Talented young midfielder Sheikh Sahil, who played a key role in Mohun Bagan’s I-League triumph last season, is now itching to make it count for ATK Mohun Bagan in the upcoming Indian Super League season.
The 20-year-old is the only player from the last year’s I-League title-winning Mohun Bagan side to be named by Antonio Habas in his 27-member ATKMB squad.
“I have been playing in my favorite green-maroon jersey ever since I came to play in Mohun Bagan U-14 team,” Sahil said. “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to wear this jersey again due to Habas Sir.”
Sahil’s father lost his job due to the coronavirus lockdown and the family is solely dependent on him now. So he's desperate to prove his worth this time around.
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“It’s a challenge to get into the XI with so many talented footballers in our squad,” Sahil, who has to fight with experienced players like Jayesh Rane, Pronay Halder and Glenn Martins to make the XI as a central midfielder, added.
“Coach sir tells me to take it as a challenge. I am trying to do as best as I can,” the 20-year-old, who passed High School this year, claimed.
Kibu Vicuna, the I-League-winning Spanish coach of Mohun Bagan last edition, had picked Sahil from an Under-19 tournament and there was no looking back for him since then.
Amid several star footballers in the side, he took his place in the playing XI, from the Kolkata Derby to the championship-deciding match, and became a cog in Mohun Bagan’s midfield last season.
Habas is known to utilise junior footballers well by giving them regular chances. Sumit Rathi is a great example for that, and it remains to be seen what Sahil has in store at ATK Mohun Bagan.
“Habas sir is giving me various suggestions every day. He is pointing out my mistakes. He appreciates giving a good pass or when I'm taking possession."