Kolkata: The stage is set for the 2004 Asian Football Confederation Cup, and 2003 Asean Cup Championship winners East Bengal find themselves in Group E. The Indian club team will kick off their campaign with an away match against Singapore's Geylang United on Tuesday. Coach Subhash Bhowmik is trying hard to revive that old magic and do an encore with the East Bengal team in the upcoming AFC CUP where the team kicks off their campaign next Tuesday. Bhowmik, who has a ban imposed on him by the Indian Football Association, looks quite relaxed during practice and even hauls up players who is not meeting the strict fitness regime imposed by him. "If all goes well, we should at least reach semi-finals. We can even make it to the finals, because the team is good, and they have confidence. Only thing is that everything should fall into their place," said Bhowmick. While the mood in the team is upbeat and there is a new found confidence about playing on foreign soil, East Bengal is dogged by niggling injuries to key players like Brazilian midfielder Douglas Da Silva and defender Suleh Musah from Ghana. "The win at the Asean Cup meant the expectations had gone up. Fans expected East Bengal to win all their matches and that's something which is not possible," said captain Baichung Bhutia. East Bengal could not live up to the expectation that they had raised after they won the Asean Cup. Their performance has been on the downslide for the past few months. In the upcoming AFC Cup, the team will get yet another chance to prove their mettle and prove their critics wrong.
Topics : Football