I-League: East Bengal and Bengaluru FC involved in a training ground ‘spat’

The two clubs sparred ahead of the important clash with tempers flaring and abusive language being the order of the day…

Ahead of the high-profile I-League clash between Bengaluru FC and East Bengal on Sunday, the two sides got involved in a training ground spat on Saturday morning.

To avoid training under the sun, East Bengal chose to prepone their practice session by an hour on Saturday morning after allegedly being given a green signal by their local manager, Edwin.

“First the bus that was supposed to pick us up didn’t arrive. I tried calling the local manager who didn’t pick my call. So, I told the boys to walk to the ground from the hotel which we eventually did. And we reached the venue by 9 a.m.

“They would not let us start our practice then. An official of the club came to us and told me to ‘f**k off’. He was the manager of the national team sometime back and he knew Arnab Mondal. He told Arnab to stay away from the field and told Bernard Mendy to not step in the pitch. All of us were abused. Later a few other officials of the club came and they co-operated and we finally got going at 9:30,” said Alvito D’Cunha, the manager of the travelling side.

However, the reigning Federation Cup champions shared their side of the story claiming that training details were sent to the Kolkata club in advance.

“We had mailed to East Bengal and the AIFF two days ago giving all the details. We cannot help if he (East Bengal official) doesn’t see the mail. Moreover on Friday, East Bengal were supposed to practice at the Bangalore Football Stadium from 3 pm. But they conveniently landed up at 4.30 pm. We tried to be as accommodating as possible. But if someone comes and tells us about professionalism we have to show them their place,” a senior official of the JSW-owned club was quoted saying.

Questioned on why East Bengal opted to practice late by one and a half hour on Friday, D’Cunha said, “I have been to so many venues but I have never faced these issues. When we landed on Friday, they gave us a practice session from 3 p.m. However, we reached the hotel and had lunch at 2:30 only. We later practiced in the evening.”

Bengaluru FC and East Bengal are fighting for the league title alongside Mohun Bagan and it will be interesting to see whch team comes out on top on Sunday when the two teams square off at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

– Goal media 

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