Stranded in India due to the coronavirus-forced travel restrictions, Gokulam Kerala FC's Afghan recruit Zohib Islam Amiri feels the lockdown has brought everyone together, preferring to remain positive by spending hours on phone with his family.
The 30-year-old midfielder was in the country to compete in the I-League which was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak. "Usually, our entire family is together every Ramzan. For the one month, we stay together and then celebrate Eid together," Amiri told www.i-league.org.
"Being away from family this time around is very hard but the situation is such that we have to face it – no one can help it," he added. Amiri wanted to return to his home in Canada but was unable to do so due to the travel restrictions in place.
"Thanks to technology, all of us in our family are able to talk to each other a lot. We talk for hours and hours every day. I must say the lockdown has brought everyone together. Family members and friends you had lost touch with, you are now talking to them almost every day," he said.
The Afghan midfielder is focussing on keeping himself physically fit during the forced break.
"With Ramzan going on, we can eat only once a day. However, as a professional, you have to stay healthy. I start training in the morning and it doesn't matter whether you have a ground or not, we have to train and keep ourselves busy. We can do different types of exercises such as squats, push-ups, hamstring and core exercise indoors, in order to remain in shape."
It has almost been a decade since Amiri made his first I-League appearance and since then, he has gone on to play for a number of teams across India. In the 2019-20 season, he played for Kozhikode-based Gokulam, featuring in 12 matches for the Malabarians as they finished with 22 points in 15 matches.
Looking back at his side's campaign, he stated that they had set high standards for themselves but could not achieve the objective of winning the title "I feel that we had a good opportunity to win the league this season. The way we started was okay but we lost crucial points at home through the campaign. We had a team that aspired to win the championship. In that way, it is disappointing to not achieve our target."