Anas Edathodika is amongst the best defenders in Indian football circuit. He is the first choice central defender in Stephen Constantine’s Indian team alongside Sandesh Jhingan.
After a rough season in the Indian Super League (ISL) this time with Jamshedpur FC, the Malayali defender is all set to shrug off the poor form when he wears the national colours in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
During the ISL, Anas had to leave Jamshedpur FC in between the season due to his father’s demise. He returned after quite a while and then sat out due to several injuries. Also, players like Tiri and Andre Bikey, who performed brilliantly in the backline, made it difficult for the India international to break into the starting XI. He played just eight matches in the season and did not put in the best of performances.
Speaking about his ISL stint, the defender said, “It was a tough season for me at Jamshedpur FC this time. I had some family issues so did not get much time to gel with the team. Also, I had a hamstring injury during the season.”
India are placed in Group A in the AFC Asian Cup alongside hosts UAE, Bahrain and Thailand. Anas considers India’s group to be very tough. He suggested that they should play more matches against tougher sides in order to know where they stand.
“We are in a very tough group in Asia Cup. But we are playing so many international matches. In next few months, the coach said we will play against tougher teams like Qatar. These matches are very important for our experience. We will get to know the level if we play against these teams,” said Anas.
On Kerala football and need of more academies in the state, he opined, “I think there are some top class players in Kerala. Gokulam Kerala have just come to Indian football. Previously there was Viva Kerala but they did not survive. Only if more clubs come up and new academies, then more players will come out of Kerala.”
India will be facing the likes of Kenya and New Zealand in the Intercontinental tournament. On asked about how they plan to face a physically stronger team like Kenya, Anas said, “We have to be mentally strong before facing a team like Kenya. They are physically strong but we have pace. As a defender, I can say that the Indian players I face they are really fast and got great pace and agility. I think we can beat them with speed.”