AIZAWL: Masih Saighani is one of the signings that Champions Aizawl FC has done prior to the I league season to rebuild their shape in order to defend the title that the mountainous club won for the very first time in their history.
Aizawl also played deligantly in their local tournament, Mizoram Premier league and earned finalist spot.
So, for IndaiFooty.com, Moinak Banerjee caught up with the Center back to know more about the glory tale and his views on Indian football.
Moinak: Congratulations Masih to you and your team Aizawl for the brilliant performance that you all showcased to be the finalist in the Mizoram premier league. So can we say that was step ahead for the preparation for the I league?
Masih: Thank u, first we all were disappointed because if you play a final you want to win it also , I think we was the better team but couldn’t score that day , Congrats again to chhienga veng if you play constant like them you deserved to be the champion .
This MPL (Mizoram Premier league) season was very important for players to come in shape and play a lot of matches, the only problem was that there are just two foreign players allowed so it was really not easy to prepare the I league and play same time the MPL. But we develop as a team and individual this time so it was very important for us also to reach the final.
Moinak: How did you see your I league triumph and this championship developing Mizoram football?Is this the true inspiration for the young talents uprising from this region?
Masih: It is my first time here in mizoram and wherever I go I see people who are crazy for sport and especially football, I saw a lot of really talented players, strong player fast and technical brilliant, this area is blessed with a lot of talent. For this region is a league like the MPL is very important but not just the MPL for 3 month to really develop these players need competition and training at least 8 month a year like in Europe and other parts in the world. Like I said before physically the player are strong but they have to work on the tactically basic, this is very important if you want to play one day in a top club, if you go with 20 and top skills to Europe for example and don’t know the basics of tactical football , discipline and organization you will be lost.
These are the things where they still have to improve I think.
Moinak: Impressive. So what are the projects of Aizawl that made you select the club?
Masih: Honestly I didn’t knew anything before of Aizawl Fc , even Indian football I didn’t followed. I just heard sometimes if a big name like Anelka or Berbatov moved to India. But if my agent told me there is a offer of I league champion, Aizawl Fc I researched about the club watched some videos and made my decision very fast . First a club which won the championship in a big country like India must be good. And second aspect was the fans , I really felt the power they have for this club and that their stand east behind the team and club . It’s a footballers goal and dream to play every home match in front of at least 15000 of their own supporters.
Moinak: You made a very interesting point there. The fans became the 12th man throughout the fairy tale that Aizawl invested. By the way, fans will cheer a lot about the start you made in the I league drawing 2-2 with Kolkata giants East Bengal in a tough opener to defend the title in the new season. Isn’t it?
Masih: Oh yes the fans are really important, they can make in a 50/50 match the different between loose or win. I think they will be our strength and advantage in home matches. And yes the support we got from our fans in Kolkata in the stadium was fantastic, also before the match and after I received a lot of mails and best wishes because of this game, thanks again to all Aizawl FC supporters.
Moinak: So a vital point against one of major title contenders in the opening game. Do you see this as an extra bit of motivation? And is there any different working mentality to begin this season when he have to defend your trophy?
Masih: Of course it was a very important point especially the way we got this point showed the character of Aizawl FC , if you are 2:0 back against a Indian football power house in their own stadium you must have character and team spirit to make a comeback like this. It’s not a motivation it showed that we are still strong even if a lot of key players from last season left us.
But I think teams like East bengal and Mohun bagan have much more pressure than we have . We train hard and give our best to defend the title, if we can it is great but the other two teams must win the title and there is the main difference.
Moinak: I admit. So Masih now that MPL is over. What you all are making up for the I league now? Is it the hunt for the title or a top four place acquisition?
Masih: I can’t say so much about what will happen in the next four month. I just can say we are defending champions and we will behave and play like this of course we will give in every single training and match our level best. If it is enough at the end to defend the title or make a top four place we will see then, but as a footballer you go outside the pitch and try to win every match.
Moinak: I see. After a week gap, I league actions returns for Aizawl. Churchill Brothers is your next fixture on 13th. They are heading into this clash with no points on the board from the start and recently they had been hammered by Mohun Bagan. Will they will be easier to battle against following their performance to start the team’s preceding?
Masih: No I don’t think any game will be easy they just had two games and after two games you can say nothing about a team, we will play our style against every team and if we don’t play 100% focus and concentrate and think we can beat them easily because they lost two games we will have no chances against them or any other team.
Moinak: Thank you Masih! Its been a pleasure to speak with you. For the conclusion what do you want to tell about the development of Indian football?
Masih: What I saw here in Aizawl, so much talent makes me really happy, I think India football will have a great future if they continue develop like this. I am proud and happy to play in a country with so many nice , kind and polite people which share the love for football with me. At the beginning it was a bit difficult to adjust but now I feel comfortable here and just love it.