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I-League 2019-20: Over disagreement with club officials, Alejandro Menendez resigns as East Bengal coach

I-League 2019-20: Over disagreement with club officials, Alejandro Menendez resigns as East Bengal coach

Sayak Dipta Dey

Published: 21 Jan 2020 3:15 PM GMT

Alejandro Menendez Garcia resigned as the Quess East Bengal Head Coach on Tuesday, the football club announced. The team will now train under the assistant staff until the club brings on board a new head coach.

Alejandro Menendez joined East Bengal as the Head Coach in August 2018 as part of the spending spree by new owners, Quess Corporation. He brought in Carlos Nodar and Mario Campesino along with him as part of his coaching staff. Alejandro Menendez’s experience in Celta Vigo, Buriram United and Real Madrid allowed him to attract players like Enrique Esqueda, Jaime Colado and Borja Gomez Perez to join the side.

Menendez earned the applause and approval by the fans in instant period with his philosophy. The coach’s ratification for a Castilla style of play resulted in quick wins in the I-League. Menendez cemented his place in the club with two consecutive Derby wins over Mohun Bagan in the I-League after the club stayed winless in the Derby for more than two years before his arrival. The Red and Golds stayed alive in the title race till the final day and finished second behind the champions, Chenna City and fell short of 1 point.

Marcos Espada
Marcos Espada in action (Image: I-League)

The second season saw a spree of cost-cutting measures by Quess Corporation and a sudden change in personnel at the club. Star performers Enrique Esqeuda, Jobby Justin and Laldanmawia Ralte left the club before the second season. Alejandro Menendez’s presence in the club attracted more lower-division Spanish players in Marti Crespi and Marcos Espada.

With a wide range of change in a near-settled side, the new team could never stabilise on the field. With an above-average show in the Durand Cup and the Calcutta Football League, the onus was on Menendez to turn the tables on and perform on the National stage in the I-League.

East Bengal began their season with two draws and registered two wins in the first four games. The side failed to cope up with the other teams in the next three games and lost all of them. The loss in the Kolkata Derby on 21 December with a 1-2 scoreline brought things to a juncture of contention. A meeting with the Club officials on Monday escalated the situation when the officials wanted to replace Crespi and Espada to which Menendez apparently disagreed and submitted his resignation.

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