New recruit Arindam Bhattacharya excited to play for the Mariners8-Jun, 2012
Arindam Bhattachaya, new recruit of McDowell Mohun Bagan, will be donning the green and maroon jersey in the coming season. A student of Tata Football Academy, he started his football career in Churchill Brothers where he played for 6 years. He was adjudged the best goalkeeper in I-League after many remarkable performances that helped Churchill Brothers S.C. to the 2008-09 I-League title. Later that year he was called up by Bob Houghton to the Indian team. While in TFA, his performances in the Subrata Cup, got Arindam a call up to the India U-19 team for the first time, from the then coach, Stephen Constantine. His idol is Oliver Kahn, seeing whose performance in the World Cup, Arindam decided to become a goalkeeper.
MMB: Welcome to McDowell Mohun Bagan Arindam.
Arindam: Thanks a lot.
MMB: What is your reaction on joining Mohun Bagan?
Arindam: I am very happy to join Mohun Bagan. You know, it was always my dream to play for Mohun Bagan since I was 15 years old.
MMB: This will be your 1st season in Kolkata, do you feel there is lot of pressure in Kolkata, especially from media and supporters?
Arindam: Definitely, there will be a lot of pressure and expectation, as I will be playing for a big club like Mohun Bagan, and in Kolkata people are football-crazy. I am new to this club and also will be playing for the first time in Kolkata, so I will have to work hard and keep performing well. It is also a pleasure to play in front of so many fans in Kolkata.
I am not a media friendly guy, I always run away from them since I have been playing in Churchill Brothers.
MMB: When did you start playing football? Was there any footballer in your family?
Arindam: There was no footballer in my family. My father was a cricketer. I started playing football after watching Oliver Kahn on television during World Cup. After seeing his performance, I decided to become goalkeeper.
I got great support from my family and nobody objected to me becoming a footballer.
You know, another interesting thing that attracted me to become a goalkeeper is the fact that goalkeepers can wear any colourful jersey (laughing).
I used to play football in Surya Sen Club in Khardah. Then I joined SAI senior team in 2006 where I stayed for 2 years before joining Churchill Brothers.
MMB: Any good performance while in SAI?
Arindam: I was adjudged the best goalkeeper in an Inter SAI Tournament held in 2004.
Also, seeing my performance in Subrata Cup, Stephen Constantine called me to Indian U-19 team. That was the first time I got the opportunity to represent Indian team. It was a very proud moment for me.
MMB: So, you said your idol is Oliver Kahn. Did you watch Oliver Kahn's farewell match Kahn against McDowell Mohun Bagan?
Arindam: Of course, how could I miss that match. I saw the match sitting in the gallery. I was so excited that I reached Salt Lake Stadium, much before the start of the match, at 2 p.m.
MMB: Did you get the opportunity to meet your idol personally that day?
Arindam: No. In fact, I did not try to meet him in such rush. I was happy seeing him live in action sitting in the stadium.
MMB: Who is your favourite Indian goalkeeper?
Arindam: Subrata Pal and Sandip Nandy.
MMB: There have been few problems in the goalkeeping position over the last few seasons in Mohun Bagan, are you confident that you will bring stability in that position?
Arindam: All the goalkeepers will have to train hard under goalkeeping coach Hemanta Dora and try their best not to make mistakes during the matches. If we concentrate hard and practice properly, I feel this season goalkeeper position would be a strong point for McDowell Mohun Bagan. Whoever plays, whether it is me, Shilton or any other goalkeeper, will do good for the club.
MMB: Which was your 1st professional club?
Arindam: I have so far played only in 1 club i.e. Churchill Brothers where I have played for 6 years.
MMB: Which has been the best year and the best match in your career?
Arindam: My 2nd year and 3rd year in Churchill Brothers have been good as we won many tournaments and also did good in AFC Cup. I also won a lot of individual trophies, but I feel my best is yet to come.
My best match has been an AFC Cup match against a team from Yemen. It was Churchill Brothers' away match against a tough opponent. We won the match 2-1. It was definitely one of the best matches in my career so far, as I made plenty of good saves that day.
MMB: Any save in your career which gave you satisfaction? Any mistake in goalkeeping which resulted in a goal, which you think you should have done better?
Arindam: It is not possible to remember one particular save, because every save that I make is important to me and my team.
Regarding conceding goals, I think that unless the opponent player scores a stunner, which I have no chance whatsoever to save, I always feel I should have done better to keep the ball from going into the net.
MMB: When did you first get chance to play for India? Your memorable match for India?
Arindam: As I already said, my first match for India was for the U-19 Indian team, where we played in Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
My best peformance for India has been in the SAFF Cup.
MMB: Mohun Bagan will likely have Tolgay and Odafa in the forward line, does this mean that it will be less pressure on goalkeeper and defence?
Arindam: I always say it is such a pleasure to see Odafa playing in front of you. He takes off the pressure from us as we know he is always there to score goals for the team. I have played with Odafa for a number of years in Churchill Brothers, so I know about his ability as a striker. Tolgay is also a very good player. I think together they will do wonders this year.
MMB: It is often said that goalkeeping is a thankless job (even if you make 10 saves in a game, if you concede 1 bad goal, you are criticized) do you agree?
Arindam: I don't agree, many times the goalkeeper also becomes a hero. As goalkeepers, it is our duty to make saves and not allow opponents to score.
MMB: Which team will you be supporting in the upcoming Euro Cup?
Arindam: Spain is my favourite team and I will be supporting them.
MMB: What will be your target this year?
Arindam: Firstly, to settle down nicely in Mohun Bagan. Then to practice hard, get chance in the 1st team and give my best for Mohun Bagan and help them win trophies this year.
MMB: Any message for the fans.
Arindam: Keep supporting Mohun Bagan and always come to ground to cheer the team.
MMB: Best of luck for the season Arindam.
Arindam: Thank you.
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