There have been plenty of controversies since the chaotic conclusion of much awaited ‘Kolkata Derby’ when Mohun Bagan, the defending Federation Cup champions, opted out to feature against East Bengal on Wednesday in the ongoing Calcutta Football League competition that has been conquered by the Red and Golds for six consecutive campaigns since 2010.
Due to the upcoming U-17 World Cup, season’s first derby was shifted to Kalyani Stadium from Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Saltlake. But there was no shortage of excitement and the fans were, as usual, involved in heated argument over social media . Unfortunately, the Green and Maroon officials decided not to play in the derby after failing to agree with IFA over their claims and conditions. East Bengal got walkover and the fans were deprived from witnessing one of the most passionate fixture of world football – the ‘Ghoti – Bangal’ rivalry.
Incidentally, the incident of a walkover in ‘Kolkata Derby’ is nothing new. Since the maiden derby clash that took place on 28th May, 1925 (East Bengal were victorious by 1-0 margin, goal scored by Nepal Chakravarty), both the teams got several walkovers from their rivals over past century. Let’s revisit those incidents in this article.
1939 – Calcutta Football League:
The first event of a walkover happened 8 years prior to our Independence when East Bengal decided not to play in the return leg of the tournament against their rivals. Mohun Bagan won the Calcutta Football League for the first time, a tournament they have won 29 times altogether since then.
1954 – Calcutta Football League:
The season where boots were made mandatory, the rivals met on 26th June in the Calcutta League and the Green and Maroons won by 3-1. Runu Guha Thakurta, P.Venkatesh and Samar Banerjee scored for Bagan while Ahmed Khan reduced the margin for East Bengal. But much similar to the 1939 event, East Bengal pulled themselves out of the return leg fixture. The Mariners clinched the title, thus became the first ever club to be crowned the prestigious double of Kolkata – Calcutta League as well as the IFA Shield.
1968 – Calcutta Football League:
Another campaign where Mohun Bagan got walkover, this time in first leg.
1972 – IFA Shield:
One of the finest seasons of East Bengal club’s history when they won the Calcutta Football League as well as the famous Indian ‘Treble’ of Durand Cup, Rovers Cup and IFA Shield simultaneously in one single season. However, the Shield conquer was a controversial one, as the replayed final between the two bitter rivals was abandoned due to heavy shower with Mohun Bagan leading by one goal scored by Sukalyan Ghosh Dastidar. Bagan were furious and didn’t agree to play the match again, thus East Bengal got walkover and won the title.
1974- Calcutta Football League:
East Bengal, the record 37 times Calcutta League winners, got another walkover two years later. The Red and Golds won the title for fifth consecutive time and later they went on establishing the unique record of winning the Calcutta Football League six years in a row (1970-1975).
1985- Calcutta Football League:
Quite similar to the previous incident, East Bengal got walkover in 1985 return leg when Mohun Bagan did not turn up and eventually won the league.
2012/13 – I League:
The most recent memory before Wednesday’s walkover was of 9th December, 2012 that is considered one of the darkest day of Indian football as well as Mohun Bagan’s history. It can be termed as a ‘mini-walkover’ when Bagan decided to abandon the fixture after completing the first half when East Bengal were leading by Harmanjot Khabra’s header.
Bagan skipper Odafa Okolie was shown a red card and the mob got violent. Mohun Bagan’s Syed Rahim Nabi was hit by a stone that came from where his team’s fans were sitting. Had I League rules been followed, The Mariners would have been banned by the AIFF till 2015. But considering the heritage and importance of Mohun Bagan in Indian football, AIFF let off Green and Maroons with a Rs. 2 crore fine deducting all the points they collected since the beginning of that campaign.
East Bengal are on their way to lift the Calcutta Football League for a record seven times, but their celebration and jollification have now been marred by the unexpected fate of the Kolkata Derby. Irrespective of the outcome, both sets of players motivate themselves for this classic encounter and demoralizing their inducement will do no good for Bengal as well as Indian football.
Do you enjoy Kolkata Derby? Let us know your views on the recent debacle, in the comments below!
Feature image source: en.wikipedia.org