Not getting picked in Igor Stimac’s rather large 37-man probables ahead of the King’s Cup, Seiminlen Doungel feels he would have to perform better to fit the Croatian’s style of play and future plans. He also revealed that he has watched FC Goa closely and would want to go prepared into pre-season.
It was widely rumoured that Stimac had edged past huge favourite Albert Rocca in front of the AIFF Technical Committee with his in-depth knowledge about the Indian players and the exact positions the squad needed improvement.
Hence, when he was appointed as the coach with less than a month to go for the King’s Cup, he decided to take 37 players with him to the national camp in New Delhi. The probables had seen numerous players giving a trial for the first time for the national team like Lallianzuala Chhangte, Komal Thatal, Michael Soosairaj, Nishu Kumar, and many more.
Doungel was also amongst the exciting youngsters who had shown sparks of promise last season in the Indian Super League but wasn’t included. However, the 25-year-old has chosen to take the positives from it and stated that the coach couldn’t have taken every player although it won’t stop him from striving for better performances and don the blue jersey one day.
“By our standards, surely we didn’t have a great season at Kerala. I have worked hard for the last few seasons to improve myself in all aspects of my game. It is every player's dream to play for the National Team,” said Doungel in an exclusive interview with SportsCafe after his move from Kerala Blasters ti FC Goa.
“However, we have to understand that the coach needs time to watch all the players at least for a season across both the leagues to be able to judge which player would fit into his game plan. My job is to build from last season and continue to give better performances on the pitch and hope that I can fit into the new coach’s style and plans and a part of the Blue Tigers very soon once again,” added Doungel.
One of Doungel’s biggest attribute has been his utility in the attacking third. He has played in almost every position up front whether it be on the flanks, the striker’s role, and sometimes even the playmaker. While with the Highlanders, fans saw him play his trade mostly on the right wing, Manjappada saw him playing more on the left.
However, that won’t reduce the competition Doungel would be facing in Goa who have two of the best wingers in the league in Brandon Fernandes and Jackichand Singh. However, the Manipur-born footballer said that he was focusing more on learning under his new coach rather than thinking about the competition.
“Over the years playing in different teams and under different coaches, sometimes even within the same calendar year (ISL + I-League) I have tried to adapt as much as I can to play across all positions in the final third. FC Goa has many good players that will be challenging for many positions and such is a sign of a good team.
“It is always good to have healthy competition to keep ourselves improving every day. The style of coach Lobera and FC Goa has suited the game of Jacki a lot and he has been doing really well. My job would be to learn as much as I can from the coach to be ready to play the way the coach demands,” he added.
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