Mohammed Rafi, striker for Mumbai FC in the I-League and now hitman for the Atletico de Kolkata in the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL), has expressed his deep satisfaction at fulfilling a lifelong desire to share the pitch with highly experienced and seasoned overseas professionals.
33 year-old Rafi is already licking his lips at the prospect of working alongside Spanish stars of the Kolkata franchise, Luis Garcia and Borja Fernandez.
“I cannot explain the thrill. It is like a dream come true. Not many players get the opportunity to play with the celebrated stars in football,” explained Rafi, to the New Indian Express.
Rafi was ambiguous on the positive effects of the ISL, stating, “We cannot see what change this league would bring India football. It would be more than what we expect. There is a universal difference between Indian and the European style. We have much to learn from them."
He suggests that the ISL would uplift Indian football, out of the constant muddle it finds itself in.
The Kerala born striker emphatically hopes that more Malayalee players follow him to the Kolkata franchise, whilst he believes he was lucky with the inaugural draft picks.
Rafi concluded the interview by suggesting his team was strong title contenders. "The team will be one of the strong contenders for the title. Atletico we'll be ready for the challenge upfront, come September."