Nehru Cup EXCLUSIVE: Sri Lanka’s Issadeen Idolizes Ronaldinho caught up with Sri Lanka striker M. Issadeen who scored a hat-trick in his team’s 4-3 win over Lebanon in their first game.
M. Issadeen plays for Sri Lanka’s Army Sports Club and is considered to be the fittest and the most versatile player in the squad. The tournament’s joint top scorer is very happy with his performance so far but is still looking for improvement.

Speaking exclusively to he said, “I am very happy with my contribution so far but I cannot stop here. I have to keep on improving in every match.”

Issadeen would have been either on the bench or played in some other position if experienced striker Kasun Jayasuriya was fit for this tournament. But the former India Bank striker’s injury gave Issadeen a chance to start upfront and the 28-year-old feels that he didn’t feel any pressure and acknowledges that the presence of another experienced player in E. Channa helped him a lot.

“I did not feel any pressure to replace the injured Jayasuriya. Channa also helped me stay calm and now we have formed a very good understanding upfront.”

He also revealed that he and other Muslim players of the Sri Lankan team will start fasting for Ramadan only after the tournament.

“While being on a tournament it is difficult to fast so all of us have decided to start the fasting after this competition ends.”

The player with the only hat-trick of the 2009 Nehru Cup also praised the Indian team and talked about his immediate targets and his footballing role model.

“The Indian squad are much ahead of us I think. They are very well organized and have come into this tournament with a lot of preparation.

“I want to win the SAFF Cup in December and if we can do that I think it will be a great year for us.

“My role model in football is Ronaldinho. I really admire his skills and match winning ability.”

Lastly, he also admitted that he would love to play for an Indian club if an offer comes along.

“If I do get an offer from an Indian club I will definitely consider it."

Amoy Ghoshal