Igor Stimac made me feel important, says E. Anas

The 32-year-old defender thanks the new head coach for reposing faith in his abilities when many of his contemporaries seemed to be forgetting him.

Anas Edathodika has signed up to play for ATK in the 2019-20 ISL season.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

When he was trying to reconcile with the decision of ending his international career as a centre-back, the national team call-up came as a surprise to E. Anas. It prompted Anas to come out of retirement. After all, the decision to call it quits — taken at the conclusion of India’s AFC Asian Cup 2019 campaign — had also come from a feeling of rejection.

Anas now thanks Igor Stimac, the new head coach of the national team, for reposing faith in his abilities when many of his contemporaries seemed to be forgetting him.

“I would like to thank our head coach for asking me to get back to the national team from retirement when no one cared about me. I felt like my mother calling me back after I had decided to leave my home,” Anas said during an interaction.

Read | Anas signs up to play for ATK

“The coach made me feel important as he explained why I was required in the team. I had thought of AFC Asian Cup as the last important tournament and [had] decided to end my international career,” he added.

“I always thought that I was a given a late entry in the national side. Perhaps, there were better players in the team’s defence. But after having finished the Asian Cup assignment (in January, 2019), I thought I would not be lasting till the next big assignment,” Anas, one of India’s best defenders and of the most expensive Indian players in the 2017 Indian Super League, said.

‘Very good coach’

What changes is he observing in the regime of Stimac?

“Stimac is a very good coach especially for the young players, who get to learn a lot about the technical and physical aspects. The coach is very knowledgeable and his training sessions are really worth experiencing,” Anas said.

Stimac had been working hard, according to Anas. “Everyone looks for a good result from the national team but it comes only when we work for it. It doesn’t happen overnight and one need to be patient to see the change taking shape. The coach is putting in the hard work and is working on the players individually to make it happen,” he said.

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