: Karim Bencherifa began his second term as Mohun Bagan coach with hopes that the renewed partnership will be fruitful in ending the title drought for the club.

“Coaches all over the world live by the target of getting success for the team. There are only a few coaches like (Alex) Ferguson or (Arsene) Wenger, who have remained with a team for more than 10 years,” said the Moroccan after regaining charge of the team on Monday. “I have come here to help the club win trophies and hopefully we will achieve it successfully,” said the coach, who is on a multi-crore contract for two seasons.

Bencherifa was the last coach to have fetched the club a host of titles including the Federation Cup in his previous stint of 18 months (that ended in February 2010). The team has repeatedly failed in the national stage thereafter.

Rejoining the same club after a break of 33 months, the Moroccan coach sought some time to get things in order.

‘“Judge me in the second season’, says Jose Mourinho but I know you will start judging me from the first season,” Bencherifa said with a wink hinting at the intense pressure from the media.

Bencherifa thanked his predecessor and current assistant coach Mridul Banerjee for bringing the team out of a crisis and keeping it unbeaten since the departure of the season’s first coach, Santosh Kashyap.

“With only six rounds played, we are currently placed four points behind the leader (in I-League). It is a long tournament and the title is very much within sight,” Karim said assessing his team’s chances.


“A coach’s job depends on two factors. First the partnership with the club management and second the result. Both are interconnected and I hope to keep those factors effectively in balance,” Bencherifa said.

“Last time the partnership (with Bagan) went well for a long time before developing some disappointment here and there. But we parted amicably which is why I am back,” he said.

“My priority now would be to ensure Mohun Bagan gets into a consistent winning form. And secondly to see that the team goes into every match with the right motivation and team spirit,” he said.

Referring to the much publicised tussle with Nigerian striker Onyeka Okolie Odafa during his stint with Churchill Brothers (2006-2008) Bencherifa said there may have been some “occasional misunderstanding” if one considers the team a family.

“One should remember Odafa became the highest scorer of the National League (previous name of I-League) during that time.

“My two years in Churchill Brothers were wonderful,” Bencherifa said when asked whether the old problem will have any bearing on the present as Odafa is Bagan’s most expensive import.

  • Bencherifa was the last coach to have fetched the club a host of titles

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