Eze Kingsley joined Mohun Bagan in the summer of 2017-18 after guiding Aizawl to a historic I-League title. From Aizawl to the chock-a-block concrete ramps of the Mohun Bagan ground, he found himself in an environment that he has never been before. Here even a draw is mourned as a defeat, and one mistake is enough for the fans to turn you into a villain.
In spite of this, he did not take much time to settle in his new surroundings and started delivering impressive performances at the back partnering either Kingshuk Debnath or Rana Gharami. In his first I-League season with Bagan, he went on to play all the matches barring the one against NEROCA, owing to an injury.
"You need to get out of your comfort zone. There were two offers. Both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan wanted to sign me. But I thought of taking a new challenge and when I got here, everything was completely different. The pressure did not get much to me as I do not follow anything closely. All I can say is that I enjoyed every bit o it. The pressure, the fans everything. And I don't mind having it again," reminisced Kingsley to Goal about his first season in Bagan colours.
The defender also scored in a Kolkata derby which the Mariners won 1-0 and he feels that to give ones best, one must feed on the energy from the fans.
"It is about soaking pressure (in a derby). When I am playing I give my all. Scoring that day for the fans and giving them back the love they shower on us is the best feeling ever. The crowd just erupted after the goal. Three points and a clean sheet, what more can you ask for from a derby?
"They (fans) are the best thing about playing in Kolkata. In Aizawl we had fans but nothing like Kolkata. Kolkata is massive. Therefore, every player wants to play in this city."
In 2018, Kingsley went on to win the Calcutta Football League (CFL) with Mohun Bagan. But in I-League, the Green and Maroon brigade could not find their rhythm throughout the campaign and they ended up fifth on the table with 29 points from 18 matches.
Kingsley then went on to make a sensational claim that Bagan failed to win the I-League that season because of politics within the club and blames the management for it.
"We didn't do well in that season, not because of the players. The club was more interested in the election and they forgot about the team. Therefore, we got a poor result. They were signing players to get votes. Therefore, the result (on the pitch) was inevitable.
"The coach had a discussion with the players and the management and he told them what he wanted. Bu the discussion we had with the coach did not materialise. Ultimately, the team was not balanced. The election changed everything. But it is football. It gets forgotten. It is just another phase of my life. There are no bad feelings," explained the Nigerian.
The 28-year-old is back in Kolkata to wear the colours of Mohammedan Sporting and his primary target is to fire the club to I-League once again.
"We need to win the second division. The team deserves to be in I-league. They (club management) are bringing in good players and we have to do well. We are ambitious about the project. We are yet to start practising but we will give our all in this one month before the tournament starts," said a determined Kingsley.
After all, the I-League will be hosted in Kolkata, the city where he enjoys playing the sport the most.