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Didn’t expect East Bengal to react this way, reveals Jobby Justin

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Didn’t expect East Bengal to react this way, reveals Jobby Justin

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SportsCafe Desk


ATK forward Jobby Justin has expressed his disappointment at East Bengal’s misbehaviour concerning his transfer to ISL, stating that they have very friendly when he was scoring goals for them. The striker also opened up about his nervy initial moments during his maiden national call-up.

After scoring nine goals and providing four assists in 17 appearances for East Bengal last season in the I-League, it was obvious that the striker would have suitors. And the exact thing happened as ISL giants ATK came for his signature with the striker moving on.

With his contract ending on May 31, it was reported that he had signed for the Indian Super League side ATK for the next three seasons. However, the I-League club had claimed that Justin was bound by the token system to keep playing for East Bengal, who had subsequently refused to give him clearance.

The token system has been an archaic and outdated system used in Bengal, where a physical token is considered to be conclusive proof of a player’s registration with a club. So, as long as the club had the possession of the token, the player was contractually bound to play for that club. This had prompted Justin to the AIFF.

The player was amidst cementing a place for himself in the national team and one day before joining the national camp ahead of the Intercontinental Cup, he was forced to fly out to New Delhi to appear before the All India Football Federation (AIFF) player status committee.

“I hadn’t done anything wrong and my agent also reassured me. The case required me to travel quite a bit which made it difficult. I spoke to the coach and he asked me to sort it out and come back,” said Jobby, reported Sportscafe.

 “I didn’t expect them [East Bengal] to react this way [to the transfer]. When I was playing [for them], they were friendly. As a professional when I wanted to move, I expected them to not stand against my wish. That was disappointing,” he added.

Gelling with the national team players, many of whom Justin was meeting for the first time, was a difficult job for the introvert player and it cost him a place in the national team during the King’s Cup. “I wasn’t able to perform well because it was my first international camp. I was kind of scared in that moment. I became really silent [around the group]. I was meeting some of them for the first time like (Sunil) Chhetri bhai. So I didn’t know how to interact with them,” Justin revealed.

Taking him aside during a team dinner, Stimac had asked him to be more expressive. “The coach pointed it out to me that I needed to engage more with everyone,” the striker added.

Justin has since made brief cameos in the Intercontinental Cup and has also been called up in the national camp ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

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