New-look East Bengal begins Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign against Kerala Blasters FC

The highly anticipated ninth edition of the Indian Super League gets underway with East Bengal taking on Kerala Blasters FC in the season opener at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday.
This will the first Hero ISL match outside Goa in the last two years as the previous editions were played at a single venue inside the bio-bubble. The fact that the fans will get to witness the action up close will serve as a huge boost for ISL’s newest entrants.
The campaign opener will also mark the Hero ISL debut of EBFC Head Coach Stephen Constantine who has had two successful stints as the Head Coach of the National Team and has done a lot of hard work for Indian football. His affinity to the footballing culture in this country will certainly help him in getting the best out of the lot. He will be aided by Assistant Coach Bino George under whose tutelage Kerala won their 7th Santosh Trophy title earlier this year.
Having finished at the bottom of the league in the 2021-22 season, the team would be hoping to make amends this season and have been putting in the hard yards in the lead-up to their outing against the two-time finalists.
EBFC have a string of good performances behind them, having won their last Durand Cup 2022 outing 4-3 against Mumbai City FC and were able to maintain clean sheets in all their four practice matches (3-0 vs George Telegraph SC, 3-0 vs Aryan FC, 2-0 vs India U-20 team, and 3-0 vs Real Kashmir FC) in September.
“I can promise you we haven’t come here to lose tomorrow, and I haven’t come to East Bengal to finish last, so I will do everything in my power to make that (a win) happen.” said Constantine at the pre-match media interaction on Thursday.
Captain Souvik Chakrabarti was visibly excited as well, “The name East Bengal is enough. I chose to be a part of this team because I am from Kolkata and I wanted to represent East Bengal since I was young.”
The team is defensively solid and with multiple attacking options in its arsenal, they have got a perfect mix of experience and youth. The likes of Souvik Chakrabarti, Kamaljit Singh, Pawan Kumar, Naveen Kumar, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Ivan Gonzalez, Cleiton Silva, Alex Lima, Sumeet Passi and VP Suhair are experienced campaigners.
On the other hand, Ankit Mukherjee, Sarthak Golui, Aniket Jadhav, Semboi Haokip, Angousana Wahengbam, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Pritam Singh, Mobashir Rahman and Naorem Mahesh Singh, are no strangers to the rigors of this challenging league.

The upcoming season will mark the Hero ISL debuts of youngsters like Tuhin Das, Nabi Hussain Khan, Lalchungnunga and Himanshu Jangra who willl be eager to prove their mettle in Indian football’s premier competition.


EBFC are yet to record their maiden victory over KBFC and this outing can be an opportunity to change the history. Out of the four matches played between the two, three have ended in a draw while KBFC took home the honors on one occasion.


Goalkeepers: Pawan Kumar (13), Kamaljit Singh (1), Naveen Kumar (32)

Defenders: Sarthak Golui (16), Mohd. Rakip (2), Ivan Gonzalez (4), Charalambos Kyriakou (40), Ankit Mukherjee (19), Lalchungnunga (5), Jerry Lalrinzuala (17), Pritam Kumar Singh (33), Nabi Hussain Khan (34)

Midfielders: Sumeet Passi (6), Aniket Jadhav (7)Amarjit Singh Kiyam (8), Angousana Wahengbam (12), Alex Lima (14), Himanshu Jangra (18), Souvik Chakarabarti (23), Jordan O’ Doherty (24), Mobashir Rahman (15), Mahesh Singh Naorem (29), Tuhin Das (37)

Forwards: Eliandro (9), Cleiton Silva (10), Semboi Haokip (26), VP Suhair (11)