A dozen years and counting, Alvito d’Cunha is East Bengal’s only link with the team that last played an AFC Cup quarter-final, in 2004. Between then and now, D’Cunha has become East Bengal’s brand ambassador, an assistant-coach, and elder statesman for the team. He even speaks Bangla fluently.
The attacking midfielder with a left foot that can still make a football do his bidding is now hoping new coach Marcos Falopa gives him some game time on Wednesday against Semen Padang. After all, it’s not often that you get a chance to be a part of history.
“We’ve had a very good team last year and a better squad this year with the addition of James Moga, Joaquim Abranches, Ryuji Sueoka among others. But saying that is one thing, going out and doing it something else,” D’Cunha told HT on Monday.
The last time East Bengal reached the round of eight they lost 0-3 on aggregate to Syria’s Al Jaish. And unlike in 2004, this time East Bengal have retained most of their players.
D’Cunha’s only worry is East Bengal’s lack of game time going into their most important club international in nearly a decade. “But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse. We all knew that we had a game to play on September 17.”
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