KOZHIKODE, DEC. 5: It will not be an easy outing for Gokulam Kerala FC right-back Abhishek Das when he plays against East Bengal FC in the Hero I-League match at VYBK Stadium on December 8.
The player will be facing his former club that gave him platform and identity in the Indian football.
Abhishek says that this is one of the matches he has looked upon in the season and stresses that the pressure will be on the home team to pull out a favourable result.
“It is my home club. But I make sure Gokulam win the match. Kolkata is my home town and a lot of my family members and friends will come to support Gokulam. We have to win next match,” says the right-back, who has started all the matches since the season started.
He has also created three goal-scoring chances so far and apart from several crucial interventions defensively, he saved Gokulam from conceding with a goal-line save.
“East Bengal gave me good platform. I have played several matches for them. What I am is because of them. The fans really liked me. But I don’t think when I play against them there will be any fondness. Their fans don’t remember faces, their affinity is always to their club,” explains Abhishek.
Abhishek believes that there are no small and big teams in the Hero I-League this season. “Everyone is playing in same level. A few seasons before, it was hard to defeat Kolkata clubs. But now the scenario has changed. All the clubs are on same level and everyone is playing outstandingly. There are no clear favourites. So we don’t have to be fearful against East Bengal.”
For the Kolkata-born player, playing in his home city always bring in good memories. “The football fans there are really passionate. Only in Kerala and Kolkata I have seen such fans. When I got injured in my debut match, which was against Mohun Bagan, the club and the fans stood with me to support and recuperate. So I am always thankful for them.
“The fans in Malabar are really amazing. Even if we are losing, they are there to support us. In two matches at home, we were able to comeback after conceding early goals and this was only because of their unconditional support. Battalia fans are really inspirational and the noise they make in the stadium really helps us to play better,” says Abhishek.
The player believes that he still has to improve a lot and is not satisfied with his performances. “My aim is to start all the matches. But I need to improve my ball delivery to box and also defensively, I will be satisfied only when we have clean sheets,” he said.
Gokulam Kerala FC takes on East Bengal at VYBK stadium on December 8. The match will be telecast on Star Sports 3 and streamed online on Hotstar.