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INTERVIEW : India Sr, team Defender Arnab Mondol now at tajikistan..

11.08.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE      Share Button

AIFF MEDIA RELEASE : Perhaps Arnab Mondal has all the right in this World to ask the Almighty of what best did He find to conspire against him. Twice bitten as he picked up injuries in the National Camp, Mondal is thrice shy even as he aims for that coveted National Team jersey. In an exclusive interview to www.the-aiff.com, Mondal speaks about his frustrations, getting mentally drained during his rehab and Koevermans' influence on him as a Player. EXCERPTS:

What does this call mean for you?

Earlier I have been part of the Camp but was never able to make it to the Senior squad. That was frustrating. Obviously I have represented India in the U-23 Olympic Qualifiers but representing your Country at the Senior Level stays the ultimate aim.

You are a seasoned pro at the Club level. What's so special about representing India?

It's all about the satisfaction which makes it special. The National jersey stays the motivation which drives every Player. The satisfaction of my contemporaries who have donned it makes me all the more eager to get it. Sometimes, I even feel jealous of them.

There's a feeling among most that you are a bit injury prone. Is it?

The irony stays that I have never sustained any injury during the I-League. It's only when I come for the National Camp, I pick up one. I call it destiny. Football is a body-contact sport and you can never predict as to when one may get injured. It can happen to anyone anytime. And it's frustrating.

How did you cope up with it?

To be honest, I was devastated when I picked up the injury at the Camp in Pune. It was just prior to the AFC Challenge Cup. It happened to me for the second time in succession and it was hard to cope up, at least mentally. I questioned myself and to the Almighty as to why it's always me. But that's life.

The worst part stays when you feel your confidence is sinking. That's the most difficult phase of the rehab. You start doubting yourself and it stays with you till the time you hit the ground. Once you are back, you get back to your normal self.

Besides my family, I'm extremely grateful to my former Coach Trevor Morgan and my Amitabha Ghosh, my Coach during my junior days for helping me regain my confidence.

Our pre-season in East Bengal kicked-off on July 21 and we have already played three practice matches - that has further helped me.

Apart from the injury, how was your experience in the Pune Camp?

I carry the lessons learnt in every step. National Coach Wim Koevermans stressed and stresses on Modern Football. The practice sessions were so interesting, there was so much variety. Koevermans stressed on Team shape, agility, fitness, and various other technical aspects. It served as a lesson not only for me but for all to upgrade themselves in future.

Did Koevermans offer you any specific inputs?

His inputs on positional sense were an education for me. Besides, he worked on how to react in certain situations, decision making, intercepting in one on one situations, etc. You learnt to be independent yet be confident enough in that split second and take the decision. It's all about that.

India Sr. Team practice at Khujand before facing Tajikitstan on 14th

11.08.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE      Share Button

AIFF MEDIA RELEASE : There's always a first time for everyone. With the Tea Session over, the Indian Senior National Team boys walked up to the Hotel Lobby and waited to leave for the first practice session in Khujand ahead of their International Friendly against Tajikistan. The ground was just a five-minute walk, that too within the Hotel Complex itself.

For someone, however, it was supposed to be the first-ever - his first ever practice session with the Indian National Team. Some four hours later with the exhaust having dried down, Dawson Fernandes, all fresh after a shower and geared up for Dinner, smiles.

"There's always a first time," he smiles again. "I will always carry the memory with me," he smiles again. You smile too. "I am the sole Player from Sporting Clube de Goa to be in the Indian squad in Khujand, that too in my first Tour with the National Team. So for you to strike an instant chord wasn 't supposed to be that easy," the 23-year old Dawson continues.

"The irony stayed that the Seniors made me comfortable. Right from the time we assembled in New Delhi, never was I given cold vibes; and even in my first practice session. I felt at Home," he smiles again. And you smile too.

"But I want and need to make the most of the opportunity."

Dawson's journey began some 12 years back when he was 11 years old. He is 23 now. "I started playing in inter-School Tournaments and joined Fransa 's U-16 Team when I was 14. We won the Goa League that year," Dawson recollects.

"I shifted over to Salgaocar at the age of 15 and was drafted into the Senior squad when I was 17," he goes on. You listen. "But I didn 't get to play a match. Even when Salgaocar won the I-League (2010-11), I just watched and trained. Hence, I had to make a choice and Sporting Clube de Goa showed interest," you don 't miss the waving of his hand.

"Till then I was a rookie who had done well at age-group level. But Sporting gave me an opportunity and I am grateful to them. I seized it. That Season, I ended up with 6 goals from 11 matches. The next Season, I grew in confidence despite missing around 10 Matches due to an injury," Dawson pauses.

You have an eye contact and you feel the pain of "missing 10 matches."

"I grew up idolising Climax Lawrence and Ronaldo," he informs. "I mean the Real Ronaldo, the striker from Brasil," he stops you from saying anything more. "Both Climax and Anthony (Pereira) hail from my Village," he informs. You can never ignore the sociological aspects of the sport World over. Idols in your vicinity take you nearer to your dreams.

"The biggest challenge in Goan Football stays the recent trend of teenagers opting to move abroad," Dawson proclaims. You stay all ears. "Most of the parents force their kids to purse studies abroad. In the process, many a good Footballer at the age-group level gives it up," he pronounces.

Is it so?

"It happened to me as well," Dawson opens up. "My parents are settled in UK and stay there with my younger brother. They have been after me since long. And when I spent three years in Salgaocar without playing in a single match, they were after me," Dawson smiles again.

"But Football struck me more than anything else. So I didn't give up. I stay alone in Goa with my aunt," he says it in one breath. Next day morning, post Breakfast at the Core Exercise Session at the Hotel gym, you watch from a distance. At times, Dawson stays the leader of the pack; the next time, he follows others.

Minutes later, Pradip Datta, the Fitness Trainer instructs. "One minute rest and then we move to the next exercise." Even as all, eyes closed, recover, Dawson's ready for the next Exercise - the unmistakable rush of adrenalin. "One minute rest, all of you," Datta stresses. This time Dawson lies down. Forty seconds later, he 's over it again - following instructions. The journey has just begun.