February 4, 2019

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Irshad back at home to redeem himself

Mohamed Irshad had no second thoughts when Gokulam Kerala FC approached Minerva Punjab for a transfer. Irshad, who captained Gokulam in the 2017-18 season, was going through a tough period after back-to-back injuries and recoveries.

“I could not wait to return home. Gokulam gave me an opportunity to excel but my decision to get a transfer from here to Minerva was a wrong one. I got injured in the pre-season itself and after the layoff, it was not easy to crawl back into the playing eleven. So when the offer came, I had no second thought,” said Irshad.

The player, who is originally a box-to-box midfielder, has proven to be a utility player for Malabarians last season. He was shifted to right-back position when Sushanth Mathew got injured last year, and since he has been impressive in his new role. He went on to lead Malabarians to a successful ending last year.

“Last year was the best season I had so far. We had good understanding between the players. The fans also had a good season. When I went outside, the most I missed were Battalia fans. Several fans used to contact me and ask me to comeback. I understood that, wherever you go your final resort will be home,” said the former Navy man.

In search of better professional playing time, Irshad resigned his job as a serviceman. “I know only one job and that is to play football. I think I can be successful in this field. So I left the job. I don’t think it is a bad decision. We have to follow our passion. That’s all what life is about,” he said.

Malabarians swiftly inducted him into the match day squad on his arrival. He had only five days of training experience with his new team but he broke into the starting eleven against Mohun Bagan. He had a good game against Mohun Bagan and the player, who hails from Tirur in Malappuram, believes this team can achieve better than last year. “Though we dropped points against Mohun Bagan we all fought really well. I think if we can keep the momentum up, then we will finish in a respectable position. I am also happy that I received the same jersey number (6), which I had last year.”

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