congratulations for being named the AIFF Player of the Year. You’ve joined the ranks of Vijayan, Bhutia and Chhetri with this award. How does it feel? Many also say that you’ve received the award too late. Do you agree?
Well, naturally I’m feeling great. Always feels good to get such an award and be recognized for your efforts. As for the timing of the award, I don’t really look at it that way. I’ve got it now, and that’s that! There’s no point thinking about the past and whether I deserved it earlier anyway, so I just look forward!
How have you reacted to the AIFF’s decision to ban Mohun Bagan from the I-League?
You tell me, are you happy with the decision? Is it correct for Indian football that a club like Mohun Bagan will not play in the country’s top football competition? What will happen to the players and their families if Mohun Bagan does not play any more in the I-league?
So what should have been the decision, according to you?
Well, I am not a law maker or one of the AIFF officials. However, I think AIFF could have given us a temporary suspension and a fine, which would have been enough. But then again, maybe I do not know that much about the rules.
While I respect rules and the guidelines in place, we must consider social reasons as well. Mohun Bagan has a big impact in Bengali society, and one must take note of that as well before such a big decision.
You wrote an open letter to the AIFF regarding their decision. Was it motivated by anyone or anything?
Not at all. I wrote the letter because I am loyal to my club. Why should anyone tell me what to write or not?
It was reported that you had even thought of hanging up your boots after the derby incident. Is it true? If yes, why?
Well it’s not that, exactly. The nature of the incident was such that people at home were heavily affected by it and it seemed as if they wouldn’t like it if I played again. But now that things have calmed down a bit it’s all okay. I’m not thinking of any such thing at the moment.
After the derby, have you considered moving and playing outside Kolkata?
I have one year left with Mohun Bagan, and after that I do plan to play outside. It can be in India or even abroad. I have even signed with an agent who is looking for offers abroad. If God is willing you might see me playing for a foreign team in the near future. I played three years for Mohammedan, four years for East Bengal and now two years for Bagan. I think now is the best time to move outside.