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Pune FC's No. 1 talks about his fear of returning to the Nehru Stadium and how he has moved on from the injury...

Pune FC custodian Abhra Mondal passed a huge psychological test of his playing career against Shillong Lajong FC during Round-13 of the I-League.

Having gone through the ordeal of nursing a cracked right shin that put him out of action, Abhra completed a sensational return at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Polo ground) eleven months later.

Victory for Pune FC was a first-ever feat, but for Abhra it was also about walking off with the Man-Of-The-Match honour which was quite in contrast to the last time he played in Shillong. It was back on 28th January, 2012 Abhra unfortunately clashed with Eugeneson Lyngdoh and was stretchered off.  

“The thought kept coming to my mind before the match and even during the long trip to Shillong,” Abhra explained after the game.

Since then much has changed. The Kolkata-born has recovered and is back to playing ways. He began his second stint against Sporting Clube Goa during Round-8 of the I-League in Goa. However, it was Shillong that still remained vivid and he had a point to prove to himself.

“I always had a doubt in my mind and it was kind of building within. However, by featuring in the playing eleven in earlier rounds I had confidence. It was a question of going out on the pitch and ending the negative thought.

"On arrival in Shillong, thoughts about the incident flashed in my mind. But once I held a couple of balls during practice, I felt better. The rest completes my story,” added Abhra.

When asked about his injury, Abhra said, “He (Eugeneson) apologized and asked me how I was. I told him that it is all part of the game and could have happened to anyone. It was just my bad day out.”

“Out there I was trying to gain as much confidence for myself. This match was really important for me. But once the game got going, I realized that all will be well.” Abhra explained on receiving the Man-of-the-Match award.

With Pune FC securing victory, Abhra admits, “The match was tough for both. It’s not easy for the visiting sides to win in Shillong. The home team plays tough, the crowd turnout is strong and add to it the cold weather. The visiting teams are not used to all these factors and only those who play regularly in these conditions can cope with it.”

While all around, success remained the high-point of Pune FC’s trip to Shillong, Abhra on his part felt, “My past memory has been wiped out and I look to progress to a new chapter in my life. Thank God.”

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