My dream is to coach Mohun Bagan: Club legend Barreto

Mohun Bagan legend Jose Ramirez Barreto

Kolkata, (Asian independent) Mohun Bagan legend Jose Ramirez Barreto said on Wednesday that it is his dream to coach the iconic club one day.

Brazilian striker Barreto has won two national league titles with the green and maroon outfit and is currently working with the youth development programme at the Reliance Foundation.

“We always have a dream and mine is to become the Mohun Bagan coach. I’m just working hard to be a good coach,” Barreto said during a chat show of ‘Mohun Bagan icons’ on the occasion of the club’s annual day celebration that was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I always take pride in whatever I do for Mohun Bagan. Of course I played for them for many years and the officials, the fans, everyone — they are kind of family for me. Coaching (Mohun Bagan) is a thing to dream of, something that will unite me with the fans again,” Barreto said.

The century old club’s footballing rights were recently acquired by the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group which holds a majority stake of 80 per cent. The new entity is called ATK Mohun Bagan FC which will take part in the Indian Super League (ISL) from this season.

“It’s a great combination, like two spirits coming together with ATK-Mohun Bagan. It’s going to make a huge difference for Bengal football,” Barreto, who scored 94 goals for Mohun Bagan in NFL/I-League, said.

Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who had also donned the Mohun Bagan jersey apart from playing from East Bengal, added: “The fans should celebrate this day. It’s a historic day and more so with the joint venture with ATK. It’s a proud moment for all the fans across India and the world. I hope this legacy of July 29 goes on in the years to come.”

The chat show also featured current I-League winner and Spanish attacking midfielder Joseba Beitia and Sony Norde, the Haitian who was instrumental in the team winning the I-League title in 2014-15.

Football’s global governing body FIFA on Wednesday added a cherry on top of Mohun Bagan’s foundation day cake as they termed the iconic football team as more than just a club after it became the country’s first sports entity to feature on the NASDAQ billboard in New York’s Times Square.

The club also gave a host of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award to 1975 Hockey World Cup winner Ashok Kumar along with Pranab Ganguly (football) and Monoranjan Porel (athletics).

The club’s highest honours — Mohun Bagan Ratna awards — were given to Gurbux Singh (hockey) and Palash Nandi (cricket).

The Mohun Bagan Day is celebrated every year on July 29 to commemorate the team’s IFA Shield triumph in 1911, when they beat East Yorkshire Regiment 2-1 to become the first Indian club to end the British stranglehold on the tournament.