On August 14, 2019, Kerala Blasters added some Goan flavor to their defence as they announced the signing of left-back Jessel Carneiro. Being a new name to the Indian Super League, not many had expected the former Dempo S.C player to start for Eelco Schattorie in the first game. However, after six matches, the scenario has completely changed for the Goan player as he is now the coach's most trusted personnel on the field.
In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Jessel Carneiro spoke about a variety of topics ranging from Blasters' present situation to Goan football's downfall.
Kerala Blasters are eighth in the league with only five points from six matches. The Dutch manager's side have failed to register a win after their opening triumph against ATK. Even when the team is not bagging the desired result, the left flank has been guarded with utmost perfection. Jessel spoke about the disappointment of not clinching a victory even after dominating performances.
"The morale right now, we have to improve. Every player is positive about the start. I am disappointed that we are not getting the results we want. It is not going in our favour. We are doing whatever we can to bring the results in our favour. I hope it will come and we are working on it very hard, day-to-day."
Jessel Carneiro is 29-years old and had been a regular in the Indian football circuit barring ISL, especially in the Goan soil. After consistent performances in the I-League and Goa Professional League, a call to the nation's top-league was always near for him. Even without prior experience in the league, Carneiro has sealed his spot in the playing XI after healthy competitions with teammates Lalruatthara and Pritam Kumar.
"When I was not playing in the ISL everyone was telling me I have the talent to play in the ISL. I was not getting the platform to play. I had the confidence that if I get in a team, I would play and do very well. Lalruatthara was here before me and he is a very good player who won the Emerging Player of the Season. Pritam Kumar is here. So it was a big challenge for me to replace these guys and to show what I am. They are also very good players and I respect them. I give my best and lets see how far I can go."
Jessel has played alongside, as well as, locked horns with some of the prominent names in Indian football. Thus, the defender is never short of experience in the sport. He was part of Dempo S.C in Goa from 2012 until shifting houses to Pune FC for the 2014-15 season. Speaking about his experience on the field, Carneiro quotes,
"I had a lot of experience playing in the I-League. When ISL was not there Randy Martins and Odaya were big players and I played against them. I played with Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika and all these kind of players. So I had the experience."
Jessel Carneiro is a livewire on the field for Blasters and has equal contributions in defence and attack. The fullback joins the offensive move regularly, sending in crosses and running up the flank. When asked about his role in Schattorie's plans, Carneiro said that he implements whatever the gaffer asks him to do.
"He wants me to follow what he says. We have certain plans for each and every game like how the opponent plays. We build our own techniques on how to do it. So he gives me different roles on what to do and I try to do my best. Whatever he says I try to implement in the game."
However, the former Dempo player expressed his worries about the condition of football back home in Goa. The captain of the Goa Santosh Trophy team which reached the semi-finals last season revealed the sufferings they have faced in recent years.
"Goan football is going down. Last year the season was very good, we had good facilities. But before that we were suffering a lot because there were no professional arrangements made for the state team. I think whatever the competition is, we have to offer the players good facilities because we have to give 90 minutes on the ground. There were five teams from Goa in the I-League, but now there is only one - Churchill Brothers. There has to be an improvement."
The time at Dempo had been vital for the player's development over the years. He credits the club for the exposure they offered him at a very young age.
"I was very lucky because when I started my career I played with national team players like Mahesh Gawli and Climax Lawrence. They gave me the experience very well. From a young age I was with the seniors and they guided me. They helped me a lot to improve my game."
Goa players Mandar Rao Desai, Adil Khan and Brandon Fernandes are all regular figures in Indian national team head coach Igor Stimac's system. Carneiro too wishes to follow the path of his local companions as he is hopeful of receiving a national team call-up soon.
"Obviously, I am hoping for a national team duty. If he (Igor Stimac) likes my play, if he believes that this boy can help me in certain ways I will get a chance. I have a hope that I will be playing."
The defender was optimistic about making a comeback while speaking about Blasters' nervy start to the season He emphasizes the fact that the season has only started and there is a long way to go. Jessel Carneiro remains positive on featuring in the ISL playoffs in the very first season. For this, he asks for the backing of Blasters' loyal fan group - Manjappada. He appreciates the fan group's respect for fellow groups and want the fans to wait for the right time.
"I feel there is a good chance for Blasters to come back. We have to show our character. This is not the end of the season, it has just started. There are lot of injuries. There are lot of chances for us to be in the top four because only six matches are played and there are twelve matches to go. If we can continuously win matches, we will be in the top four. I am very grateful to Manjappada because they showed all the respect. When other teams come to Kochi too, they show their respect. Keep supporting us and we will deliver. Just wait for the right time and things will go our way."
Despite being the fan-favorite at Kochi, the Goan-born is not satisfied with his performance due to lack of results. Encouragingly, Carneiro took the blame on himself for the second goal that his side conceded against FC Goa a day ago.
"I want to win each and every game but I am giving my best, all out hundred percent. But the only thing is that things are not working in our ways. Everyone is giving their best. I am not satisfied with my performance because I need result. In the last match, I don't blame anyone for the second goal we conceded. I blame myself. If I had made the clearance better we wouldn't have conceded."
Jessel Carneiro is, without doubt, a standout performer for the Blasters this season. The left-back's tireless efforts on the field are being recognized, compensating the late call to the limelight. If he can keep up with the good form, he might be another player from the Blasters setup, making his debut in the nation blue.Published 02 Dec 2019, 21:04 IST