Jobby Justin's dreams are taking shape

The call-up to the national camp by new Indian coach Igor Stimac is the first step towards Jobby Justin realising his dream of donning the national colours.

Jobby Justin says the switch from I-League club East Bengal to Indian Super League club ATK a "logical step" in his progress.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Some birds aren't meant to be caged....wanna fly high, reads the status message on Jobby Justin's WhatsApp number.

The mercurial striker has followed his heart and chased the dream which he first saw as a teenager when he started kicking the ball on the sun drenched beaches in Vettucadu near Thiruvananthapuram.

Slowly Justin's dreams are taking shape. The call up to the national camp by new Indian coach Igor Stimac is the first step towards realising his dream of donning the national colours. "It didn't come as a surprise I was expecting it after a good season in the I league. It is dream for any footballer to play for the nation. Now I have been selected for the camp. Hopefully I can impress the coach and get into the playing eleven,’’ he said.

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Jobby left a well-paying job, with Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to play professional football in Kolkata with East Bengal. It was during the Kerala Premier league that Alvito De Cunha, the former international and a talent scout for East Bengal ,spotted him and offered him an opportunity to play for the club.

"I was confident of my ability and always wanted to play in the I league, ISL and for the country. When the offer came I sought advise from I. M. Vijayan who asked me to discuss it with my family and take a right decision. There was initial resistance from my family especially my parents. Still I decided to explore the chance and applied for two months leave from KSEB. But when I reached Kolkata I found the professional set up there an eye opener. Everything from the practice pitches, the diet, training, the crowd was so different from what I was accustomed to. I instantly liked the atmosphere and decided to stay on," he said.

Jobby didn't get many opportunities in his first season for Red and Gold brigade. But he created an impression in the limited chances he got. The breakthrough came in the next season as his natural goal scoring ability saw him finish the I league as the top Indian goalscorer with nine goals.

It was a perfect season for Jobby until the skimirsh Aizwal's Kareem Naurin with saw him banned for six matches. "The spat happened in the heat of the moment. But it was a mistake and I have moved on," he said.

Jobby was pinched by ATK which saw his Facebook page being bombarded with hate messages from East Bengal fans. "I kind of expected this backlash as fans in Kolkata are very emotional. I thank them for their support but to me the change was the next logical step for my progress," he said.

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