ISL: "Our biggest strength will be the whole bunch and not individuals" believes SC East Bengal keeper Arindam
The Bridge got in a candid chat with the SC East Bengal keeper who joined the red and golds this season.
Indian Super League 2020-21 Golden Glove winner Arindam Bhattacharya made headlines when he mutually parted ways with ATK Mohun Bagan and later joined arch-rivals SC East Bengal. A lot of speculations roamed in between and this move is arguably one of the best catches for SC East Bengal ahead of the new season. Arindam, a man who rarely speaks yet the most animated character on the pitch got up close and personal with The Bridge as he shared the reason behind leaving Bagan, what lies ahead, and many more.
What made him leave ATK Mohun Bagan?
As all good things must come to an end, Arindam shifted teams to ATK Mohun Bagan's fiercest rivals, SC East Bengal shortly after receiving Golden Glove. It was quite shocking at first. But a man who believes to explore fresher challenges it's the best way to stay at his absolute best. Quizzed about this decision Arindam shared his thoughts. He said, "When I joined ATK, they were not doing very well. But I wanted to win the trophy with them. And I was lucky enough as we did good as a team to have won the trophy. But last year though I won the Golden Glove, we couldn't win the finals." "Truly speaking I don't work so hard for individual awards. We wanted to win the trophy again and make it two in two years, sadly that didn't happen" told Arindam.
He continued, "Thus I was looking for new challenges again because I was looking for new places to repeat the same thing. Probably that's the reason I chose to move out of ATK Mohun Bagan and try and get some other club".
On what lies ahead
Switching teams from star stubbed squad like ATK Mohun Bagan after two stellar seasons to one which is in a fight to make a name of their own in the league is challenging. Arindam feels that his accolades will not put extra pressure on him but his ethics will push him to give his all. As He opined, " I have been in this(football) for long to understand that you have to keep doing your job irrespective of the results. What you're getting, winning or losing, you keep working and keep pushing the same. So it doesn't bother me much." Arindam believes, "expectation comes from doing a good job, so that's what we crave as sportspersons. So I think the expectation is there, but that will help me to grow as a goalkeeper as a sportsman".
SC East Bengal has a new coach, fresh faces in domestic departments, and has recruited some exciting foreign players. But coming into the season, it's going to be difficult to ignore how their previous season ended. Since Arindam would be a natural leader for the team, he emphasis on chemistry playing a key role in the near future. He shared, "I think so far, what I've understood it has to be the team unity and not individuals. And we have good players in every position and they are hungry".
Speaking on the philosophy of the team the shot-stopper opined, "sometimes you have good players, but they don't want to put effort. But it is not the case with SC East Bengal. We are working together as a squad and I think our biggest strength will be the team, the whole bunch and not individuals"
Plans for the derby and the season ahead
With his move to East Bengal, Arindam became one of those players to have represented both the Kolkata giants. Talking about his first Kolkata derby in the Red and Gold jersey and the prospect of going toe-to-toe with his former team, he opined, "Honestly, I have not thought much about the Derby. I am thinking more about the first game to start with three points and a clean sheet". He further went on to say, "Obviously, I know how good Habas is as a coach and how strong their squad is. And if I can bring some experience with the previous team to our coach and to our players, that would be an advantage"
Quizzed about SC East Bengal's plan for the season ahead, Arindam suggested, "A good start is very important because we all know it's a very short league, just 20 games. So, I think that's what we are going to be looking for. And will go game by game. But I believe it has to come from the coach, his plan, and once we know the plan, will have to go by the plan."
Word for budding keepers
As a matter of fact, Arindam is known to spend time with young footballers during pre-season, especially goalkeepers. He is someone budding keepers in Bengal look forward to and aspire to. Asked about his suggestions for the aspiring shot-stopper regarding the craft of keeping Arindam told, "See there's a secret to be a sportsman you have to be honest on the pitch, and this is what my first coach said when I started playing football. It's a secret which I've always kept with me and I stuck by. And the rest is simple, you have to keep working hard. There is no alternative to hard work and working on yourself on the pitch, and that's what I do".
"I would like to further say that try and take a step towards the ball. Sometimes you don't need to actually dive. You can just take a step and collect the ball instead of making it look good at the gallery and just take the ball and which actually doesn't help the team much. So, try and work on it. The reason I'm telling you is that I got to know very late and then I start working on it."
"And one more thing is if you can stay half-second more on your feet, with 50-50 balance. Probably you can save a lot of goals and you can't concede silly goals as your range gets bigger and longer. So just try and work on these two things" Arindam concluded.