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Irshad: Fernando Varela instills confidence in us to win trophies  

Chittagong, October 25: With Marcus Joseph travelling to Trinidad and Tobago for national team duty, Mohammed Irshad received a chance to lead the Malabarians in the first two matches of Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup.

The player, who hails from Tirur in Malappuram, has been a consistent performer in Santiago Varela’s three-man defence system and was selected to captain the Durand Cup champions in the AFC-recognized tournament.

“It has been a major honour for me to lead the club. We were able to perform really well in both the matches. All the players have good understanding, so it was not hard to lead the club in the two matches. But captaincy is always an added responsibility and I believe I was able to live up to the expectations,” said the player.

Irshad believes that the preparation and hard work the players and coaching staff did before the match were the key reasons that helped the team to grab the win in the first match.

“We reached here only a day before our match. But our coaching staff was prepared for the challenges and had already drawn out the plans. We also had a training session on the morning of the match day. The coach explained about the way we have to play against Bashundhara Kings and this helped us a lot in the match,” he said.

“Our coach is a good motivator and he is always committed to the game. He creates a unique environment for us to work and this has reflected in the way we play. With our star man Marcus Joseph returning, we will be able to make a mark in this tournament,” he said.

The defender believes that the support of fans has been crucial. “We have not played at Kozhikode until now but the number of wishes and congratulations we get is immense. After every match the fans are there to message us and support us.

The team members are confident of winning the I League, and we expect the EMS Corporation stadium to be filled with football lovers during our matches,” he added.

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