Bar Pujo: Unique ritual to kick-start Kolkata football season

After two years of lull, the scenes around the ‘Maidan’ signified the return of the football season in its past glory as officials, footballers and the ardent fans came together to pray for the success of their respective clubs in the upcoming season.

Some of ATK Mohun Bagan's first team players, Prabir Das, Liston Colaco and Pritam Kotal along with the head coach Juan Ferrando were present for the ritual on Friday.   -  SPECIAL ARRAGEMENT

The usual sights associated with the beginning of a new football season returned to its full splendour on Friday in the ‘Maidan’ area of Kolkata, which houses most of the city’s sports clubs including the football giants East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan Sporting.

The pandemic had halted the annual ritual of invoking the gods of football which traditionally took place on the first day of the Bengali calendar, April 15, and is popularly referred to as “Bar Pujo” (referring to the bar of the goal post).

After two years of lull, the scenes around the ‘Maidan’ signified the return of the football season in its past glory as officials, footballers and the ardent fans came together to pray for the success of their respective clubs in the upcoming season.

The Mohun Bagan club was abuzz with activities as the ATK Mohun Bagan team led by its Spanish coach, Juan Ferrando, participated in the unique ritual and prayed that good fortune accompany their journey in the upcoming season. After a moderately successful ISL season, Ferrando had every reason to seek divine intervention and wish for greater success in the new season.

 

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With the AFC Cup play-off tie against Abahani Dhaka coming up on Tuesday, Ferrando hoped that the team would be able to continue the momentum it gained with the 5-0 win against Sri Lanka champion Blue Star in the preliminary round.

The East Bengal fans hoped for the club getting a new investor that would ensure its continuance in the next ISL season.

The club was recently left without a financier after Shree Cement withdrew its support recently. Former internationals like Mihir Bose, Prashanta Banerjee and Aloke Mukherjee were present along with the club officials and junior team players in the East Bengal programme. 

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