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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

I-League: Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen quits after latest loss, Papas front-runner

Mohun Bagan’s coach Sanjoy Sen stepped down after three years, following three home draws and Tuesday’s loss to visiting Chennai City FC in the I-League.

football Updated: Jan 02, 2018 23:45 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Sanjoy Sen quit as Mohun Bagan coach after their loss to Chennai City FC in the I-League.
Sanjoy Sen quit as Mohun Bagan coach after their loss to Chennai City FC in the I-League.(Mohun Bagan/Twitter)

Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen stepped down on Tuesday minutes after they lost 1-2 to a 10-man Chennai City FC at the club’s home ground. The defeat was after three home draws in the I-League.

A new coach would be known by Wednesday, said Debasish Dutta, one of the club’s directors. Australian Arthur Papas is said to be a front-runner, according to sources at the club.

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“I don’t have the mentality to continue. I think it is time for me to go and I do that with no regrets,” said Sen. His decision rang the curtain down on one of the most successful stints in domestic football in recent times.

In a little over three years, Sen had given Mohun Bagan their only I-League title in 2014-15 and the Federation Cup the next season. With Sen at the helm, Mohun Bagan had finished second twice in the I-League and became the first Indian team to win a round in the Asian Champions League qualifiers.

“This team may go on to win the I-League but it is the end of the road for me,” said Sen, announcing his decision at the post-match media conference.

“I take the responsibility for the slump in performance. I have no complaints against the club’s officials who have helped me in every way. I would also like to thank the players for trying their best,” said Sen.

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“I had decided that if we don’t come back from three home draws I will step down...As Gerard Houllier said, ‘you are not a coach till you are sacked’ I am quitting before that happens,” said Sen, 57. He had had a heart surgery late last year but said that had nothing to do with the decision.

“I don’t have a ready answer to why this (three draws and a loss) happened,” said Sen. He is the second I-League coach to leave after Churchill Brothers sacked Mykola Shevchenko.

Boorish Bagan fan behaviour

Asked if he was spat at before entering the players’ tunnel, Sen said “yes.” The media conference too was interrupted by sloganeering and barracking and a missile was lobbed into the conference area.

“None of this is unusual in Kolkata, at this club,” said Sen looking calm.

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It will have to be seen whether this puts a question mark on Mohun Bagan holding more matches at home.

Like winning a World Cup

Chennai City FC coach V Soundarajan said this was like winning the World Cup. “This is the most wonderful moment if my life and for our team, which is new. I would have been satisfied with a 1-1 draw.

“Mohun Bagan lost too many balls and that made it easier for us despite playing with 10 men. I would like to dedicate this win to our fans,” said Soundarajan, who was once a Railways teammate of Sen in the Santosh Trophy.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 23:00 IST