Goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya named SCEB captain for ISL

Kolkata, Nov 13 (PTI) Goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya will captain SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League season which begins in Goa from November 19.

Golden Glove winner Bhattacharya joined the red and gold brigade from ATK Mohun Bagan after helping the Mariners reach the final last season where they lost to Mumbai City FC.

The 32-year-old custodian kept 10 clean sheets and made 59 saves, adding to his reputation as one of the finest shot-stoppers in Indian football.

The ISL and I-League winner has time and again shown his leadership qualities, wearing the armband for ATKMB the last term with distinction.

Australian centre-back Tomislav Mrcela was named vice-captain, keeping in mind his wealth of experience and leadership qualities.

I am happy to announce Arindam as captain of the team and Tomislav as vice-captain. They are both exceptional leaders on the pitch and also off it,” said head coach Jose Manuel Diaz in a club release.

“Arindam has been there in Indian football for a long time and knows what it takes to lead a team like SC East Bengal. Tomi too has vast experience and he is a natural leader. All the players in the squad respect them and I believe they can get the best out of the team.

Bhattacharya, who has played five matches for India, said he was looking forward to living up to expectations and performing to his fullest.

“It’s a huge honour for me and especially for my family because everyone back home is an East Bengal supporter. Though I stand in goal during the games, I promise to lead from the front and make the fans from all over the world proud of this bunch, Bhattacharya said.

SC East Bengal take on Jamshedpur FC in their opening match on November 21 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium at Vasco.

On Monday, the club announced a 33-member squad, hoping to improve upon its disappointing performance last year under a new coach.

The Kolkata giants, who had finished ninth last year out of 11 teams, have signed Spanish coach Jose Manuel Diaz for this season.