been a cause of concern for the rival coaches. He showed tremendous understanding with right back Naoba and complemented each other very well. Injury robbed him off a few important encounters at the fag end of the season.
Sushanth Mathew – 6.5: The left winger, in his very first season at East Bengal, showed why he was rated so highly by the recruiters from different clubs. Fierce while going forward, solid while tracking back – he has proved to be a prized catch for the Kolkata giants.
Sanju Pradhan – 6: He is talented and skilful, but not matured yet. Mesmerizing dribbling and excellent ball control are two of his main strengths. He has the potential to be among the very best talents, if properly groomed.
Harmanjot Singh Khabra – 6: Missed a large part of the season due to an injury lay-off but played his heart out in the later part of the season after regaining full fitness. Expectations are high from Khabra for the upcoming season.
Beikhokhei Beingaichho – 6: He is another exciting young prospect. He played his part well in the domestic Kolkata league and Federation Cup. He was loaned out to Baichung Bhutia’s USFC for getting some playing time under his belt and the youngster has garnered rave praise from the icon of Indian football, Baichung, who considers him as one of the most talented youngsters in the country.
Alvito D’Cunha – NA: The veteran midfielder, who is also the club ambassador, is arguably the best talent produced by the country in the last decade. He worked extremely hard during the off-season to lose excessive weight and looked fit and trim at the beginning of the season. Alvito showed glimpse of his old magic in Federation Cup and helped East Bengal to bag their first trophy of the season. However another injury set-back marred his come-back and he spent the rest of the season in the medical room.
Aseem Koraliyadan – NA: The former Mahindra United man did not get enough playing time to justify his potential.
Tolgay Ozbey – 9: The Australian has won the hearts of the passionate Red-&-Gold crowd. The famous tune of “Baichung-Baichung” chant was back in Yuvabharati after an year – but in a different lyrics of “Tolgay-Tolgay” as the crowd cheered for every move, every goal Tolgay has scored this season. He scored 17 goals in his debut I-League season and finished the season with 39 goals in all competitions.
Baljit Singh Sahni 6: The former JCT FC player found himself after Robin Singh in the pecking order at the start of the season. But he fought hard for his place and finally displaced Robin in the starting line-up midway through the season. Baljit found the back of the net 6 times in I-League and chipped in with a few in AFC Cup as well.
Robin Singh – 5.5: The 19 year old started off brilliantly and enjoyed a star status after scoring a brace in his maiden Kolkata derby match against Mohun Bagan. The “Toly-Roly” attacking combo was a huge hit and attracted rave reviews from every part of the country. However an injury setback and dip in form cost him his place in the starting XI to fellow compatriot Baljit. He will look forward to return with renewed vigor in the upcoming season.
Budhiram Tudu – 5: The youngster performed brilliantly for the Red-&-Golds in the Under-19 I-League the previous season and he was duly rewarded with a place in the senior squad at the start of the season. Budhiram played pretty well in the domestic Kolkata League and notched up 4 goals. He also played his part, mainly as a second half substitute in Federation Cup and Durand Cup also. He was loaned out to USFC to get vital playing time in Division-II and performed admirably under the guidance of Legendary Baichung Bhutia.
Sushil Kumar Singh – 4: The youngster failed to make much of an impression in his debut season at the club. He got enough chances to cement his berth in the starting line-up when Robin was injured, but was unable to make the opportunity count.
Biswarup Deb – 4: He was signed in the mid-season as a back-up striker when Robin was injured and he remained a back-up till the end of the campaign. Biswarup played a few matches and scored a couple of goals, but was no match for Robin and ultimately Baljit’s rise made him to spend the reminder of the season warming the reserve bench.
Alexandro da Silva Santos ‘Leko’ – 1: The one point awarded to Leko is only because of the fact that he hails from the great football-ing nation – Brazil. The less said about this Brazilian striker, the better. Good for the Red-&-Gold supporters that they will not have to bear with Leko in the upcoming season.
Trevor James Morgan – 8: He is tactically sound, loves to play one-touch attacking football and is respected by the players and club officials. The Englishman with prior expertise in English Premiership has enjoyed a brilliant Indian debut. Not known to be a strict task-master, Morgan managed to bring in a sense of friendliness in the dressing room environment which aided towards East Bengal’s successful season.
The only blemish in his otherwise perfect season has been his tactical mistake to substitute Sushanth Mathew and bring on Leko in the crucial I-League game against Salgaocar, when the Red-&-Golds were leading by 2 goals to 1. Finally the change proved to be fatal as Salgaocar managed to score 2 goals in the second half to seal the match by 3-2 margin, thus winning the I-League crown as well. Leko’s selection as the fourth foreigner is another blunder, but the club officials are also to be blamed here.
Some Memorable Moments of The Season