Kerala Blasters FC assistant coach, Ishfaq Ahmed and goalkeeper Albino Gomes addressed the press in an online press conference this Monday before our upcoming clash with Jamshedpur FC. Here’s what both of them had to say!
Ishfaq on having suspensions, “We know we don’t have some of the players and unfortunately the coach is also not available for this match, but there are some players who are coming back from injuries and we have a good squad depth.”
The former Blasters player also shared the positive mindset of the team as we are aiming for all three points. Ishfaq shared his thoughts on the last match against FC Goa, “I think, when we do the analysis on TV people see it differently. We had clear cut chances against them. Even in the first half, they were dominating but we had many one on one situations. I think it was more like a two-point loss, we should have finished the game. Hopefully, in the coming fixtures, we will perform much better. FC Goa is a good team and it was not an easy match.”
On being asked about Garry Hooper, Ishfaq said “Hooper is playing as a number ten now and he is doing what the team is asking. He made a huge difference, he has created a lot of chances after that. We spoke to him, he understands, and he was trying not to be selfish, he was more playing for the team rather than going individually to score. He thought that somebody else was in the better position to shoot, which there were and I don’t think he lacks confidence, he has been one of our better players in that position, who has created a lot of chances.”
He added that Hooper has contributed to the goals scored by the team and he hopes that he will score more goals soon.
Our striker Jordan Murray had suffered an injury and talking about that, Ishfaq said “Any team, when they are settled and when you miss one of the players, there will be issues. It’s normal to have issues and that’s why we have other players. I’m glad that Rahul came and scored in the last match. The good thing is that there are players who are responding well. Rahul has been asked to play as a striker and he scored the goal. Of course, we do miss him (Murray), he was in really good form, scoring goals. But injuries are part and parcel of football, we can’t avoid them, unfortunately.”
Kibu is on suspension and he won’t be on the sidelines leading us in our next match against Jamshedpur. Speaking on that, Ishfaq quoted, “It’s always not a good sign for the team to lose the head of the family for the match. He is the head of the team and I think he will be there, the instructions for team planning and everything. He will be present at the training. It’s just the 90 minutes that we have to manage. David, Ansari, and myself will be there. In his absence, hopefully, we will be able to do justice.”
Our custodian Albino Gomes expressed his dream to play for the national team as he said, “Of course, I have to break through to the national team. That’s the dream of every footballer in India. I’m performing for that also, but right now I’m focusing on the ISL. Hopefully, if I get the call up it would be great. I think the coach is also watching the matches and he will pick the best. I will give my best and if he thinks that I’m performing well and if I deserve it, obviously I will be very happy.”
We’ve had different defensive partnerships this year at our backline and speaking on that, Albino said “It’s a bit difficult but whoever comes to play, they give their hundred percent like Sandeep came as a right-back and he did extremely well in the past matches. All the players are very determined and are giving their hundred percent. They give me the confidence by playing good matches and we are doing pretty well in the defense.”
Ishfaq believes that Albino is up there and he shared his thoughts on national team call-ups, “Club has different ambitions and goals and the national team has different strategies, as for the club, Albino is doing great. Whether he gets called up or not, that is up to the coach. But I feel like he is up there. He has all the attributes to be a good goalkeeper. He has height, he has been a top shot stopper, and hope he continues his form. It’s up to the coach. I believe whoever performs should get called up. It doesn’t matter a new boy or the one who has been performing. If later on they are dropped, it is something different and depends on the coach, and what kind of a player he wants. As of now, I think all the players in the ISL, who have played really good deserve to be in the national camp, I’m not saying the national team, I’m saying the camp at least.”
Ishfaq shared his thoughts on Indian strikers and Rahul KP, “We are one of the teams who is playing with the Indian striker. Maybe Bengaluru has started. It shows how coaches are confident in Indian strikers. As you said, Rahul is grabbing his chances with both hands and if the national team coach is watching, I think Rahul can be there. He has speed, strength, even though you feel like he is not that tall, but he can out jump any defender in the league. I think he is a great prospect for the senior national team also. He has already played for the age groups, and he has that pedigree, so why not.”
Albino has been brilliant in front of the posts especially when it comes to penalties, to which he said, “In the game, I judged it correctly and I got the chance. Just the matter of seconds and judge the player who comes to take the kick and if you get it right, you are the hero and if you don’t, the pressure is on the keeper.”
He also shared that keeping clean sheets is one of his personal goals but unfortunately we conceded goals and we are learning from it and in the coming matches, we will get more clean sheets.