Rane: ‘Khalid Jamil has been my mentor throughout’

Aizawl’s Jayesh Rane, on loan from ISL side Chennaiyin FC, wants to put his team’s interest over his own as the winger, dubbed the ‘Indian Neymar’, says he wants to do everything in his power to help the club win the I-League.

Ritu Raj Konwar

A file picture of Jayesh Rane.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Jayesh Rane had a forgettable ISL 2016, both at a personal level — as he only managed one goal throughout the season — and at the team level as Chennaiyin FC finished seventh.

Of course, that will seem like a distant memory as the winger has reunited with his mentor Khalid Jamil at Aizawl, which is flying high with 10 points in the league so far. Khalid gave the Mumbai lad his first break at Mumbai FC, where he was training with the junior side. He caught Khalid’s eye, who promoted him to first-team football.

“He has been a mentor to me, the one who gave me my first break. I’m very happy to play under him and he was the reason why I chose Aizawl,” avers Rane.

Despite playing out of position — Rane prefers playing on the flanks — the 23-year-old, who is being used in central midfield, is happy to be a team player. “Yes, at the start there were some issues but I’ve gotten used to it. My goal is to help the team however I can. Our (Aizawl’s) goal is to win the league but we are looking to maintain our good start to the season,” he says.

Rane, who is widely adored by the Chennai faithful, thanks to his exploits in the Indian Super League, concedes it will be tough playing in the opposition camp on Saturday as Aizawl takes on Chennai City. “It will be difficult for me to playing against the people who cheer for me. I can only say may the best team win!”