Former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan players will turn back the clock when they take to the field for an exhibition derby match, on February 12 at the East Bengal ground, which will form prelude to the IFA Shield, reduced to an U-19 tournament now, which is scheduled to start from February 16.
The Mohun Bagan team will be coached by their legendary defender Subrata Bhattacharya, who led them to an unprecedented treble, and also marshalled them in the 2-2 draw against the New York Cosmos team, who had Pele in their line-up.
On the other hand, East Bengal will have Monoranjan Bhattacharya, affectionately called Mona, at their helm. The former defender holds the club record for continuously representing East Bengal over a spell spanning 14 years, before he joined Mohun Bagan.
The match will feature stars from the 70s, 80s and as recently as Sandip Nandy, and will be played for 70 minutes, with the possibility of a tie-breaker if the match ends in a draw. This game will act as a prelude to the upcoming 120th edition of the IFA Shield, which started back in 1893.
The tournament was reduced to a U-19 event in 2015, citing congestion in the Indian football calender, following the arrival of the ISL. Bengal's United Sports Club's U-19 team, which defeated East Bengal in the final last year, are the defending champions.
This year, 10 clubs including two foreign clubs will participate in this historic tournament, and so far the following teams have confirmed their participation : East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting, United Sports Club, State Bank of Trivancore, U-19 team of AIFF and Crystal Palace FC.
Mohun Bagan: Debasish Mukherjee, Tanumoy Basu, Hemanta Dora, Krishnendu Roy, Amit Bhadra, Achintya Belel, Alok Das, Satyajit Ghosh, Aloke Mukherjee, Dulal Biswas, Satyajit Chatterjee, Basudeb Mondal, Amit Das, Ranjan Chowdhury, Sudip Chakraborti, Uttam Mukherjee, Sisir Ghosh, Krishnogopal Chowdhury, Dipendu Biswas. (Coach: Subrata Bhattacharya)
East Bengal: Atanu Bhattacharya, Sandip Nandy, Sangram Mukherjee, Kabir Basu, Maidul Islam, Tarun Dey, Biswanath Mondal, Habibur Rehman Mondal, Suryabikash Chakraborti, Tushar Rakshit, Chandan Das, Bikash Panji, Debjit Ghosh, Prashanta Chakraborti, Trijit Das, Avijit Roychowdhury, Babu Mani, Ranjan De, Amitava Chanda. (Coach: Monoranjan Bhattacharya)