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After making his mark at Punjab FC, Makan Winkle Chothe eyeing a first-team spot at FC Goa!

07:24 BST 04/08/2020
Makan Winkle Chothe
The former I-League winner admitted an offer from NorthEast United and explained why he chose to join FC Goa

Makan Winkle Chothe is a name that has cropped up regularly in the youth circuits in the recent past. The young winger made his name with the youth teams of Punjab where he was earmarked as a talent to watch out for.

Having broken into the Punjab FC first team at a very young age, he has now made the move to Indian Super League (ISL) with FC Goa. He is undaunted by the challenge and feels ready to vie for a first-team spot at FC Goa.

"It was a good opportunity for me. FC Goa is one of the best clubs in India. I have admired them ever since the ISL started and I have watched each and every game of theirs. I like how they play and I always wanted to play for them," the 20-year-old, who signed a three-year deal with FC Goa, told Goal.

After Redeem Tlang became the Gaurs' first Indian acquisition following the departure of Jackichand Singh to Jamshedpur FC, Chothe admitted to choosing Goa as his next destination despite an approach from another ISL club.

"There will be a lot of new players. So it will be hard to play (compete for a place) with them. Redeem Tlang and others are also new. Everybody will be fighting for a place and so will I," he insisted, given the likes of Brandon Fernandes, Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel as well as Romario Jesuraj who will all compete for a spot in the first team.

After his first taste of club football with Kanchenjunga FC during his time at Siliguri in West Bengal, the Manipuri lad made his senior team debut with Minerva Punjab (now Punjab FC) when the Chandigarh based outfit clinched the 2017-18 I-League, although his only appearance was as a last-minute substitute in the match against NEROCA in January 2018.

"When I got selected in the Minerva senior team, I trained well under coach Juan (Luis Perez Herrera). When Minerva would play friendly matches between junior and senior teams, the coach asked me to train with the senior team. I learned a lot and that's how I got in the senior team," Chothe recalled.

Even though the Spanish coach was shown the door before the start of the season, Minerva would go on to win the league.

"Under him (Juan), I started playing with the senior team in the Punjab league first and then I continued playing with the senior team. At the time, it was very hard for me with players like Chencho (Gyeltshen), William (Opoku) in the side who had more experience but I learnt a lot from them."

However, Chothe made a mark for himself by winning the Golden Boot with 35 goals from 13 outings that included a double hat-trick in one match as he helped Minerva Public School win the 2017-18 Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) football tournament in the senior boys' category.

Thereon, he made 11 appearances in the 2018-19 I-League and also played in an AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League play-off match. He went on to make five appearances in the AFC Cup besides winning the Hero Elite League with the U-18 side in the same season.

Chothe has 14 I-League appearances and a couple of goals to his name last season.

With FC Goa becoming the first Indian club to participate in the group stage of the AFC Champions League, Chothe is obviously excited at the opportunity. "Obviously, the AFC Champions League will be more competitive and it will be very hard but for the way FC Goa plays, I think we can be very competitive."