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I-League: East Bengal to kick-off their campaign agasint Aizawl FC in season opener

East Bengal will be without their star foreigners, defender Ivan Bukenya and forward Willis Plaza, when they kick-off their I-League campaign against Aizawl FC at Barasat on Saturday.

Due to lack of training time, both Bukenya and Plaza are expected to be cooling their heels for the first game.

"They have had long flights with layovers at different countries. It's not easy to judge on them just yet. Let's see how they are next week and then take a call," coach Trevor James Morgan said at the pre-match press conference at the club ground.

Players of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in action during I-League match at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. PTI

Players of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in action during I-League match at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. PTI

East Bengal are still to sign their fourth foreigner in the Asian quota. Under Morgan, East Bengal ended runners-up in both 2011 and 2012. The British coach vowed to do all in his powers to win the elusive crown this time.

"We were unfortunate in one of those seasons that we could not win the I-League. There were things that happened to us that we could do nothing about,"

"I know this could be the last I-League season. I know the expectations of the fans are immense here as it always is,"

"I would do everything in my power to win the I-League this time, and it's not the I-League it's every game that we play. It's going to be a great achievement for the team and me personally. It's not something I lose sleep over. I do wake up and think about it," Morgan said.

Subhashish Roy Chowdhury is expected to start under the bar with Gurwinder Singh and Anwar Ali playing as centre-backs.

First choice defender Arnab Mondal is nursing an injury while Bukenya needs time to take the field.

While Narayan Das and Rahul Bheke are expected to man the full-back positions, captain Mehtab Hossain and Rowlin Borges will in all likelihood be the two holding midfielders.

Expressing concern over playing on the artificial turf, Mehtab said: "It can be a problem. It's not easy for the knee, ankle and groin. You need a lot of stamina,"

"It's not an artificial turf of such high standards so the leg gets stuck at times. You will see players injuring himself after two-three games," the veteran midfielder said.

By the look of things, Wedson is likely to be drafted in the hole behind Mohammed Rafique who will play as a striker with Jackichand Singh and Abhinash Ruidas likely to be playing wide in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Updated Date: Jan 07, 2017 13:34 PM

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