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Asia's best football coach jobless

May 19, 2003 21:40 IST
Subrata Bhattacharjee, the only coach in India to figure in the list of best coaches by the Asian Football Confederation in 2002, is jobless.

With the appointment of a new coach for Mohun Bagan, the slender chance of a 'comeback' to his old club is now lost, at least for a season.

Bhattcharjee had led India's oldest soccer club to the National Football League title twice in a span of three years.

The 42-year-old former India international was expelled on April 15 for "anti-club activities" after a spate of defeats in the seventh NFL.

Bhattacharjee was quite popular among a section of club members and hardcore supporters for his candid approach and success in his soccer career both on the field and as well as coach.

After his sacking, just before two remaining NFL matches, the Bagan management appointed two temporary coaches -- Bidesh Bose and Shymal Banerjee -- but the club suffered badly in the league table because of poor performance and a section of supporters cried hoarse for the return of Bhattacharjee.

But the club management stuck to its decision and on Friday, after a marathon meeting, appointed India's assistant coach Aloke Mukherjee to train the players for a year.

Interestingly, Mukherjee and Bhattacharjee played many years in Bagan's defence in the eighties and nineties and won many trophies.

Soon after leading the club to the title in the sixth NFL, Bhattacharjee was named coach of Asia for the month of April, 2002, by an AFC panel, the supreme football body in Asia.

With Mukherjee's acceptance, the coach's job lies vacant with only in Tollygunge Agragami, as the three other clubs of Kolkata in the NFL have already appointed their coaches.

It is learnt that Tollygunge have offered Bhattcharjee the job for the coming season. However, he has asked for sometime to decide.
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