For someone who insists that history is important only when you learn from it, Subhas Bhowmick is unlikely to forget that since 2008, Mohun Bagan have been Dempo's bugbear. They won thrice in 2008-09 and off-set last season's losses with victory in the Federation Cup semi-final this year.
Bhowmick is convinced that Mohun Bagan will get of this rut (one point from three rounds) soon. And in the new technical director, he trusts. Ahead of Thursday's fourth round home tie against Dempo, Jose Barreto cited Bhowmick's experience in getting Indian teams to win international tournaments as reason for his faith.
Having spectacularly failed to walk the talk with East Bengal in 2009, Bhowmick has been markedly subdued in his comments since taking charge of Mohun Bagan on Tuesday. The coach of yore would have refuted with aplomb notions of Mohun Bagan's roster being lopsided. The technical director of now merely said: "Even if we assume that this team can't do it, I am not going to run away. This is a challenge and challenges are meant to be enjoyed."
Central defender Harpreet Singh being booked out does mar the enjoyment as do injuries to Edeh Chidi and Kingshuk Debnath ruling them out of the tie. Central defenders Sagram Mandi and Okwy Diamondstar, too, are injured. But Bhowmick, sounding unfazed, said, "I will have to manage with what I have."
Bagan will start with Rahul Kumar and Sheikh Azeem in the inner defence and only half of their four foreigners.