Mohun Bagan begins its campaign from scratch after its controversial reinstatement into the I-League against relegation-threatened Salgaocar at the Duler Stadium here on Sunday.
Mohun Bagan is back in the I-League after being handed a two-year ban for refusing to take the field in the second half of its derby match against East Bengal last month before the AIFF revoked the ban, but will have to start without any points in its kitty.
Incidentally, the Kolkata giant will run in a team that its current coach Karim Bencherifa trained at the start of the season before switching sides.
“This is a very important match for us because we are starting 10 points behind Salgaocar at the bottom of the pool. Salgaocar is 11 points ahead. This is a crucial match because we are both fighting to save relegation,” said Bencherifa.
Bencherifa is no alien to fighting relegation as a couple of years ago he pulled Salgaocar out of the relegation zone after joining the team midway. He said his team was “focused” and “ready” to take on the opposition.
“We have had a good camp and all the players are available. They are fit and raring to go.”
Its captain and star striker Odafe Okolie will, however, miss the match as he has been suspended for two matches for arguing with the referee in that fateful derby match.