Subhasish Bose: Living out his dream

Subhasish Bose: Living out his dream


Having moved away from Bengaluru FC, Subhasish Bose has shown tangible improvement in his game at Mumbai City FC. DH Photo/pushkar v

Subhasish Bose jumped high, willing his body to give that final push after over 93 minutes of intense football, to meet Paulo Machado’s cross. He had connected earlier with not too dissimilar a cross to put Mumbai City FC ahead at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Here he was again, rising to land the killer blow which would take a deflection off Rowllin Borges’ legs and into the goal. A fortunate winner, some might argue, but Lady Luck smiles on the brave.

MCFC had come into the Fortress to face defending champions Bengaluru FC on the back of a wretched run of four draws and two losses in seven games. Against the team that had gone 637 days without a loss at home, coach Jorge Costa asked for personality and leadership from his team. And they responded, perhaps none more so than Bose. 

A goal and an assist only touch the surface of that performance. He defended his flank diligently, rose to the occasion, barking instructions at his defence, organising the backline during set-pieces and even getting the first block in the dying moments of the game that stopped a long freekick from Bengaluru FC, who by then were throwing the kitchen sink, causing major damage.

All this at a place he once called home.

“Coming back to Bengaluru and scoring... it was my first ISL goal. When I scored, it went quiet. Before I was part of the home team, I’m used to playing here in this atmosphere and now I’m part of the other...”

Bose’s thoughts trail away as he states that he didn’t celebrate.

“(Albert) Roca and Carles (Cuadrat), I learned a lot under them. I was happy here (at BFC) but there is a moment in life when you have to take challenges. I was comfortable here and I wanted to get out of the comfort zone. I always wanted to play in Mumbai because I was in the academy in Pune and I liked the teams here. I always thought if (make it), I will play in Mumbai,” he says.

His connect with Maharashtra runs deep. He was 13 when a chance meeting with a former Pune FC player led to a trial at the club. Too young at the time, the club more specifically coach Ranjan Choudhary - gave him practice schedule to follow back home in Kolkata and asked him to come back in a couple of years. That promise was kept from both ends as he won the U-20 I-League with the Pune side in 2013, playing as a left-winger.

That was the start. He would go on to play in Goa, feature in the Kolkata derby as a 20-year-old in his first match for Mohun Bagan, play his part in BFC’s AFC Cup and Indian Super League runner-up campaigns under Roca, lead the national team in the SAFF Cup and start all three games at the Asian Cup earlier this year. All by the time he was 24.

“It’s a different culture, every place has a different atmosphere. I was not scared... yes there is excitement but you can’t say that is fear. We have to adjust as players. Then you get that freedom, mentally, and you play,” he says.

Amidst it, he chose to return to the city where he fulfilled his father’s dream and made his debut for the national team.

“First time I came out for the national team against Chinese Taipei, it happened in Mumbai. It was a different feeling, I can’t explain. Everyone is shouting for you and you are doing something for the country...” Bose trails off.

There has been tangible growth in him as a player throughout, his positioning and tactical acumen has markedly improved during his two-year stay in Mumbai. But through it all, the league title has been conspicuous in its absence. Twice Bose was part of the team that finished second - with Bagan in the I-League and with BFC in the ISL. He also reached the ISL semifinal with MCFC last season. Winning a title here, would mean a lot. 

“The AFC Cup final... maybe you can say we were unlucky but they (Air Force Club from Iraq) were a very good team and we fought very well. I didn’t play the ISL final because of suspension so I was watching that final.

“I cried (after the loss) because it felt like someone had taken it away from your hands. After that, there is more motivation to win the title. That’s very important for me,” he says.

Now, with two back-to-back away wins, Mumbai are right back in contention. They were always tactically and technically proficient. Now, they seem to have found the right mentality and the right characters as well. Perhaps, that’s the missing piece to complete the puzzle.

“Being a leader is something you don’t teach. You are born like this or not. In my team, fortunately, I have some players that are leaders,” Costa had said ahead of the BFC clash.

“Leaders are those who go to the ground, play to their level and lead others. We are learning and becoming confident. Life will always give you lessons, sometimes big, other times small. We learn from the senior players and they also learn from the younger players. Last year we were in the top four. It’s easy to get to somewhere, like how I reached (here) by playing consistently but to maintain the level and improve, that is hard and that’s important,” he signs off.

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