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I-League 2017-18: Mohun Bagan release Kromah, want Ranti Martins to replace him

AFTER A HUMBLING LOSS TO Minerva Punjab FC, Mohun Bagan officials are taking hasty steps to fix what they perceive as weak links in the squad. And today, they began by releasing Liberian attacking midfielder Ansumana Kromah.

Kromah, who started out at Kiawu FC, spent a long time in India playing local football and unofficial tournaments before he got his big break following an impressive performance for Peerless SC in the Calcutta Football League. Last season, Churchill Brothers brought him in, and he scored 6 goals for them in 13 I-League appearances. This season, he signed for Mohun Bagan. But after 8 appearances and 2 goals, he has been judged to be inessential for the squad.

Kromah was losing the faith of the fans and the management over the last 3 matches when he missed some easy chances. Against Aizawl FC, he failed to find the open net from close range and hit the post. And against Minerva Punjab, he missed a penalty at a time Mohun Bagan were struggling to make a comeback, going 2-0 down early in the game.

Although Kromah's departure is consistent with the pattern of "human sacrifices" Mohun Bagan officials put on whenever the team's performance comes under fire in order to appear to fans and members like they are taking action, Kromah's recent performance makes leaves little opportunity for well-wishers to argue against this move.

With Kromah gone, Bagan have the chance to sign someone who can optimize their chance conversion rate. And word on the street is they are going to sign Ranti Martins. 

Photo: United Sports Club

Martins, a Nigerian striker, achieved a fearsome reputation during his prime when he spent eight years at Dempo Sports Club from 2004 to 2012. During this time he won back to back golden boots and helped Dempo win the top division league 5 times. He was the main weapon during one of the most dominant spells put on by any club in the history of Indian football.

Following his Dempo years he played for United SC, Rangdajied United and East Bengal where he more or less carried on his goal scoring form. He also had a spell with FC Goa in the middle of it in the ISL where he did not score any goal.

In 2016 he joined Penang at Malaysian Super League and scored 4 goals for them in 10 matches. But in January 2017 he made a surprising move to Maryland SGFC Eagles, a team in the semi-professional American Soccer League, which is a fourth tier competition in the USA. 

It's his lack of top level football experience over the last year that makes his return to the Indian top division questionable. But his overall record of scoring 163 goals in 196 league appearances, makes him the most successful striker to ever play in the Indian top division. And the Mohun Bagan officials are betting on Martins reprising his old form to rescue their season.

The deal is still not official, and even if it goes through, bringing him in from the USA will take quite a few days. It's unlikely that the Mariners will have Martins in their squad on 21st January's Kolkata Derby.

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