Breaking into the senior national team at the age of 30 and gathering 19 caps in his four-year career for the Blue Tigers did not stop Anas Edathodika from touching the hearts of his fellow teammates in the camp. The defender announced his retirement on Tuesday and has left behind a trail of touching moments and fond memories.
India’s star striker Sunil Chhetri believes that Anas has made a significant mark on the Indian football team, despite his short stint in the blue jersey.
“Anas was brilliant playing for the country. He did not have a very long stint, but definitely a very significant one. His courage, determination and will to do well for the country is second to none. We will definitely be going to miss Anas the player, and the personality,” said Chhetri.
A day after National Team defender Anas announced his International retirement after India’s campaign in the AFC Asian Cup ended, Stephen Constantine referred to him as a “proper defender.”
“Anas has been outstanding for me. I would him call a proper defender. He gave everything in every game,” Constantine who handed Anas’ International debut commented.
Anas made his International debut for India in the International Friendly against Cambodia on March 22, 2017, a match which India won 2-0.
“He was an example to players all over India. He played hard. Since he got his debut, he took his chance with both hands,” he stated. “It is now time for the young players to step up.”
Anas played his last International match against Bahrain in the Asian Cup, a match which India lost 0-1.
His presence in the defence helped nullify the opposition attacks and throughout his career, Anas showed great tactical acumen. Not the fastest on the pitch, he always timed his tackles perfectly and manoeuvred himself to lay cover or disrupt the attacking intent.
After he announced his retirement, the 31-year old defender said, “It took me 11 years to break into the national team and playing for the national team is the biggest achievement in my career. Although the journey was short, each and every time I tried to give more than 100 per cent for the team. I was so disappointed to pick up an injury in the opening minutes of the Bahrain game and it will hurt me forever.”