Harmanjot Khabra announces exit from East Bengal

"One of my regrets is not winning the league title with East Bengal. We came close a few times but fell away in the end. I feel like I need a new challenge elsewhere now, a change of scenery."

Harmanjot Khabra spent seven years with the Kolkata giant.   -  ISL

Midfielder Harmanjot Khabra will part ways with East Bengal after a seven-year stay with the Kolkata giant. The 27-year-old took to social media to announce his decision citing the failure to win a league title as one of the main reasons behind his departure.

"I have been here for seven seasons and have given my all. I have enjoyed the journey and will never forget what the club has given me, but it is time for me to move on," said Khabra. "I have cherished every moment since I signed for East Bengal. The club, the fans and the city (Kolkata) have given me so many memories."

The I-League title has eluded Khabra during his time at East Bengal and he acknowledges that it is one of the reasons he has decided to leave the club. "One of my regrets is not winning the league title with East Bengal. We came close a few times but fell away in the end. I feel like I need a new challenge elsewhere now, a change of scenery."

East Bengal has not won the I-League in its current form. The team's last title came way back in 2004 when the championship was known as the National Football League. The Red and Golds finished third behind Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan this season.

"We did not play like champions. Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC were better than us over the course of the season and they played like champions," reflects Khabra.

Trevor Morgan was appointed head coach for a second time after Biswajit Bhattacharya resigned and Khabra believes that the lack of preparation time under the new coach was the reason for East Bengal's shock Fed Cup exit at the hands of Shillong Lajong.

"Trevor came in after the I-League got over and he hardly got any time with us. The coach is not a magician to conjure immediate results. It takes time for the new ideas to seep in and we just did not click," said Khabra.

Seven years is a long time to be at a single club, especially in Indian football, and Khabra has his fair share of fond memories. "Even if I had to choose five or 10 memories it would be hard because I have had some of the best years of my life at this football club. From signing the contract to scoring that header against Mohun Bagan in the derby and captaining the side, the list goes on and on."

Khabra was part of the victorious Chennaiyin FC side in the Indian Super League and he is in talks with the club over a contract extension.

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