Brandon Fernandes: ‘I knew my time was going to come’

Elated at having been selected for the training camp ahead of the King’s Cup, midfielder Brandon Fernandes aims to get into the Indian team.

Brandon Fernandes and others went through their first training session under Igor Stimac.   -  AIFF Media

Brandon Fernandes is happy to be selected among the probables for the Indian team that began training under the guidance of Igor Stimac, the new head coach, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday.

The attacking midfielder, who represents FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL), revealed he kept working hard and waiting for his chance. Speaking to the media here, he said, “I kept working hard, and kept playing. I knew I was going to get a chance.”

Fernandes admitted the constant speculation by others regarding his candidature had been unsettling at times.

“When people speak about this, you get a bit hurt because work really hard and you perform well and you think you could have been in the team. But these things happen. Sometimes you are in the negative side, and sometimes on the positive side. So, I kept my calm. What I had in control, I tried to do that and tried to do my best,” he said.

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Igor Stimac speaks to his players during the training camp at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.   -  AIFF Media

 

Commenting on his aims this season, Fernandes said, “I’ll be taking it day by day. I can’t think about [the future] too much. First, we have King’s Cup, and I have to get into the team. So, that’s what I’m focussing on. Get into the team, get into the XI, and then take it from there. I just want to play. Till my career ends, I just want to play.”

Fernandes felt Stimac had the potential to do “great things for the country.”

“He is a well-experienced coach, I must say. The experience speaks for itself. When he interacted with us, he looked very positive; I think he can do great things for this country,” he said.

Recalling Stimac’s initial interaction with the players, he said, “[He just spoke to us about] general things: our plans, our goals. He wants to improve us. Also, how he wants us to play.”

Rahul Bheke, the defender, revealed Stimac first greeted the players with a namaste. According to Bheke, “He said, ‘You have to think big if you have to do well in Asia’ and ‘you guys must have big dreams’.”

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Igor Stimac has given Rahul Bheke his maiden national team call up.   -  AIFF Media

 

“As a team, he wants attacking football, and he really wants players to play as a team, as a unit,” he added.

Stating his personal aims for the season, Bheke said, “Right now, my only target is to keep doing well, keep doing what [the] coach needs, what his pattern is, what his style of playing is. I’ll work on that and try to get into the team.”

The King’s Cup begins on June 5, 2019.

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