• Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

Joining Mohun Bagan at this stage of career felt like the right move: Sahal | Goa News

Joining Mohun Bagan at this stage of career felt like the right move: Sahal |  Goa News
PANAJI: When Sahl Abdul Samad was contemplating a move away from Kerala Blasters, where he has been a club hero for the past five seasons, he knocked on the door of national team coach Igor Stimac.
Stimac’s door is always open for players, and when Sahal found himself at the crossroads, he thought it best to approach the coach, especially since he was enjoying a great run with the national team.
“He has assured me that he will support me irrespective of the club I choose to play for,” Sahal told TOI after completing his move to Mohun Bagan Supergiant on Friday. “He stressed the importance of constant hard work and reminded me to push my boundaries to improve my skills as a player. It’s great to have someone like him behind me who supports and believes in my journey.
The 26-year-old’s journey began as a reserve at Kerala Blasters and has since gone on to excel. For a number of years, the number 18 jersey was the most frequently seen on the back of fans’ shirts at matches in Kochi. He was loved, played his best football under Ivan Vukomanovic and made the finals in 2022 too, so what made him move away from home?
“It was undoubtedly challenging, one of the most difficult decisions,” admits Sahal, who has made nearly 100 appearances for the club, the most by any player.
“Starting my career with the club has been a long and memorable journey that I will never forget. Kerala fans have a special place in my heart. Moving to a new team was a sudden change that needed careful consideration. But at the end of the day, what matters is the game and my love for football,” he said.
The Indian Super League (ISL) champions Mohun Bagan is the stop on Sahal’s football journey.
“I couldn’t be happier. “I am extremely proud to be a part of Mohun Bagan and excited to know what the future holds for me,” Sahal said.
Mohun Bagan has fielded the best team this season. While retaining the core that won the ISL trophy last season, their new arrivals include Sahal’s national team stars Anirudh Thapa and Anwar Ali, as well as foreigners Jason Cummings and Albanian international Armando Sadiku, who played for Australia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Mohun Bagan is a proud club with a rich heritage in football. Being a part of such a famous club was incredibly attractive as a player. When considering my options, the vision, resources and environment of the club fit my needs. “I felt it was the right move in my career at this stage,” said Sahal.
Bagan assured to use the attacking midfielder in his natural position and not restrict him to the wings to the best advantage of the team weighed on Sahal’s mind. It had a great impact on the mind of the Kerala star.
“I play my best football as an attacking midfielder and this is where I naturally thrive,” he said. “When discussing potential signings with different teams, we inquired about the position I would play. Mohun Bagan expressed their plans to use me in an attacking midfielder role, which was very encouraging. I was (and still am) impressed with their vision for the future and of course they have a good track record in the ISL.
Bagan was not the only one in front of Sahal. Bengaluru FC’s interest in the quick-footed footballer is now no secret, while Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC have also made enquiries. According to his agents Shakeel Abdullah and Baljit Rihal from Inventive Sports, “There were quite a few inquiries from abroad.”
“We have exhausted all options and discussed at length with Sahal,” the agents said in a statement. “We are confident in his abilities to shine at Mohun Bagan, who have big ambitions to achieve more success”.

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