Goalie Debjit eyeing national call-up after Bagan success

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Kolkata, May 31 (IANS) Buoyed by the recent success in the I-League and the Federation Cup, Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Debjit Majumder hopes to soon don the India jersey.

The 28-year-old, starting from last season’s I-League, has been presiding over the Bagan citadel like a guardian angel. They won the I-League in 2015 in which he was named the best goalkeeper.

Mohun Bagan narrowly missed defending their title this time around, finishing runners-up to Bengaluru FC, but there was no dip in Debjit’s form. He then inspired Mohun Bagan to win this month the Federation Cup, their 14th title, after a gap of eight years.

But all his supreme form in goal hasn’t yet earned him a call from the national team’s coach Stephen Constantine. Debjit, however, remains hopeful.

“It is a dream playing for India. I am hopeful of getting a call back some time soon. I’ll just have to keep performing I guess in these leagues and hopefully the call-up will come,” Debjit told IANS in an interview.

A few months back Debjit had been summoned by Indian coach Stephen Constantine for a training camp, but the club management did not allow him to leave.

He was in sterling form in the Federation Cup. Be it curling freekicks, or piledrivers he held on to most or punched them away and once again was instrumental in the Bagan triumphant campaign.

“It has all been down to my hardwork. There’s no exception to this,” he said.

The shotstopper also praised his team-mates who gelled well as a unit.

“It is all because of the excellent team spirit. In football no one singlehandedly can win you games. It requires a team effort and that is what we did. The combinations worked well,” the 28-year-old said.

Little did Bagan know when they were signing Debjit in 2014 that he would become their first choice custodian in such a short space of time, replacing long-time first-timer Shilton Paul. The gloveman, however, does not take his place for granted and wants to keep on performing at his best.

“Whenever you are in a big club you are under pressure. Be it an I-League game or an AFC Cup match or a practice game, if you have to stay in the team you have to deliver. Every day you have to perform,” he said.

“Wherever I go, I try and learn. In Mumbai City FC too I learnt a lot from the foreign coaches. Subrata (Pal) da guided me too.”

For Mohun Bagan, the cherry on the top of their cake would have been a berth in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup quarterfinals. But they crashed out of the tournament with a 1-2 defeat against Singapore outfit Tampines Rovers in the pre-quarters.

The likes of Sony Norde and Katsumi Yusa were brilliant in the last few months for the team. But the duo didn’t feature in the crucial match due to injuries reducing chances. But Debjit said others should have done the job.

“Whoever is playing in Mohun Bagan, they are best in India. They should have also done the job. It was just an off day. But it does make the team a powerhouse with Katsumi and Norde playing in it.”

Asked about coach Sanjoy Sen who has been praised by all and sundry, Debjit said, “He is like a friend. He keeps motivating us. ‘Give your best, I am always there’ he tells us. He has got brilliant game reading and we played according to what he said. Now we have our results.”

Debjit also has not decided on his I-League future but said he is looking forward to making a mark with his Indian Super League (ISL) franchise local team Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) where he has signed this season.

“I do not know about my future in the I-League yet. But in the ISL I have signed for ATK. Looking forward to playing for them,” he concluded.

(Debdoot Das can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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