'The relevance of Kolkata Derby is significant,' note Kibu and Alejandro

While East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez has two Kolkata derby victories in his stint in India, his Mohun Bagan counterpart Kibu Vicuna is gearing up for his first taste of the rivalry.

The rivalry between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal is the oldest in Indian football. (FILE IMAGE)   -  GETTY IMAGES

As the Kolkata Derby approaches the glorious stage of completing a century it received a big acknowledgement from two foreigners who have made the city their home in recent times. The Spanish coach of Mohun Bagan, Kibu Vicuna, went on to say that the atmosphere created around the derby surpasses the enthusiasm around the big rivalries in his native country.

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Vicuna, who hails from San Sebastian in the Basque region, is sure to have been briefed of the existence of a huge fan-base that runs into millions for both the clubs. "What I find here is amazing and is very difficult to live (find) this atmosphere in Spain," said Vicuna, who sounded ecstatic ahead of his first Kolkata derby.

Kibu’s compatriot and the opposite number in East Bengal's dugout, Alejandro Menendez pointed out that the derby is the lifeblood that can provide Indian football the vitality to reach the next level. "This is a big match and its relevance is very big for Indian football. We want to win it for our fans," Menendez said.

Alejandro Menendez coached East Bengal to a second-place finish in the I-League last season. PHOTO: Twitter @eastbengalfc

 

Drawing from his own experience of managing Real Madrid's youth team and various divisions across Spanish football, Alejandro said, "Indian club football can at best be compared to the ‘Segunda Division B’ (the third level) of the Spanish football league system. With so much of enthusiasm here, football should look for new areas and concepts and develop in terms of technology, planning and methodology to grow its own system."

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He added, "It is time that they [officials in the AIFF] put in some good research to plan the development of football in India."

Kibu felt the presence of good foreigners in a side is a proven method all over the world. "Foreign players are important as they help young Indian players to improve technically and tactically. Good foreigners are important for not only Indian teams but for any team in the world," the 47-year-old said, making reference to big teams in his country like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.