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ISL: Analysing SC East Bengal's domestic strength

ISL: Analysing SC East Bengals domestic strength

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 20 Oct 2020 1:23 PM GMT

Having more or less completed their summer shopping, at least for domestic players, Kolkata football giants SC East Bengal on Tuesday announced their domestic squad for the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season. While the list features quite a few experienced heads, it also has a number of youngsters waiting to break through. Here we take a look at the squad that head coach Robbie Fowler will need to play around with as he tries to compete for a place near the top of the table.

The goalkeeping situation

While East Bengal has the experience of Debjit Majumder to call upon, they also have talented young goalkeepers in the form of Rafique Ali Sardar, Mirshad Michu and Shankar Roy. Debjit was a part of Mohun Bagan’s I-League winning squad last season and although he didn’t get to play regularly, the two-time I-League and one-time ISL winner still has a lot to contribute on the big stage.


His teammate from last season who overtook him in the pecking order, Shankar Roy, will be joining him in competing for the starting spot again, alongside Michu who featured 7 times for the Red and Golds last season. Rafique arrives from Jamshedpur FC and will look to challenge for the top spot after having a frustrating 2019-20 season where he made just 3 appearances.

Defensive organisation

Narayan Das has arrived at the club from Odisha FC to bolster a defence that has quite a few promising names already. Having established himself at the club in the last two seasons, Samad Ali Mallick will have the chance to prove his mettle in the ISL.

Abhishek Ambekar and Lalramchullova provide options at left-back while new arrivals Gurtej Singh and Mohammed Irshad will solidify the centre of the defence. Rana Gharami and N Rohen Singh also are able back-ups for Fowler to fall back upon.

Midfield shape

The East Bengal domestic midfield has big names like Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Mohammed Rafique. Lyngdoh was with Bengaluru FC last season while Rafique joins from Mumbai City FC. They also have other experienced heads like Sehnaj Singh, formerly of ATK, and ex-Jamshedpur FC midfielder Bikash Jairu who crucially have played in the ISL before.


Their experience and knowhow is balanced out by the presence of youngsters like Yumnam Gopi Singh, Surchandra Singh, Wahengbam Angousana and Loken Meitei. Gopi Singh especially is one to watch out for, after his impressive performances for Bhawanipore FC in the recently concluded I-League qualifiers.

Threat up top

Jeje Lalpekhlua’s arrival is now old news and the Mizo Sniper would be eager to prove his detractors wrong after a year out of football due to injury. He recently left Chennaiyin FC after six years of association with the club and the prospect of him developing even further under Fowler is something that all Indian fans would be eagerly looking forward to.

He is joined by Balwant Singh. The 33-year-old spent the last two seasons with ATK making 23 appearances in total and has already won twice, with Chennaiyin in 2015 and with ATK last season.

All in all, the management and coaching staff seems to have done a decent job in assembling a squad that has a lot going for it. With the foreign additions, the East Bengal squad should definitely excite fans ahead of their debut ISL season.

However, questions still remain on how quickly the new signings can integrate into the squad and how the players will respond to Fowler and his coaching staff’s philosophy and vision, especially because they have very little time to train together before the season starts.

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