“Once we have tasted flesh how can we be satisfied with vegetables,” was what Jahar Das, coach of Aizawl FC, had to say to his Mohun Bagan counterpart Sanjoy Sen, starting a sporting exchange of words before the real action of the Federation Cup final, here on Friday.

The Aizawl FC coach preferred to compare his team to a tiger which has tasted blood when he was asked how difficult it was to face a traditionally strong side like Mohun Bagan. Das brought up the metaphorical remark to drive home the point about the mental strength of his team, which he said was motivated to take on any side in the tournament.

“Mohun Bagan is a very strong team but they have not been able to show their caliber in the I-League more than Bengaluru FC, which is the champion. We have beaten Bengaluru twice and if a team like Bengaluru can be stopped why cannot we stop Mohun Bagan,” Das said before broaching the tiger allegory.

The Aizawl coach was critical about the condition of the ground in Guwahati and said it fell short of the requirement for a stage like the Fed Cup final. “I expected a better ground. I find that there are pot holes in many areas where the foot is sinking almost six inches deep. This suggests that the ground has not been maintained properly. This may cause injury to the players and also make the ball to behave awkwardly,” Das said.

Sanjoy Sen, the man who guided Mohun Bagan to the I-League title in 2015, was more reserved in his remarks saying that Aizawl FC, “has been playing outstanding football and we have to respect that.” Sen said he definitely has a plan for the opponent and would not let go the golden opportunity of regaining the Fed Cup crown after eight years. “We failed to retain the I-League this season but we cannot lose the opportunity of letting the Fed Cup slip out of our grip,” Sen said adding that the team is in good shape and raring to go.

All the enthusiasm among the opponents was dampened a bit as the organizer All India Football Federation failed to reciprocate in the right measure. There was hardly any promotion about the tournament and the lackadaisical attitude was also evident as the customary managers’ meeting, which is held on the eve of the match, was pushed to the morning of the match apparently because the match commissioner and the referee assessor failed to arrive on time.