A fresh start for East Bengal with a brand new season yet again. However, the question remains: will the national trophy drought end? That needs to be seen after a few months. I-League 2016-17 season is here and like every year, the Red and Golds from Kolkata are one of the favourites for the title.
Of course, there is competition from arch-rival Mohun Bagan as well as defending champions Bengaluru FC, but nevertheless, Trevor James Morgan's team will be keen on putting up their best foot forward this time around. Remember: Mehtab Hossain's career at the club is on the line.
Apart from the above big two of the I-League, East Bengal will also have pressure from newcomers Minerva FC and Chennai City FC. Also, there is the presence of dark horses Aizawl FC and the returning Churchill Brothers.
The East Bengal team for 2017, therefore, has been crafted to provide balance to all departments of play. In defence, Arnab Mondal is a strong presence and the addition of pacy wingers in Jackichand Singh and Romeo Fernandes gives the team a much-needed strength and velocity.
The terrific Do Dong Hyun has been released just ahead of I-League and it remains to be seen if his absence will come as a worry for the team.
East Bengal team 2017
Coach: Trevor James Morgan
Assistant coach: Warren Hackett
Foreign players: Willis Plaza (Trinidad & Tobago - striker), Ivan Bukenya (Uganda - defender), Wedson Anselme (Haiti - forward)
Goalkeepers: TP Rehenesh, Subhashish, Dibyendu Sarkar, Luis Barreto, Abhishek Pal
Defenders: Arnab Mondal, Narayan Das, Rahul Bheke, Gurwinder Singh, Robert, Babu Mondal, Samad Ali Mallick, Anwar Ali, Robin Gurung, Koushik Sarkar, Deepak Kumar
Midfielders: Mehtab Hossain, Rafique, Didika, Bikash Jairu, Cavin Lobo, Ruidas, Jackichand, Romeo Fernandes, Prohlad Roy, David, Rowlin Borges, Nikhil Poojari
Strikers: Jiten Murmu, VP Suhair