2/25/2018 7:00:27 AM (GMT+3)

Mohammedan isn’t anyone's personal property: Bola

 Mohammedan isn’t anyone

Helsinki, Finland: I feel a bit sad writing on the dwindling fortune of Mohammedan Sporting, where I had a memorable stint in 2013-14 season.

I was very upbeat and excited when I had reached Calcutta on a rainy evening.

Before landing in the city, my friend, who had been a former Sporting player, had briefed me on the club’s fabulous history.

I had helped the club win the 2013 Durand Cup in Delhi when we won against ONGC 2-1 and was proud to have guided them to a memorable victory at the historic Ambedkar Stadium.

My journalist friends had told me the club won the world’s third oldest football tournament after 73 years.

But then what had transpired after the triumph was painful. More than the failure on the ground, it was the politicking by a group of officials that had devastated me.

I wondered why these officials are ruining the image of the institution, which still enjoys a massive appeal in India.

Sporting is a sleeping giant, but I feel very sad about the current situation.

During my short stint, I had helped the gain international knowledge and experience. They’ve a history to cash in on, but they ignore it.

l tried to build a foundation, but the club officials lacked patience and vision. Sporting won two trophies in a season yet got relegated to Second Division I-League.

After the Durand Cup, Sporting faced a lot of injuries. By the time I-League started, our key players were not available. There was a big hole in the team.

The club’s fortune can be revived provided the officials become a little more pragmatic and professional.

Let me tell you one funny thing that I had always noticed during the team’s training sessions.

I always saw a guy follow me at the club’s practices. He used to hang around till the players and I had left the ground. I guess his job was to keep an eye on me and report to the top bosses.

I don’t know him or I was interested because as a professional coach my job was to train the players.

I still don’t understand why the club resort to such tactics of spying on the coaches and their conversations with the players. I was shocked to experience this kind of culture in a more than a century-old institution.

Mohammedan Sporting is a public club, and it isn’t a personal property of the officials, who must shed their inhibitions and embrace professionalism.