An electronic media sports journalist, on Thursday, had to bear the brunt of irate Mohamaddan Sporting players who have not been paid by the club for months, as their Nigerian recruit and club captain Mike Okoro assaulted the 40-year-old scribe who is now being treated at a hospital with multiple injuries.
An FIR has been lodged against Okoro at the Lake Police Station and the police is now on the lookout for the footballer who is at large.
With this, the club will be without their Nigerian duo of Okoro and Adebayo Adewusi for their Federation Cup opener against Mahindra United on Friday.
Provoked by a specific query, Okoro got agitated and punched at Tamal Mukherjee's chest as the 40-year-old reporter fell unconscious at the ground, his cameraman Tapas Banerjee told PTI.
Mukherjee works at the Khela-Ar-Khela, a production house of Bengali channel CCTVN.
Mukherjee's wife Mithu has lodged an FIR against the temperamental Okoro at the Lake Police Station and the police is currently on a search for the club captain.
The incident had led to uncertainty over Mohammadan Sporting's opening encounter but the club officials held an emergency meeting with the players to sort out the issue.
"There were protests but we managed to bring about a negotiation. And the players have agreed to play tomorrow's match," Mohammadan Sporting secretary Sultan Ahmed said, adding that the players' dues will be cleared this month.
It all happened during the match-eve practice of Mohammadan Sporting players at the Ravindra Sarovar ground this evening.
Recollecting the incident the cameraman of the production house, Banerjee said, "It was around 5.30pm, when Tamal asked Mohammadan Sporting's Anit Ghosh whether the players, agitated for not being paid by the club, will protest and opt out of Friday's match.
Anit got angry with this and provoked the club captain, Okoro, who rushed to Tamal landed a few punches before we could overpower the Nigerian.
"Tamal fell unconscious and we rushed him to the nearby Shishu Mangal hospital where he is being treated now. The incident left his wife and everybody in a state of shock. An FIR has been lodged and the police has already seized Okoro's car, while the player is at large," Banerjee added.
Known for his angry demeanour, Okoro, it may be noted, had apparently pressurised the club officials to hand over the captaincy which eventually forced the Mohammadan officials to make him the skipper captain replacing Naseem Akhtar.
Okoro is with Mohammadan Sporting from last season and the Nigerian had a stint with East Bengal previously.
The city club, placed second last in the I-League standings, is languishing in the relegation zone with nine points from 10 matches.