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ISL: "My target is to play for the National Team and I believe I'm slowly progressing," says East Bengal's Hira Mondal

In an exclusive meeting with the Bridge, the East Bengal left-back revealed his idol, new challenges, aims, and many more.

ISL: My target is to play for the National Team and I believe Im slowly progressing, says East Bengals Hira Mondal

ISL: "My target is to play for the National Team and I believe I'm slowly progressing," says East Bengal's Hira Mondal


Archan Mukherjee

Published: 6 Dec 2021 2:40 PM GMT

SC East Bengal roped in Hira Mondal from their rivals Mohammedan Sporting on a one-year deal ahead of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season. After spending two successful seasons with the Black Panthers, the 25-year-old made a return to his boyhood club to play in the Indian top tiers.
The left-back had a great game against Chennaiyin FC and was named the Hero of the Match after helping his team clinch the first clean sheet of the season. And after his outstanding performance in the last game, he has become a talking point among the Torchbearers. The Bridge sat down in an exclusive interview with the Bengal lad as he revealed his idol, spoke about his challenges, aims and many more.
Reaction of her mother after the performance against Chennaiyin

Hira Mondal marked his presence in the Indian Super League with a brilliant game when they held Chennaiyin FC to a 0-0 draw. He was rewarded with the Hero of the Match award for his standout show and dedicated his performance to his mother.
Hira said of his mother, "She looked very happy when I first called her. I do everything to keep her jolly and now Maa being happy means everything to me."

On playing again for his boyhood club

Hira Mondal came through East Bengal's academy team-by-team and is now a crucial senior squad member. In between, he plied his trade in several CFL teams and have also spent a successful two-year stint at Mohammedan Sporting. He became an important member of the Black Panthers and was also a part of the I-League Team of the Season last year.
However, Hira's mind was set on playing for his childhood club East Bengal again and after a long wait, SC East Bengal roped him from MDS on a one-year deal.

On this note, he said, "It is always a great feeling to be back here again. I spent three years at the East Bengal academy and also played U-19 I-league for them. I didn't get many chances after that, but finally, I can play at my boyhood club again. So, I'm very happy about that."

Hira Mondal during his East Bengal academy days; (Image via Twitter)

On how seniors and other Bengali players have helped me to settle in

Hira made his debut in the Indian Super League this season. When asked about the influence of the senior Bengali players, he replied: "Yeah. They have been here for a long time, and they helped me a lot. The seniors especially Ari [Arindam] Da and Rafique Da know how things are done here. They guide me and protect me like a shield."

"Sourav is slightly younger than me; he came to me before the CFC game and said that this is the platform where we can showcase ourselves. I and Ankit are from the same batch. He too helps to rectify my mistakes. Overall, they all have been there whenever I required them," he added.

Hira Mondal in action against Chennaiyin FC; (Image via ISL)

About his experience in the ISL so far

Hira played a couple of seasons in the I-League but this is his first taste of top-flight football. He highlights his journey in the tournament so far and points out how the playing style of ISL is different from I-League.

"The experience so far has been good and it is a great feeling to play in the top division. I played in the I-league before where players allow you to move forward with the ball and display your individual brilliance. But in ISL there is no room for that. The matches here are very physical and move at a rapid speed. There is pressure but I think I'll get accustomed to it after two-three games," explained Hira.

Idol growing up and current favorite player

Every footballer has one, or two, or even more people who they look up to while growing up and they call them as their role model. "For me, it is Narayan [Das] Da and Marcelo. When I was young I admire them and try to follow their game. Even today I look up to them as my idols in football," remarks the defender.

Expectations from the season

Hira Mondal may only play only three games so far, but the left-back has already proved himself as a key member of Manolo Diaz's squad in his first season in the ISL.

"This season is very important for both East Bengal and me. My next target is to play for the National Team and I believe I'm slowly progressing to achieve that feat. To accomplish my boyhood dream I've to work hard in the training, I've to be more focused and do everything that is needed. And if required, I'll give my 200% but I'll achieve my target,"
opined Hira.

Playing under new manager

SC East Bengal appointed Jose Manolo Diaz after parting ways with Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler. The Red and Gold Brigade hopes that the Spanish coach can bring back their lost glory and can take the club to a commendable position.

Speaking about the new coach Hira said, "Last year when I was at Mohammedan I played under a Spanish coach so I had an idea about their philosophy and playing style. It helped me to quickly adjust with them. Our manager is no doubt very good, he keeps pushing us every day and tries to bring the best out of everyone."

On the next opponent

East Bengal will take FC Goa in their fifth match of the campaign and will be looking to get their first win of the season. The match seems to be very important for both sides and neither of them can afford to lose it.

"We've to win this game anyhow. Every one of us needs to give our 100%. We have to get all three points from this season as we have already been left behind in the playoff race. We've monitored Goa very closely, they are also struggling. We need to play to our strengths and on their weaknesses," said Hira.

A word for the supporters

It has been very difficult for the Red and Gold fans' to death with the things happening with them both on and off the field. Last season they finished in the 9th position and this year too they are struggling.

"We're here because of them only. Their support is very important for us. Right now, they are not allowed to come to the stadium but if they support us from their homes, it will boost our gameplay," Hira told us.

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