Panaji, November 23: The Kolkata Derby is around the corner and SC East Bengal is hunkered down in preparations for the game. The players, breathing in a now-electric atmosphere, had much to say about the emotions this particular match invokes.
SC East Bengal skipper Arindam Bhattacharya feels the game will be as intense as always. “Derby is a very important and special game for us. Most of the Indian players know about the importance of this derby, have an idea of how intense it will be on the pitch. The foreigners have also been given a brief rundown of what’s going to happen. We have made sure they know the importance this game holds for us as players as well as our supporter base. We are preparing well and waiting for the game as a team now,” he says.
On the other hand, Daniel Chima Chukwu is raring to go. The Nigerian footballer is the spirit of enthusiasm in the run up to his first Derby. “The first thing that comes to my mind is war. I’m ready to give my all. I’ll play this game with all my energy, strength, and power, because it is the biggest game.”
Md. Rafique, a veteran in this fixture, is still amazed at the thrill and adrenaline rush this game brings. “The names SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan elicit a different kind of response in our minds because the Kolkata Derby is the biggest Derby of India. I request all the East Bengal fans around the world to keep supporting the team.”
For young midfielder Amarjit Singh Kiyam, the derby is all about the fans. “The first thing that comes to my mind if I think about SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan derby are the fans, because they go crazy about this match. I am very excited to play the first ISL derby of the season,” says the U-23 India player.
SC East Bengal began their season with a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday. They take on ATKMB on Saturday at the same venue, which is 'home' to the Red-and-Golds.