Mehtab: ‘I will quit East Bengal if it does not win I-League this time’

The defensive midfielder, who started his journey with East Bengal in 2007 and had more than 250 domestic league appearances with the side, said with a hint of resignation that he would be forced to believe that his presence is working as a “jinx” on East Bengal’s I-league aspirations.

East Bengal midfielder Mehtab Hussain feels his presence has ‘jinxed’ his team’s title aspirations. (File photo)   -  Vipin Chandran

Mehtab Hossain promised to sever a decade-old relation with East Bengal if his team fails to lift the I-League title this season. The defensive midfielder, who started his journey with East Bengal in 2007 and had more than 250 domestic league appearances with the side, said with a hint of resignation that he would be forced to believe that his presence is working as a “jinx” on East Bengal’s I-league aspirations.

“East Bengal has reached so close to the title in the past seven to eight years but never won it. That forced me to take a vow at the start of the season that if it does not win the title this time, it would be better for me to stay away from the team,” Mehtab said, stirring up the emotions ahead of East Bengal’s crucial I-League tie against Mohun Bagan on Sunday.

“If we win the title this season then I will stay or else I will leave the team. I have devoted the best time of my playing career to the club for the last 10 years. It is like a family for me but if someone else can help the team regain the title no one will be happier than me,” he said.

“Mehtab's been a fantastic player for East Bengal. He has served the team to the best of his ability and I hope he can finish his East Bengal career on a winning note,” East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan said. However, the coach was not happy with the inconsistency that his side showed in the last two rounds where the team suffered loss. “I have been very disappointed in the last two games. Tomorrow is the day to make it right,” Morgan said. “Their (Mohun Bagan’s) current form shows that they are in a better shape. Our players have to wear the shirt and show the pride that comes with it,” Morgan added.

Inconsistency in the later stages of the tournament remained a cause of concern even for Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen. “We started dropping points after draw against East Bengal. We need to maintain consistency, the one part we have been lacking throughout the season,” Sen said. “All the remaining games are important and tough for us. We have to show more character in playing these games, which should start with East Bengal tomorrow,” Sen said, sending out a word of caution to his players.

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