Coach IM Vijayan rarely spoke, applauded little and fidgeted even less. Photographers jostling for space just behind his technical area - because he was there - didn't really bother the former India skipper, legendary striker and football's last Arjuna Award winner eight years before Deepak Mondal got chosen this time around.
Neither did the pleas of the spectators to wave at them. While assistant-coach Subal Das hysterically hollered instructions, Vijayan, 41, stood calmly. The tell-tale signs were of a man still getting used to the job at hand, coaching city club Southern Samity in their first top-flight season at the Calcutta Football League. Arriving on match-eve to take charge didn't help but for now, the 2-1 victory over Railway FC at Mohun Bagan ground on Tuesday pushed that to the back-burner.
Five years have passed since Vijayan played for a club. That was when he briefly represented East Bengal. On Tuesday, Vijayan started his second innings. And if coincidence is of any significance, the start is auspicious.
“It was here (Mohun Bagan) that I played my first professional match in Kolkata. It feels good that the ground has been kind to me even after so many years,” said the striker.
Vijayan has scored 39 goals in 79 international appearances for India and starred for Mohun Bagan, JCT and FC Kochin after arriving with a bang for Kerala Police.