The clouds of exit loomed large on East Bengal’s Brazilian head coach Marcos Falopa. After weeks of speculation around his status at the club, the decision of his leaving the Kolkata giants was imminent. How often have people stressed on the fact that giving manager some time is always the right decision, any decision other than that comes with a price. But how does this differ in the case of Indian Red-&-Gold brigade? And are they ready to face the backfire? Let’s take an observant look at the decision and how does it impact East Bengal Football Club.
“The Falopa era has ended at East Bengal as he decided to resign for personal reasons. We have terminated the contract by mutual understanding and we wish him all the best. We will announce our next coach on Thursday and he will be one of the most successful coaches in India,” – Santosh Bhattacharya, Football Secretary- East Bengal.
In July this year, amidst huge welcome at the airport, Falopa marked his arrival and promised hard work. Lately the turn of events has led to the awkward situation between the players and the coach which spurred things in a not so welcomed fashion at the club.
After taking over the helm, Falopa had one main job at hand steer the club through the quarter finals of the AFC Cup. Former coach and an fan favorite Trevor Morgan left the services at the club amidst a very emotional farewell, after three years. Trevor Morgan built a team which was tipped to do well courtesy some very shrewd signings and key understanding of the game in India. Not only that, a squad was built to do well in the continental championships. When the time came to reap the fruits of the teams’ labor – East Bengal stood up and got counted. The Lal-Holud brigade marched into the quarter final, post which Trevor Morgan decided to part way on the basis of mutual understanding. In came the former Myanmar coach to steer the ship.
Falopa was at the helm for eleven games at the club with win percentage of thirty six. Obviously this failed to impress the club officials and the ever demanding fans. East Bengal is yet to win their first I-League title in the new era and season after season they have just fell short of the target. The Brazilian managed to win five games, the last one being a 2-1 victory over Peerless FC in the Calcutta Football League yesterday. A major highlight of his topsy-turvy ride at the club was obviously getting the better of Indonesian Semen Padang in the AFC Cup quarter finals. Especially in the away leg, Falopa came up with all the trumps when his substitutions changed the game and eventually East Bengal got themselves registered the second Indian side to flaunt their crest in an AFC Cup semifinal.
It was a mirror image scenario when East Bengal went to Kuwait for their Semifinal clash, and Falopa deployed a over cautious approach towards the match. After trailing at half time, it was reported that East Bengal players openly revolted the changes and the tactics. The decision of not continuing with him is rumored to have been made at that time itself, but the club officials waited till the semifinal tie to end and then access his work at the club.
East Bengal presented their challenge for the I-League late due to their presence in the AFC Cup. The domestic season started with a bang when East Bengal routed a gritty Shillong Lajong side in their own backyard. But just as the fans and pundits started believing that the continental form would be replicated in the domestic arena as well, the slip began. Home losses to a struggling Dempo side followed by a defeat by table topping Salgaocar side fueled the fire. Clearly the victory in CFL was not enough and with players not on the same page as Mr. Falopa was, the separation was imminent.
The club has now appointed their next mentor. After three stable years with Trevor Morgan, East Bengal did not have a good experience with the new coach. Now again the club officials find themselves in the same situation. With Armando Colaco appointed, the next week’s derby would not be an inaugural match which he would relish, but a man with his experience is expected to come up with the goods.
Former India and Dempo coach is no short of a veteran when it comes to coaching teams. Sixty year olds’ overall record is quite impressive with two I-league titles, Durand Cup, two NFL’s and Federation Cup to his name. In 2011, he took over the helm at the Indian national camp. Although he was preferred for a short time, he did showcase his prowess when India managed to spring a 2-2 impressive draw at home against the mighty UAE (2014 FIFA World Cup qualification).
Sometimes a change in coach works in the favor of the club as all the players start afresh and end up putting in extra to impress. With both the teams in need of some desperate points, this could really define the new coach’s perspective towards the side. It is yet to be seen if East Bengal again threaten the podium spots or for the title this time, or will this decision boomerang on the club. Mohun Bagan has already suffered in past due to changes in the coaching staff, however East Bengal let Trevor Morgan settle and perform. Has this ” departure of Falopa on mutual consent” triggered same trend on the Red-&-Gold side? Time will tell.