And even if they did, the Calcutta Customs side was determined not to let them win, let alone win by seven goals the margin of victory needed for East Bengal to win the title.
Peerless, who began playing in the CFL since , has never seen any other team apart from East Bengal or Mohun Bagan win the competition.
Even before their entry into the league, the case was no different.
In the past sixty years, the trophy has exchanged hands within only three clubs: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting, the big boys of Indian and Kolkata football.
In fact, Mohammedan Sporting won their last title back in So how did Peerless, a complete underdog in comparison, break the triopoly?
The key to success, according to Das, lies in using local talent to build the team, something that the Mohun Bagan team of its pre-independence heydays were famous for. They are not bad players or bad coaches.
They have been playing on these surfaces since their childhood and prefer this to an extent.
More hungry for success It is not the first time that foreign players have been part of the league. The big sides have had some great overseas players who have tasted success in the competition.
Even Peerless had big foreign names in their ranks. He too struggled with the playing surface then. It may be hard for an outsider to accept the surface in a time when pitch quality in India has considerably improved, but muddy fields during rainy season form the fabric of the CFL.
Wolfe, despite his proven pedigree, was not used as often by the coach. The Liberian has been in Kolkata for a bit longer time and was also part of Peerless back in before stints with both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. The local players understand what CFL means to the city.
It is almost like the Premier League with it being such an old league. Peerless started the league with a draw and a loss, but a surprise victory over Mohun Bagan triggered a six-game unbeaten run during which they also turned over East Bengal.
A defeat to Mohammedan Sporting cast doubts over their ability to claim the historic title, but as all champion teams do, they bounced back with wins in their final two matches, keeping clean sheets in both. Our players thus were more determined than ever in the last few games. I had full faith that we would complete the job.
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