Indian Super League (ISL) Cup Winners Mohun Bagan Super Giant will get the Durand Cup 2023 underway when they host Bangladesh Army at the Vivekanand Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Thursday. 

The Mariners who have strengthened their squad after making key foreign and Indian additions will look to make a clean sweep of trophies given the depth in their squad. 

The Kolkata giants are expected to field a lot of youngsters from the team that is participating in the Calcutta Football League along with few senior players. 

The junior team of Mohun Bagan Super Giant along with some selected senior players have been undergoing closed-door practice for the last two to three days in preparation for the Durand Cup. The coaching team is monitoring the fitness level of the senior team. Taking all these factors into account, the management will select the lineup against Bangladesh Army FT. 

Bastab Roy will be in charge of the team for the first game.

“Most of the senior team players, who have undergone an extended period of training, are available for the game,” Roy said after the game.  

“The junior team is actively participating in the Calcutta Football League (CFL). Thus, we intend to field a blended lineup, combining the senior and junior players. Similar to the CFL, the Durand Cup also provides a platform to showcase the skills, and the players are well aware of it,” he added. 

The Mariners are placed in Group A alongside arch-rivals East Bengal, Bangladesh Army and ISL’s new entrant Punjab FC. Roy believes his team have their task cut out as they find themselves in the toughest group in the competition. 

“You can refer to our group as the 'Group of Death'. This is the toughest group in the Durand Cup. However, whenever you don the Green and Maroon jersey in any competition, your aim remains winning and clinching the Championship. We will step onto the field keeping this in mind,” he said. 

Bangladesh Army are a formidable outfit having recently won the Independence Cup. They also won the National Football Championship in Bangladesh twice recently (2021-22 and 2020). They will test Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s fitness levels as they look to get into shape ahead of the ISL season. 

Roy warned his players to not take the Bangladesh side lightly. He opined, “Bangladesh Army FT are strong enough. They're coming on the back of the Independence Cup triumph. I've heard of several good players in their team.”

“But our junior team is also unbeaten in the CFL so far. Some (senior) players will be added to that CFL squad. So it will be an evenly-matched game and we're ready to give our best on our home ground,” Roy concluded. 

The match will kick off at 5:45 PM IST and will be shown LIVE on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD channels and will be streamed LIVE on Sony LIV.