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Former India striker Biswajit Bhattacharya signs as new coach of East Bengal

Kolkata football giants East Bengal on Friday named Biswajit Bhattacharya as their new coach for the forthcoming season.

Bhattacharya would have a one-year stint, club officials announced.

Bhattacharya previously coached rival city powerhouses Mohun Bagan and Kochi-based Viva Kerala. He was recently the coach of city club George Telegraph SC in the Calcutta Football League.

 Former India striker Biswajit Bhattacharya signs as new coach of East Bengal

File picture of East Bengal. AIFF

As a player, he featured for the national team in the 1984 Nehru Gold Cup where he scored a brilliant goal against Poland and the Asian Cup and was known as a prolific striker.

His playing career was cruelly cut-short by a road accident.

Welcoming him back to the club, president Pranab Dasgupta handed him a bouquet and gifted him a scarf adorning the traditional red and gold colours of the club.

"He has played five years for us and a year less for (arch-rivals) Mohun Bagan, so I believe he has a soft corner for us,” Dasgupta said.

"We have offered him a one-year contract,” Debabrata Sarkar, a senior official of the club, said.

Bhattacharya said: "My first and foremost priority is to help the team be like a family, a well-knit unit. Whenever you form a strong bond within a unit, you get results, that is precisely what I will try and do.”

Bhattacharya said the next "big challenge" was to win the Calcutta Football League (CFL) for a record-matching sixth consecutive time.

East Bengal have previously won it for six straight years from 1970-75.

Speaking about it, he said: ”It is a big challenge to win it again, which will be a record. I will try my level best.”

Bhattacharya also said he has still not decided upon pre-season practice sessions, and that he would fix its dates according to the schedule of games decided by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

"We will sit and decide where and when to hold training sessions as soon as I will have the schedule of the upcoming games," he said.

Asked what is a bigger challenge for him -- saving a team from relegation or trying to earn a trophy for a club, the coach said: "I believe the relegation fight takes out of you a lot more, it is about surviving. So I enjoy it more."

Bhattacharya was tight-lipped when questioned about the third foreign signing after roping in Nigerian defender Bello Rasaq, who played for Mohun Bagan last year, and retaining Nigerian striker Ranty Martins.

"We are looking at signing a third foreign player. But I can't give out any names now," he said.

IANS

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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2015 11:06:31 IST