League leaders Mohun Bagan had barely a day to recover after their arduous journey from Shillong to Ludhiana before they trained at the Guru Nanak Stadium on the eve of their 2016/17 I-League round 16 clash against Minerva Punjab FC.
The Green and Maroons were forced to train at noon, instead of their preferred 4:30 PM slot and head coach Sanjoy Sen made it evident in the pre-match press conference that the schedule provided to their team did not please him.
He lashed out on host organisers Minerva Punjab FC and the I-League authorities. " We asked for a 4:30 PM session but got the noon to 1 PM slot for training. There is a big question mark not only on Mohun Bagan but Indian football. Also, the timing of this press conference"
"The organisers should think of the players, who are human beings after all. I have to bring a player with me and they will have no rest and food after training but he has to attend all these formalities. I don't know Indian football is going up or down," a divested Sen sounded.
He added, " The organisers of the I-League need to ask themselves if this is the right time to hold the press conference. Hold it in the morning or in the evening. We finished training, reached the hotel, took a shower and I have to rush here. Otherwise, we will be fined or something else."
Sen was heckled by a Minerva Punjab FC official in the middle of his outburst and asked what time he would suggest that the ground be prepared for the following day if Bagan decided to go ahead with their 4:30 PM practice.
The former United SC coach asked the club to be more accommodating and understanding of the player's fatigue. " You should understand that we were travelling from Shillong and the game finished during the evening. A footballer requires 48 hours to recover after each game. It is not our schedule. When we went to Bengaluru, we asked for 4 PM and we got it. No problem for them. That was also a 7 PM kick-off," he said.
"Thank you for the cooperation. Okay. Thanks," the 56-year-old sarcastically remarked.
He took potshots in every answer he further gave. " Won't rotate heavily. We are also playing the AFC Cup games. That is our headache. We will have to travel to Aizawl next weekend. Maybe they will offer their ground ar 12 noon and we have to train there. No problem," he quipped when talking of possible rotations to his lineup.
Sen concluded by justifying his demand for an evening slot for training, he said, "We got the fixtures long ago, but things like flights getting delayed are not in our hands. But, these things we can control (training timings)."