East Bengal may be facing a financial crisis in the absence of sponsors but continued their signing spree on Monday, announcing the homecoming of Sehnaj Singh, Bikash Jairu and Cavin Lobo.
The club’s most recent sponsor, Quess Corp, had terminated all the existing contracts in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and announced that players and officials wouldn’t be paid their salaries for the month of May.
In a statement, East Bengal, who are in talks with potential investors for helping them follow traditional rivals Mohun Bagan into the Indian Super League, confirmed the signing of Sehnaj singh from ATK, Jairu from Jamshedpur FC and Lobo from Minerva Punjab FC.
It’s a homecoming after four years for 26-year-old ISL winner Sehnaj who appeared in eight matches in ATK’s triumphant campaign, effecting 17 tackles, five interceptions and 21 clearances.
Sehnaj, who played five internationals after making his his debut in 2015 against Oman in a 2018 World Cup qualifier, had also played a key role in Mohun Bagan’s I-League triumph in 2014-’15.
The defensive midfielder is a product of Chandigarh Football Academy and started his professional career at the All India Football Federation’s developmental side Pailan Arrows in 2011 before moving to Mumbai FC in 2013.
Jairu has seven international caps for India since making his debut in 2015 against Turkmenistan in a World Cup qualifier. He returns to the side after his two-year stint between 2015 and ‘17.
The 32-year-old Lobo was loaned to I-League outfit Punjab FC last season by ISL champions ATK and made 15 appearances for them. Lobo has played eight international matches for India, including seven Fifa World Cup Qualifiers.
East Bengal are rebuilding the team having recently acquired the services of Shankar Roy, Balwant Singh, and Novin Gurung from Mohun Bagan, ATK and Real Kashmir respectively. They also signed Omid Singh, a player of Indian origin the from Persian Gulf Pro League.
The red-and-gold brigade had an up-and-down I-League campaign that saw them parting ways with coach Alejandaro Menendez after losing to bitter rivals Mohun Bagan. They finished second (23 points) with four matches left in the table when the season was called off.