“I’m living the dream of every aspiring Indian footballer,” says goalkeeper Devansh Dabas, who made his Chennaiyin FC debut in the team’s 4-1 Durand Cup victory over TRAU FC.
Devansh feels he is all warmed up for the upcoming ISL season, “I played my first game for Chennaiyin in the recently concluded Durand Cup, and that was sort of a warm-up. The ISL is just around the corner, and I’m hoping to get more playing time than last season. The pre-season training also gave an insight into our new coach’s (Thomas Brdaric) playing style,” he said, in the interaction with Sportstar.
Earlier this year, Chennaiyin roped in Brdaric. Devansh says, “Our coach Brdaric is confident and the team is in good shape. I’m learning quite a few things; his input has impacted my style of play, and I’m looking forward to learning more from him.
“Every coach has a different playing style thus we cannot compare last season’s performances with what we are playing now. We are trying to focus on one game at a time and we hope to stick to our plans,” he says.
The 21-year-old has to fight for his spot in the playing 11 with three other goalkeepers - Debjit Majumder, Samik Mitra, and Lovepreet Singh - and Devansh believes this will improve the quality of his game. “We had a similar scenario last season as well, so this is nothing new to me. The competition allows me to learn a lot more than I do now. This is a great chance for me to learn from Debjit bhai and improve my game.”
“My confidence level took a toll last season as it was hard for me to adapt to a league of this magnitude. But with the constant advice from my captain (Anirudh) Thapa, that has changed my mindset, and I will do my best to cement my place in the playing 11,” added Devansh.
Chennaiyin FC’s defence saw a complete overhaul in the transfer window, signing the likes of Fallou Diagne and Vafa Hakhamaneshi. “Initially we had problems adapting to each other as they are new to India. But after the pre-season training, we have grown close and have a good bonding off the field too. Our communication on the field has improved too and we hope to carry it throughout the season” he says.
Devansh asserts that despite not having enough playtime, he does not feel demotivated. “Fortunately, I have people in the dressing room to talk to, and I also watch motivational videos to keep myself calm. Even if none of this helps, I call my coach, who lives in my hometown, and he helps me sort things out.”
Chennaiyin FC starts its ISL 2022-23 campaign against ATK Mohun Bagan on October 10 at the Salt Lake stadium.