I-League: I was missing my ‘home’ Kolkata – Rakesh Masih explains Mohammedan Sporting move
Rakesh Masih started the 2013-14 season with Goan giants Salgaocar having ended a five-year spell with Mohun Bagan but the versatile player didn’t turn out for Salgaocar in the Airtel I-League and soon was released. He signed a one-year deal with Mohammedan Sporting and made his I-League debut for the Kolkata club in the 1-2 defeat against Bengaluru FC on round four.
The Tata Football Academy graduate seemed quite happy when he signed for Salgaocar in the summer so what made him change clubs during the season? That is something Anthony Pereira also did as he started the campaign with Mohun Bagan but is now with Churchill Brothers.
There were suggestions in some quarters that Masih was released as he wasn’t going to be a regular at Salgaocar under Derrick Pereira but refuting that claim, the 26-year-old explained his move.
“No it wasn’t about first-team football. I was playing in the Goa League but I couldn’t settle there well. I was actually missing Kolkata which you can also call my home. I am from Punjab but I have spent so many years of my career in Kolkata that I have got used to life there. So when Mohammedan Sporting offered me a chance to return, I took it,” Masih told Sportskeeda.
By leaving Salgaocar and joining Mohammedan Sporting, Masih has possibly left a genuine title contender in favour of a team that is likely to fight for survival. But the India international has no regrets and is only focusing on the next game.
“I don’t want to look back now. I feel I have taken the right decision and will now do everything to help Mohammedan Sporting. I believe all this talk (of relegation battle) is unnecessary so early in the season. We have played two difficult away games and have another away fixture (against Rangadajied United). It is all about focusing on the next game and giving a strong performance. I am confident that our position in the table will improve,” Masih opined.
That defeat against Bengaluru was Mohammedan Sporting’s third straight loss and sees them occupy the bottom spot of the 13-team table with no points from three games. They will be determined for their first win of the season against Rangdajied later today and Masih is happy that he has had time to prepare with the rest of the squad unlike his debut against Bengaluru.
“I had only arrived in Bangalore early morning and played the game in the afternoon so it wasn’t easy. Thankfully I have had more than a week to train with the team ahead of this match so I am looking forward for a good performance and result,” said the player, who has five senior caps at international level.
Masih played in central defence against Bengaluru and could remain in that position until the return of Brazilian Luciano Sobrosa. The former India u-23 international is happy playing either in defence or midfield and believes under-fire coach Moshood Bola Abdulaziz has the support of the whole squad.
“I am ready to play anywhere for the team. Of course Luciano is a big miss and in his absence I might have to do a job in defence. We all want to get the first win of the season and make our fans happy. The coach has been very supportive and we all want to repay his faith in us,” he concluded.