BY NISANTH V EASWAR Follow @Niktheblue94 on Twitter
Mehtab Hossain played a vital role in midfield for Kerala Blasters under Steve Coppell as they stormed into the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) last year. In an interview exclusively to Goal, the 32-year-old defensive midfield linchpin expressed his frustration at the draft system for Indian players.
Mehtab Hossain wanted a Kerala Blasters return but the club's decision to retain Sandesh Jhingan and CK VIneeth meant that the former East Bengal man was picked up by ISL new entrants Jamshedpur FC at the player draft held in July.
"The problem is very bad rules like the draft. Any team can pick you. I wanted to come [to Kerala Blasters] this year also."
"The Kerala Blasters owner talked to me. They wanted to retain me and Sandesh or me and Vineeth. They then decided to retain Vineeth and Sandesh. Because they didn't have an option. Vineeth is from Kerala and Sandesh is the backbone of the defence."
He still fondly remembers the atmosphere inside the Kochi stadium and reserved high praise for the supporters of Kerala Blasters.
"I have never seen these type of supporters. I have played for East Bengal for seven years. I like both supporters, they have too much passion. I enjoyed my life, my career and my football for the last three years."
At Jamshedpur FC, Mehtab Hossain is once again plying his trade under the tutelage of Steve Coppel, a reunion which he is thankful for.
"I'm very happy and lucky to be working with Steve Coppell. As a person and as a coach, in my career, I have never seen anyone like him."
Mehtab also confessed that Coppell initially wanted him to sign for Kerala Blasters. But in the end, both the manager and player didn't get their wish and moved on to a new chapter at Jamshedpur FC.
"It's true that Steve Coppel wanted to retain me for Kerala Blasters. We don't know what happened," confessed Hossain, who is set to take on his former club on Friday.