Bello Rasaq, Prayag United‘s Nigerian defender who was awarded the man-of-the-tournament in the IFA Shield, believes his performances this year aren’t his best showing in 6 years of professional football in India. Despite being showered with praise after Pryag United clinched the Shield with a 1-0 win over rivals East Bengal, Bello looked nonchalant.
“Nothing special. Its normal!” The defender added,” If you ask my best in India I produced it with Viva-Kerala last season. But as the club has failed to retain its status no one has remembered my performance. That is the unfortunate part of my football career.”
When asked whether he would dedicate the award to his wife, the 28-year-old explained, “how could any award be dedicated to my wife? I’d rather call her, try to share my achievement with her. But you can only dedicate it to someone who is like your guardian.”
Instead Bello dedicated his man-of-the-tournament award to a man named Sandip Saha, an amateur photographer whose passion is to organise photo exhibitions on rare pictures of football matches. Saha is a resident of Salt Lake, where Bello has been staying for the last couple of years. The Nigerian, explained his decision to dedicate his award to his friend was because, Saha has been like his ‘guardian here in Kolkata.’
“He cares me a lot. Even, when I travel with Prayag United around the country to participate in the ongoing I-League matches, Saha also travels with me spending his own money. It’s not that he travels every time. But he has been with me in the country’s different venues for several times. That is why it is my tribute to him.”
The defender added that by playing table tennis in a serious manner almost every evening has helped him to be fit.
“Table Tennis is the second quickest game in the world. If you play seriously and almost everyday, you wont have to do much fitness training.” Along with TT, Bello mentioned that Deigo Garcia has also been responsible for keeping him fit throughout the season; the fitness trainer of Prayag United. Bello said, “He is so skilled in fitness training that anybody could reach the highest level of fitness under his training and observation.”Published 21 Mar 2013, 13:41 IST