SportsJuana is your ultimate home for the latest news, in-depth analysis with an abundant variety that leaves you hungry for interesting and path-breaking content.

Mohun Bagan are one of India's greatest football teams. (Image Credit: Twitter)
Football I-League Indian Footballing Action Latest

Mohun Bagan Day: Celebrating a Mariner’s heartwarming journey

Mohun Bagan are one of India's greatest football teams. (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mohun Bagan are one of India’s greatest football teams. (Image Credit: Twitter)

As the clock struck 12 and the night grew dark, New Yorkers wrapped the blankets on tightly signalling the end of the day. However, there was a beautiful surprise in store for them, as the Nasdaq billboard at the iconic Times Square burst alive with the Mohun Bagan logo. The greatest achievements of the club were celebrated through slides, before transforming into the club signature maroon-green colour.

“I could not sleep the whole night, after seeing the pictures on Twitter. Mohun Bagan is like a second mother to me, cradling me in her loving arms and inspiring at every stage,” says Mainak Indu, a Mariner since the last 15 years.

In a world where fans shift loyalties following one poor season, it is certainly heartening to see fans like Mainak who have remained loyal through thick and thin. For the 20-year-old, this is nothing out of the ordinary, as one soon realises after hearing his beautiful tale.

Mohun Bagan

“My relationship with Mohun Bagan can be referred to the same as shared between a Goddess and her devotee. I worship the club, and started doing so when I was just 5 years old, in the year 2005. It was a derby clash between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, resulting in a lot of excitement. A giant screening had been scheduled in the neighbourhood. My father and uncle, who have been Mariners their whole lives, insisted that I watch the game. So began a glorious journey,” says Mainak.

The 20-year-old is a Black Caps fan which means tough times and heartbreaks are part and parcel. However, being a Mariner has been a “spiritually fulfilling” journey for Mainak.

Mohun Bagan

“Mohun Bagan was a very successful club when established. However, the retirement and departure of key players proved to be a major blow. Things seemed to have taken a turn for the better in 2007, when we won the Federation Cup. Mohun Bagan further went on to finish second in the next edition of the I-League, missing out on the title by a whisker,” he states.

“However, the worst was yet to come. A dark shadow cast gloom on the fortunes of the club, rendering us trophy-less for the next eight years from 2008 till ’14,” adds Mainak with a gloomy look on the face.

“In these tough times, we maintained an optimistic approach despite the turmoil, hoping for the best. As the famous saying goes: Stars can’t shine without darkness.”

As the Mariners awaited in anticipation of a glorious comeback, fortune smiled when they least expected.

Mohun Bagan lifted their maiden I-League trophy in the 2014-15 edition of the tournament, as the dark sky was replaced by an enchanting rainbow.

“I am still unable to describe the joy experienced, after we lifted the I-League trophy for the first time. The date: 31st May, 2015 will always remain fresh in my mind. Mohun Bagan ended a painful 13-year wait to emerge victorious, with a new team and fresh coach, battling against the odds. I still get goosebumps, while watching the highlights of the final match of the season against Bengaluru FC,” says Mainak with a beaming smile.

I-League 2014/15 Champions

“This was followed by a triumph in the Federation Cup, before going on to finish second in the I-League that season (2015/16) as well as the 2016-17 edition. We have further been declared the I-League champions for the recent 2019/20 edition of the tournament. The tables have turned for the better, rewarding us handsomely.”

Mainak, like any average Mariner, shares deep-rooted dislike for East Bengal, and is quite vociferous when asked to elaborate on the most memorable derby-day clash.

“The clash between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal on 9th December, 2012 has to be the most memorable. We were trailing 1-0, when a comeback became even tougher following a faulty sending-off just before half-time.”

“The crowd went wild following the injustice, with bottles and stones thrown at the referee. One of those stones even fatally injured one of our key players Rahim Nabi, resulting in the decision to call off the match by the Mohun Bagan team management. The tie finished 3-0 in favour of East Bengal as a result of the decision. This was a big blow as we were placed 5th on the table, at that stage.”

“However, the I-League disciplinary committee further decided to punish us with a massive fine of Rs 10 crore, leaving the fans quite shocked. Our points were reduced to 0, which was certainly a massive challenge with relegation a possibility. The players showed their will-power and fighting spirit in this tense situation, by gaining 20 points in just nine matches ensuring survival against the odds. This bravado and confidence under pressure perfectly defines what Mohun Bagan is all about,” asserts Mainak with gleaming eyes.

The 20-year-old believes being a supporter of Mohun Bagan helps one mature faster and grow as an individual in a unique manner.

“I believe being a Mariner helps one mature way faster in comparison, and learn a lot of vital skills. The club has always ensured the inclusion of players who can be role-models for growing children like Bhaichung Bhutia and Sony Norde. Simply watching the players conduct themselves in a beautiful manner, helps you learn.”

The 20-year-old is respected by his peers for being a loyal supporter of Mohun Bagan. Mainak however has been immensely supportive of emerging clubs like Real Kashmir FC at the same time, indicating his deep-rooted desire to see Indian football proper.

Real Kashmir

This has been recognised by the Kashmir-based club as well as popular brand Adidas, who gifted him a customized exclusively, limited edition jersey.

Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan

Real Kashmir

Mainak describes the I-League triumph in 2014-15 as his proudest moment as a fan. The 20-year-old further terms the defeat against Aizawl FC in the 2016-17 edition, where Mohun Bagan lost 1-0 going on to finish second by a single point, as the most disappointing.

“I attempt to watch every single match wearing the green and maroon jersey, and love discussions during the match. However, one should certainly not expect me to respond during a conceded free-kick or penalty, as I shut my ears and leave the room to avoid jinxing,” he concludes with a laugh.

Written By: Marcelino Da Silva.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *