Tuesday , April 23 2024

Dempo’s Mandar Rao Desai: We’re hoping to sign off with the Second Division trophy!

Dempo SC practiceDempo Sports Club, inarguably the most successful club of India, are on the verge of making a comeback in the top flight football of India after a short break of one season. The deadly duo of Mandar Rao Desai and Romeo Fernandes, the agile attackers who hoodwink the opponent defenders with much ease, is the fulcrum of the Goan outfit in their quest for the coveted Hero I-League berth.

After a momentary win against Lonestar Kashmir FC in their penultimate match in the ongoing Second Division League, these two Goan boys spoke with I-League Media on their journey so far, admiration for Leicester City and much more.

What struck you after scoring the goal on your comeback?

MD: Frankly saying, it’s like a curse for a footballer to stay out of action when your team are on serious business. Having come back from the three months ban, we had to prove ourselves and we had no other option but to play against Gangtok Himalayan SC like the last day of the world. By God’s grace, my solitary goal made the difference between the two sides, which gave me sublime glee.

Is there any added pressure on you being the most decorated players in the Second Division League?

RF: When we hit the pitch, we put everything behind us. Dempo SC has been the most successful club in India but right now they are playing in the Second Division League, it’s the brutality of football. Now qualifying for the Hero I-League is our solitary aim, that’s it.

MD: In the Second Division League, it’s time to show our real character. Whatever we have achieved till now, it’s there but we can’t boast of them. We have to prove our mettle and seal the business now.

How do you motivate yourself playing in the Second Division League?

MD: When Dempo SC was relegated last season, we were severely hurt. We couldn’t even believe that our club, who have five I-League trophies in the cabinet, are now relegated to the Second Division League. Now it’s time to hold our nerves and make a comeback to the Hero I-League. We’re taking one match at a time and looking forward to signing off with the trophy on the 29th.

Whom would you rate as the toughest opponent in the Second Division League?

MD: It’s really tough to rate. Everyone are here to snatch the pinnacle spot and any result is possible at the end of the 90 minutes. We’re really fortunate that we are playing our home games on a trot after finishing off the away trips. It has really helped us to concentrate on our home games in the second half of the final round.

How were your days with Atletico Paranaense?

RF: Oh extremely effective and I’m pretty sure that those days will prove to be more worthwhile in future. I’d categorically mention about the infrastructures, facilities over there which are really a class apart and playing on those pitches was something like a dream come true for me.

Which club do you cheer for in world football?

MD: I’m a Madrid fan, I mean Real Madrid obviously (laughs).

RF: We always fight on the nights of El Classico. I’m a Barca fan and he’s Madrid. It bound to happen, you know (laughs).

If it comes to footballers, whom would you pick as your best ones?

RF: Obviously there’s enough room to learn from every player. But mostly I admire Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I have been a great admirer of Thierry Henry too.

MD: Arjen Robben, Ronaldinho, Gareth Bale, Angelo di Maria and Diego Maradona. I try to imitate Robben. Ronaldinho was a class apart. These legends made it looks so easy and they almost made the ball talk on the pitch. Truly unbelievable!

Leicester City have scribbled a great story this season. Are you guys drawing inspiration from them?

MD: Obviously. Tell me one person who’s not mesmerised by him, who’s not boosting himself from them. Every corner of the world, be it from sports or another sphere of life, the Foxes have inspired all of us. They were on the brink of getting relegated last season and they have triumphed over all the heavyweights this season, what an inspiring anecdote it has been.

by I-League Media

About Arunava Chaudhuri

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