Perhaps Arnab Mondal has all the right in this world to ask the almighty of what best did he find to conspire against him. Twice bitten as he picked up injuries in the national camp, Mondal is thrice shy even as he aims for that coveted national team jersey.
In an exclusive interview to AIFF Media, Mondal speaks about his frustrations, getting mentally drained during his rehab and Koevermans’ influence on him as a player.
What does this call mean for you?
Earlier I have been part of the camp but was never able to make it to the senior squad. That was frustrating. Obviously I have represented India in the U-23 Olympic Qualifiers but representing your country at the senior level stays the ultimate aim.
You are a seasoned pro at the club level. What’s so special about representing India?
It’s all about the satisfaction which makes it special. The national jersey stays the motivation which drives every player. The satisfaction of my contemporaries who have donned it makes me all the more eager to get it. Sometimes, I even feel jealous of them.
There’s a feeling among most that you are a bit injury prone. Is it?
The irony stays that I have never sustained any injury during the I-League. It’s only when I come for the national camp, I pick up one. I call it destiny. Football is a body-contact sport and you can never predict as to when one may get injured. It can happen to anyone anytime. And it’s frustrating.
How did you cope up with it?
To be honest, I was devastated when I picked up the injury at the camp in Pune. It was just prior to the AFC Challenge Cup. It happened to me for the second time in succession and it was hard to cope up, at least mentally. I questioned myself and to the almighty as to why it’s always me. But that’s life.
The worst part stays when you feel your confidence is sinking. That’s the most difficult phase of the rehab. You start doubting yourself and it stays with you till the time you hit the ground. Once you are back, you get back to your normal self.
Besides my family, I’m extremely grateful to my former coach Trevor Morgan and my Amitabha Ghosh, my coach during my junior days for helping me regain my confidence.
Our pre-season in East Bengal kicked-off on July 21 and we have already played three practice matches – that has further helped me.
Apart from the injury, how was your experience in the Pune camp?
I carry the lessons learnt in every step. National coach Wim Koevermans stressed and stresses on modern football. The practice sessions were so interesting, there was so much variety. Koevermans stressed on team shape, agility, fitness, and various other technical aspects. It served as a lesson not only for me but for all to upgrade themselves in future.
Did Koevermans offer you any specific inputs?
His inputs on positional sense were an education for me. Besides, he worked on how to react in certain situations, decision making, intercepting in one on one situations, etc. You learnt to be independent yet be confident enough in that split second and take the decision. It’s all about that.
(Interview & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)