Kolkata football giants Mohun Bagan have appointed Alok Mukherjee as chief coach, while P K Banerjee will be the team's technical director till the start of the National Football League. Thereafter, the post will be taken up by former Uzbekistan international Igor Shkvyrin, who had played in the National Football League for Churchill Brothers in 2000-01 and Mohun Bagan in 1999-00, when he emerged top scorer and Bagan won the title.
Former India 'keeper Atanu Bhattacharjee will be the goalkeeping coach.
Mohun Bagan Club secretary Anjan Mitra said the decision to appoint Mukherjee was taken considering the former India international's age and experience.
"We wanted a coach who can train and play with the footballers," he said. "Besides, being an assistant to India's football coach Stephen Constantine has given him valuable experience."
Talking about Banerjee's appointment, Mitra said, "Since he [Banerjee] had already been appointed as the technical director of the Mohun Bagan academy at Durgapur we thought of utilising his services till the beginning of November, when the academy gets into full flow."
"Thereafter Igor Shkvyrin will take over the responsibility and there is no questioning his capability," he added.
Unlike previous years, this time the support team was decided upon by a five-member committee.
"Though it was decided last Saturday that club president Tutu Bose would have the final say on the appointments, Bose advised a unanimous decision in this regard," Mitra informed.
Mitra said he had asked all the coaches who had applied for the job to fax him their demands by 11 am Friday, after which the team management would discuss the proposals.
After a four-hour closed door meeting a decision was arrived upon.
Following the unceremonious removal of Subrata Bhattacharjee, Mohun Bagan had been travelling far and wide in search of coach. While some premier club coaches like Sukhwinder Singh and Mohammad Habib had directly refused their proposal, others had negotiated on the pay cheque.
Mitra said several names came up for discussion and among them were a few foreign coaches like Shrivkin, Sammy Omolo and even former India coach Rustom Akramov.
Among the Indian coaches from other states who were considered were former Bagan coach T K Chattuni, Vasco coach Derrick Pereira and former India captain V P Sathyan, he said.
Alok Mukherjee was the most favoured among the Kolkata coaches as the diminutive player of the eighties is also an assistant to Indian coach Stephen Constantine.
"However, Alok would like to join Constantine and the Indian team for the Afro-Asian Cup, scheduled for September. This apart, Prasanta Banerjee's name was also doing the rounds," Mitra said.