"I just want to give my best in all the matches and win the I-League this season," says Chennai City FC's Ajith Kumar
Ajith Kumar Kamaraj has simply proved to be a revelation for Chennai City FC this season in the I-League. The 21-year-old left back has made a massive impact in his debut season and is definitely one of the footballers to look up for the future.
He has also been one of the biggest finds of this season and one of the impressive footballers unearthed by Chennai City FC.
Hailing from the metropolitan city of Chennai, Ajith Kumar is deemed as the next biggest thing in Indian football by football pundits.
He has impressed everyone with his extraordinary defending abilities. The energetic defender has been a vital cog for Chennai City FC in their dream run this season and has played every minute of their campaign.
Sportskeeda caught up with the midfielder for an exclusive interview. Here are some of the excerpts:
You have established yourself as one of the mainstays in the Chennai City FC line-up. Briefly describe your journey.
At first, I joined Disha Sports Academy ( a prominent football academy in Chennai) when I was in 6th standard.
After that in the 8th standard, I played in Under-13 Nationals. Then I played for my school team and in my 12th standard, I took part in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) Nationals Under-19.
Then I got myself enrolled in Madras Christian College (MCC) and played for my college team.
Luckily, during the college period itself, I got the chance to play for many clubs in the local leagues. It was after that I heard about CCFC trials and I attended it and got a chance to play in I-League.
What made you take up the position of a defender?
Actually, my position is that of a midfielder. However, this is a professional club, so I need to know to play all the positions as well as abide by the coach's suggestions.
Usually, defenders are known to run the extra mile to help the team's cause. How true is this? What are the skills and abilities that are required to become a defender?
Yes, to help the team in attacking as well as in defending we have to run extra mile always. Anticipation and Patience are very important to become a defender.
In the cricket dominated city of Chennai, what prompted you to take up football?
Football is our Family game. Since most of my family members are football players (my dad and relatives) we used to play on weekends in my childhood. Football slowly went on to become my passion.
How did your family react about you taking football as your profession?
My family wanted me to play football and get a job soon. But now they are very much happy and proud of my growth as a professional footballer.
How did the move to Chennai City FC get along?
As I said earlier I got know about CCFC trials and I attended it. I gave my best to get into the team and God took care of the rest of the things.
How did you and your family react when you were roped in by Chennai City FC?
I was filled with joy and I felt really very happy. No words can express that feeling and I felt blessed. My family, on the other hand, felt very much happy for me.
A lot of footballers in Tamil Nadu have been recognised for their performances in CFA Senior Division. How big is it? What are differences between CFA Senior division and I-League?
There are quite a few differences. CFA is just a local league whereas I-League is a national League and everything is professional.
The duration of CFA Senior Division is only two months but I-League takes place for almost six months.
In I-League, we have the opportunity to work with highly experienced foreign coaches and to play and share the dressing room with experienced foreign players.
You have formed a great combination with Roberto Eslava, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul and Gourav Bora. How do you interact with each other?
The great combination is because of the coach as he only made us play together. I know Tamil, Hindi and English so we don't have any problem in communicating with each other. I owe all the credits to the coach for our combination.
Your performances have been top class and a lot of football pundits have backed for your inclusion in ISL. What do you think about this?
I'm very happy to hear about it and I hope to give my best wherever I play.
How is it to be a part of CCFC? Are you enjoying your stint?
This is my very first step in building my career and I'm enjoying each and every moment of it by God's grace.
Coach Akbar Nawas's tactics have been top notch. How does he try to improve you? How is it to work with him?
His tactics are something different for me and easy to follow up. He has helped me in improving my game.
In an earlier interview, Akbar Nawas mentioned that you are the player to look out for. How do you live up to the rising expectations and repay the coach's faith?
I'm too fortunate to get a name from him. And I will try my very level best to keep up his expectations. I hope that with God's grace, I will be able to fulfill it.
Tell us about your family.
My dad works in the Press Information Bureau (an agency of Central Government) and my mom is a homemaker. I have two elder brothers. All my family members have been the backbone of my success.
CCFC stands first in the points table and is expected to win the title. What would you like to say about it?
Yes. Even we are hoping to win the title this year and we are working hard for achieving that feat.
You have a lot of fans in Coimbatore. What message would you like to convey them? What do you think about the people of Coimbatore?
I'd like to thank them for supporting me and my team. They all make me stronger to battle out my weakness.
We get the motivation to give our best till the last minute vastly due to the energy of the fans in the stadium. They are more like our friends and brothers. So personally I'm very grateful to them.
You and Michael Soosairaj studied in the same college. What would you like to say about your friendship with Soosai? How is he as a person?
He is one important person in my life to mention. I played with Soosai for three years in my college days and he taught me and I learned so many things from him on and off the field.
He is a very good brother to me and also a well-wisher for me. He calls and wishes me after seeing my performance on air. We are in touch and this relationship will continue forever.
What are your personal goals for the season?
I just want to give my best in all the matches and win the I-League this season! We have reached this far and I don't wanna give up the chance of winning the title.