Former footballers criticise the current batch of foreign players

All eyes were on the foreigners in the Kolkata derby but they proved to be disappointing after a drab 0-0 draw between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

Written by: Sujata
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Kolkata, Feb 13: All eyes were on the foreign players as East Bengal took on Mohun Bagan in the season's first Kolkata Derby in I-League on Sunday, February 12.

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As the match ended in a stalemate, the foreign recruits of either side proved to be the biggest failures in this iconic match.

From left: Wedson Anselme and Sony Norde (Images courtesy: Mohun Bagan Twitter handle)

Jose Ramirez Barreto was one foreign footballer who had series of excellent performances in derby matches.

Chima Okorie was another hero in derby matches. They were consistent in their performances.

Having watched Sunday’s drab match, Barreto, speaking from Mumbai, said: “I felt Sony Norde was not fully fit. Even Willis Plaza was not also fit. That might have been the reason they failed to give their best.”

Barreto’s observation was perfect. Sony Norde had a hamstring pain since morning. Still, he played mainly as it was a derby match. Willis Plaza was already injured. He had to wear knee cap and play the match.

Former East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya had a different opinion on the issue. He said: “Even if they were fully fit, Sony could have stolen the limelight, but Plaza is not extraordinary.

"Being a mediocre player it becomes difficult for any anybody to shine in a match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.” 

Another former star of derby matches in the eighties, Shishir Ghosh, who graced by his sparkling heading for both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, had the same opinion.

He remarked: “I feel the foreign players who are donning East Bengal and Mohun Bagan shirts nowadays cannot be compared to the foreign footballers like Majid Baskar, Jamshed Nassiri, Barreto, Chima, and Stephen Abarowei.

"They were superior. The footballers who played on Sunday do not have that skill and football vision comparing to the foreign footballers of our time. I feel there are Indian footballers who are more talented than the foreigners of the present time.”

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