Vastavam web: They may be record 32 times winners in the national football championship for the Santosh Trophy, but Bengal will not start overwhelming favourites with their “worst preparation ever”.Bengal today announced a 20-member team and head coach Ranjan Chowdhury painted a grim picture, saying the team has never been so short of preparation in its 72nd year history of the tournament.His biggest concern was that he did not get to train with five of his key players including forward Jiten Murmu, who is also the captain.
“They were busy with their club commitments at Mohammedan Sporting and will be joining tomorrow — on the eve of our opener (against Manipur),” he said.As a result, Bengal were forced to ring in five changes from the squad who qualified from East Zone by winning their two Group B matches against Chhattisgarh (2-0) and Jharkhand (2-0) in Patna.Chowdhury, however, said he’s not demoralised and took it up as a challenge to prove himself.More than on field training, Chowdhury is keen to build the team off the field in the little time frame he has got.
“The first task is to build the team spirit as these problems affect on the pitch. I will take them out, and try to spend most of our time together. I will try my best to motivate them off the field,” he said.Bengal find themselves in group A with Chandigarh, Manipur, Maharashtra and Kerala.
Chowdhury said all teams are better prepared than Bengal.”Manipur have been always strong and I’m sure Maharashtra have also prepared well. They do not have any clubs play in the I-League, so they do not face a crisis like us here in Bengal. I’m sure they have built their team well in advance and all their cream players will play. The key for us to get into a rhythm. The sooner the better,” Chowdhury concluded.