Carles Cuadrat, East Bengal’s Spanish coach, wants to enjoy Durga Puja

Build-up starts for Indian Super League, country’s premier club competition, which will stage 10th edition from September 21

Carles Cuadrat (second left) with East Bengal players Cleiton Silva, Nanakumar and Gursimrat Singh Gill on the ISL Media Day. (Photo: Gautam Bhattacharyya)
Carles Cuadrat (second left) with East Bengal players Cleiton Silva, Nanakumar and Gursimrat Singh Gill on the ISL Media Day. (Photo: Gautam Bhattacharyya)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Carles Cuadrat, the charismatic Spanish coach of East Bengal may have arrived in the city only in April, but is already aware of the significance of Durga Puja festivities. Don’t be surprised to see Cuadrat playing the role of a ‘chief guest’ at one of the heavyweight pujas in late October.   

‘’Yes, I am aware that it’s a huge festival and I hope to enjoy the celebrations,’’ a beaming Cuadrat said replying to a query on a well-attended Media Day to usher in the build-up of the 10th edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), the country’s premier football league beginning on September 21. A total of 12 teams will be in fray, playing across 11 venues, as both reigning champions Mohun Bagan Supergiant and Emami East Bengal have Salt Lake Stadium as their home venue. 

An overriding topic at the media interaction of the teams, both in Kolkata on Wednesday and Bengaluru the day before, had been about their reluctance over release of their star players on national duty for the Asian Games in Guangzhou in China. The multi-discipline event did not initially feature in the Indian team’s calendar as the ‘Blue Tigers’ did not meet the eligibility criterion of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), but the Indian sports ministry later decided to give them a green signal after a string of good performances. 

Talking about the need to strike a balance between the needs of the club and the country, Cuadrat – who had been a coach at five of the 10 seasons of ISL – said: ‘’There is a Fifa calendar which we have to respect (Asian Games does not fall under it). We have sent a list of players to the AIFF from where they can choose for the Asian Games as we have had to release players for the Under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers. We have to manage as we also want to help Indian football.’’ 

Mohun Bagan, Supergiant coach Juan Ferrando, a compatriot of Cuadrat, echoed injury concerns about his key players ahead of the biggest prize at stake. ‘’We are monitoring the status of Ashique Kuruniyan before deciding on the next course of action,’’ Ferrando said on the possibility of release of players.  Kuruniyan, a national team midfielder, suffered a serious Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury during their semi-final match against Iraq at the King’s Cup in Thailand.

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Published: 13 Sep 2023, 6:42 PM