KOLKATA: The crisis that Mohammedan Sporting Club is in right now should lead to the club doing serious introspection in how they do business as they are lagging behind their rivals and they will continue to do so if they don’t change their approach.
Mohammedan have so far played three matches in 2018/19 2nd Division League preliminary round and managed to garner only a one point; it’s a crisis for the Black Panthers.
Although fans shouldering the blame on coach Raghunath Nandy, he isn’t the only problem for this dreadful performance; he is part of it. The bigger problem will remain with Mohammedan even if Raghunath Nandy leaves tomorrow. That problem isn’t a person but rather how Mohammedan do business.
Mohammedan’s approach in finding talent, whether it’s a coach or player, relies more on luck than sound scouting and analysis. You just have to look at the high turnover of players who have been signed and then released midway through the season to show how much the club has been struggling in this department.
Years ago Mohammedan’s biggest pull was that they were one of the biggest clubs in the country with the biggest fan-base. They used that status to draw players as it was a dream to play for them.
But that power isn’t that effective alone anymore. Money and success also contribute to where players want to go which is why Mohammedan haven’t been as strong as they used to be in the transfer market.
Leave aside their opposition in the “big three”‚ East Bengal and Mohun Bagan‚ even challengers such as Peerless Sports Club and NBP Rainbow AC‚ spend more than them in each transfer window. If the Black Panthers can’t compete financially in the transfer market, they need to invest in a good scouting network instead of relying on agents.
The most important person at United Sports Club in the last decade has been Nabab Bhattacharya whose eye for talent has brought the club success to some extent, despite financial limitations.
Mohammedan need a person like Bhattacharya who will travel the length and breadth of the state and country to find talent. The market has just gone so insane that it’s hard to compete in it, especially for a club which is competing in 2nd Division League for last 4 seasons.
The way Mohammedan look for talent shouldn’t end at players but also at coaches. Truth be told the current incumbent Raghunath Nandy isn’t of Mohammedan’s stature. One can only wonder why they chose to appoint Raghunath Nandy whose CV is less than impressive, without much of a coaching pedigree.
It’s not just Raghunath Nandy whose appointment at Mohammedan was shocking. If you look at the club’s list of coaching appointments in the recent past you will realise just how much they have “gambled” with the people they have hired.
Most of the coaching success has been through luck rather than Mohammedan identifying an individual who understands their culture and fits in well in their vision.
Since 2014, Mohammedan have been trained by Fuja Tope, Ananta Ghosh, Mridul Banerjee, Subrata Bhattacharya Jr, Ranjan Chaudhury, Biswajit Bhattacharya and Raghunath Nandy. That is a staggering seven coaches in less than five seasons. Does this mean the management does not know who or what they are looking for, as such they pick this one today, another tomorrow? At which stage will ‘heads roll’ in the management? At which point will they take the blame? Consider this, in 2014/15 and 2015/16 Mohammedan finished fourth in 2nd Division League before failing to make it past the preliminary round in 2016/17 and 2017/18, this season (2018/19) they are most likely going to miss the final round again. That is clearly a club in decline. What has management done? They fired the coach. They have not done anything to the person who appointed the coach, or the person who bought players, let alone the person running the club.
Mohammedan is a big brand in Indian football and has fans that are used to success, but they have no divine right to win football matches.
Matches are won on the field, but they must be backed by good coaching and solid recruitment. Certainly, in either departments, they have been badly let down of late. There are a few other factors that Mohammedan can do to improve on the success on the team however the above mentioned would do a world of difference to the team. Nonetheless, the problem is that Mohammedan officials have consistently said they want to do this, and then they go the opposite direction.