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Former EB coach to train Delhi club

sports Updated: Nov 09, 2008 00:05 IST
Abhishek Hore
Abhishek Hore
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

G4S Hindustan Football Club has recently signed former India skipper Monoranjan Bhattacharjee as the head coach, following Bernard's Oparanozie move to Amity United.

The significance of Bhattacharjee's appointment is that this is for the first time a former India captain will be coaching a football club in the Capital.

Chima Okorie has been in charge of the New Delhi Heroes for more than a year now, but the Nigerian is known more for his exploits as a player at the club level. Ranjit Thapa, former Hindustan FC coach, did play for India but never led the national team.

Bhattacharjee's contract will run for two years and the remuneration he will get will be pretty good compared to Delhi's standards," said club secretary D.K. Bose. Before joining Hindustan FC, Bhattacharjee was doing duty for East Bengal, his third term with the Kolkata club, but resigned after being at the receiving end of some 'unfair criticism'.

The former India central defender, known for his excellent tackling and man marking, was handed the East Bengal job at a time when the club was going through turbulent times during last year's I-League, but thanks to his services, the Kolkata club managed to move out of the relegation zone and finish sixth in the pecking order.

Coaching a high-profile club like East Bengal is a far cry from involving oneself with Delhi football, and Bhattacharjee believed "Hindustan FC will be a different experience altogether".

"I just wanted to do something new. It will be interesting, to work with new people and new club. I'm sure the atmosphere will be very different at Hindustan FC," Bhattacharjee said.

"My primarily job will be to take the team to the next level. The focus is always on clubs like East Bengal but with Hindustan FC things are going to be different," Bhattacharjee, who served India for almost a decade, said.

Bhattacharjee will be arriving in Delhi next week and the team will then undergo a 25-day pre-season training in Ludhiana.

Asked how Bhattacharjee's name crop up, Bose said, "The moment he resigned as East Bengal coach I offered him the job and he accepted it."

During his heydays Bhattacharjee was a force to reckon with --- he led India thrice in the eighties and, as coach, guided East Bengal to the National Football League (NFL) title in 2000-2001.

One hopes the gifted defender of the yesteryears does something similar to Hindustan FC.