Almeida: I would like to emulate Mahesh Gawli

The Goan youngster hopes to impress Koevermans in the training camp which starts next month...

Keenan Almeida has been named in the 30-man squad for the Asian Games training camp to be held in Bangalore starting July 1.

The Sporting Clube de Goa defender is jubilant on having made the cut into the under-23 side.

“I was too happy when I got the news. It was a great feeling. Every footballer dreams about playing for the country and it’s like I am only step away from achieving it. I am looking forward to the camp,” he told Goal.

After joining Sporting from Salgaocar, Almeida spent a season without playing a single minute in the I-League, but stressed that the love for the beautiful game kept him focused.

“Football is my passion and the love for the game motivated me to take it as a profession. It’s an integral part of my life,” said the defender who had made 15 I-League appearances for the Flaming Oranje last season.

He credited coach Oscar Bruzon, the Spanish gaffer of Sporting for having backed him to do the job.

“I would give Oscar, our coach most of the credits. I would take this as an opportunity to thank him for the support and the confidence he has instilled in me. I think a lot of learning is still remaining and I am looking forward to the next season. I will also like to thank my family,” said the U-23 player, who will continue to ply his trade for the Goan side next year also.

Almeida is one of the eight Goan players to be selected for the camp and has taken a silent pledge to emulate the achievements of his idol.

“Mahesh Gawli is my idol and I will like to be as successful as him,” told the defender who is busy cheering for Germany in the World Cup.

The camp will kick-off on 1st July in Bengaluru before India play two matches with Pakistan in the home stadium of the reigning I-League champions.