Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Mohammedan Sporting Club (MSC) are plotting a return to the top most strata of Indian football. Having appointed a young brigade — Sk Wasim Akram as general secretary, Sharique Ahmed as finance secretary and Dipendu Biswas as football secretary — at the helm, the club has now turned its attention to new signings.
The Bridge has learnt that the 129-year-old club is set to sign former Mohun Bagan star Katsumi Yusa. Additionally, the club is also close to roping in Arijit Bagui from Mohun Bagan for the upcoming season. It is understood that Mohammedan are in talks with a few others who impressed for Bagan in their I-League winning campaign last season.
Katsumi, 31, has been one of the most revered attacking midfielders in the I-League. He first came to India when he signed for ONGC in 2011 but after a couple of impressive outings, Bagan lured him in. With the Green and Maroons, Katsumi began to spread his wings and helped them win the I-League in 2014-15 and the Federation Cup in 2015-16.
The Japanese attacker also turned out for Indian Super League (ISL) club NorthEast United and East Bengal. Most recently, he was playing for Chennai City FC but the club terminated the foreigners’ contracts applying the Force Majeure clause in May.
Mohammedan believe that the additions of Katsumi and Bagui, who was Bagan’s stellar performer for two seasons before he fell down the pecking order under Kibu Vicuna, will help them qualify for the 2020-21 I-League.
The I-League 2nd division 2019-20 season was cut short as Covid-19 put a halt to almost everything under the sun. As a result, no team has been able to book a berth in next season’s I-League yet. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) plans to hold a shorter format in August-September for qualification to I-League.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Mohammedan also announced the signing of Nigerian defender Kingsley Obumneme, who helped Aizawl FC claim the I-League title back in 2017.
At the press conference, Dipendu Biswas revealed plans for the upcoming campaign. He said, “We want to hold on to the players who have performed well through the last season and then add new names to make our squad better. We have to play well as a team, our primary goal is to qualify for the I-League and we are building a squad capable of achieving that.”