The inspiring story of Chennai City FC's sensation Alexander Romario Jesuraj
Alexander Romario, the 22-year-old winger of Chennai City FC has clearly been one of the most consistent and effective footballers in the I-League 2018-19 season. He has also proved to be a vital cog for Chennai City FC and is definitely one of the footballers to look up for the future.
He has performed flawlessly on the right flank and has perfectly aided the Spanish trio of Pedro Manzi Cruz, Sandro Rodriguez and Nestor Gordillo. He has made 17 appearances so far and has 2 goals to his name.
Sportskeeda caught up with the footballer for an exclusive interview. Here are some of the excerpts.
Who inspired you to take up football as your career?
It dates back to my childhood where my uncle Draviam named me as Romario after the Brazilian legend Romario de Souza Faria. He wished for me to be a `footballer since my early days. He incited the interest in me by taking me to the football ground and watch matches.
Tell us about your footballing career before making a move to Chennai City FC.
During my sixth standard, I started to play for Dindigul in the district matches held across Tamil Nadu. Then I got selected in the Tamil Nadu state team and I got selected for the Indian U-13 Football Team Camp held at Goa. I broke through into the Tamil Nadu U-16 team at the age of 13 itself.
After that, my family decided to shift me to Chennai from Dindigul in order to pursue my career and enrolled me in Madras Christian College (MCC) school. In a school where studies were the main preference, the physical director Jebasingh found a way to get going with our football careers and played an instrumental role in my career.
All of the credit goes to him and he deserves a special mention. My career reached a great height during my college days as football was our main priority there. We also had Michael Soosairaj (Jamshedpur FC mid-fielder) and Ajith Kumar (Chennai City FC defender) in our college team.
I was drafted in by Arrows FC in the CFA Senior Division where I and Soosai played together. Later, I plied my trade for the Indian Bank team for two seasons before making a switch to Chennai City FC in the I-League.
How did your family react about you joining Chennai City FC?
My uncle felt really overjoyed and I have always looked up to him for support and guidance. My family too were very happy about this.
You have been one of the most important players for CCFC's stellar form this season. How do you feel about this?
I think it is all due to the coach's valiant efforts in improving our players. He has completely transformed my style and I am very much humbled to work with him. So, this is the main reason for the massive improvement in my performances.
You have made a liking to score against East Bengal at home. How is that feeling to score against them?
It was a very important match in our campaign and I still have no words to describe the moment. I felt overjoyed as I scored the winner and was even happier as we won the game.
Chennai City FC are one win away from title victory. How do you feel about this?
Yes, we have two important matches to go. We have to play Churchill Brothers next and we will give our best in the field.
From battling out relegation last season to inching closer to the title victory, what do you think is the reason behind Chennai City FC's massive transition?
It is due to the great scouting of domestic talents and spell-bounding recruit of overseas players by our coach Akbar Nawas and Jordi Vila. They planned out the strategy as soon as the last I-League season came to an end. Also, the pre-season was a major boost to the players and we started the camp three months before prior to the start date of the I-League 2018-19. We have a great team bonding and it is great to be a part of this Chennai City FC family.
How is it to share the dressing room with the overseas players?
The overseas players are very helpful and they are very much concerned about our development. We can seek any guidance from them and they are very much ready to help us through.
You and Soosairaj are childhood friends. How was it to play with Soosai last season for Chennai City FC? Tell us about your friendship.
I and Soosairaj have known each other since the U-13 Indian Camp held at Goa. We are more than close friends and we know about each other very well. He has helped me on and off the field. We talk to each other very frequently.
What do you think about CCFC's tie-up with Basel FC?
It is very helpful for all the players and we are very much excited about this. It has all been made possible because of our owner Rohit Ramesh.
You have a lot of fans in Coimbatore and you have been nicknamed as "Namma Neymar Romario." What would you like to tell them?
We are very much thankful to them and they have been with us at all times. They have been the backbone for our success and we consider them as a part of our family.