East Bengal coach Subhash Bhowmick is disappointed at being forced to go into Wednesday's I-League second round clash against Mahindra United without the benefit of a full practice session for his team.
"I'm frustrated and disappointed that we have had no practice session after playing our match on October 3. This is not the way to prepare for our match against such a top outfit like Mahindra United," the former India striker said.
Bhowmick, who had guided East Bengal to the ASEAN Cup in 2003 and two successive National Football League tiles in 2002-03 and 2003-04, could only see his wards warming up outside the playing area, which had been rendered soft by heavy unseasonal rains.
The former international wanted the match to be put off due to lack of any other proper practice ground for his team.
"Anywhere else in the world the match would have been postponed. We are being deprived (of a full-fledged practice session)," he said, hitting out at the rules of the All India Football Federation.
Bhowmick did not blame the Western India Football Association, owners of the Cooperage ground, for his team not being allowed to practice on the playing area.
"I don't blame them. They have done a wonderful job. The Rovers Cup ground looks beautiful, the best I have ever seen it appear. But it's not right that we have to play without having a full session. I prefer a postponement," he said.
"Yesterday there were puddles on the ground and we had to do some warm-ups. We can do these warm-ups in our hotel lobby," he said.
In the absence of a practice session, the East Bengal coach could not say which player was not fit.
"I can't say who is unfit without the benefit of a practice session," he said.
Asked whether Ghanaian forward Yusif Yakubu, who joined the team last night after missing the opening match in Pune would play, he expressed his inability to assess the player.
"I can't say. He's a very honest player and would tell me whether he can play," Bhowmick said.
Yakubu said he was ready to play the game against his former club Mahindra.