Pritam Kotal: We were lucky to have Papas amongst us

After a couple of consistent seasons in domestic football, the Uttarpara boy has now set his target to reserve a berth in the national team...

Pritam Kotal, the Mohun Bagan defender is jubilant to make it into Wim Koevermans’ pool of players for the Asian Games training camp which is to be held in Bangalore from 1st July until the 20th.

“I am very happy to be selected in the squad. It’s recognition of my performance. However, I will be happier if I can make it to the starting eleven that remains my target,” Kotal told Goal.

Kotal acknowledged Arthur Papas for giving him regular chances to play at Pailan Arrows and credited the Australian for overseeing the development of many youngsters who have made it big.

“Arthur is a brilliant coach. We were lucky to get him amongst us. I would like to thank him for all the chances he had given me in Under-22 and Pailan Arrows. He had a big contribution in the success of our batch. It’s only because of him many of us have been able to break into the rosters of the big teams,” he remarked.

The full-back also seemed excited on the prospect of re-uniting with his old teammate Narayan Das in the India camp.

“He is my best friend. I know he has had a brilliant season and it feels great to think that we may have another chance to play together. Again getting a chance to play together with Narayan excites me,” he said.

The youngster has signed a deal along with three of his team-mates to be part of the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) and has started practicing on his own to get ready in time for the high-profile tournament.

“I am looking forward to be a part of ISL. According to what I have heard, a number of World-Cuppers will be part of the tournament and that will be a great learning opportunity for all of us. Also, I am eager to play under the top notch coaches who are expected to be part of it,” he explained.

Kotal had emerged as the number one right back of the Mariners even after joining the side midway into the season. He played in all the 20 games since then in the I-League. He spoke of his dream to play in the senior national team.

“In a few years, I would like to see myself as an established member of the national side and one of the best right-backs of the country. I hope I will be able emulate some of the achievements of my idol, Deepak Mandal,” he further added.

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