Sports Football 12 Jun 2017 Country before self ...

Country before self for Anas Edathodika

Published Jun 12, 2017, 1:28 am IST
Updated Jun 12, 2017, 1:28 am IST
Centre-back Anas Edathodika speaks with national coach Stephen Constantine (right). (Photo: AFP)
 Centre-back Anas Edathodika speaks with national coach Stephen Constantine (right). (Photo: AFP)

Bengaluru: It was a tough choice for Anas Edathodika last Tuesday as he lined up for the national team against Nepal. He had two options: step onto the field for India or head back to Kerala to his father who was suffering from a heart ailment. Could options ever get any tougher?

Anas chose the former. “My father can’t talk. His condition isn’t good. The elder members of my family asked me to go back and do my duty for my country which is the possibly the best way to give him some solace,” revealed the defender before of a training session ahead of India’s crunch AFC Asian Cup tie against Kyrgyz Republic on Tuesday.

“But he is happy that I’m playing for the national team. When his friends come and tell him, he is happy. My coach asked me if I wanted to go and stay with the family. But I’ll go after this and get him treated by a good doctor.”

For Anas, it’s just another obstacle to conquer. He has done so his entire career. Nothing ever came easy for the Kerala defender who was ravaged by injuries and inconsistencies before emerging as one of India’s best defenders.

Now, with three games under his belt following his debut against Cambodia in March, the Mohun Bagan defender is keen to make his team’s good run count.
“We had the friendly against Nepal with an eye on this game,” Anas revealed when asked about the preparations. “It was a time for us to get our combinations right and the gel as a team.

“We have been preparing in the similar way we did against Myanmar and Nepal. But then we know that Nepal and Kyrgyzstan can’t be compared. We have to give them the respect they deserve. We will be looking for three points from the tie,” he finished.

Despite his impressive performances during the season for Bagan, the Mallapuram-born defender is aware that his spot under Stephen Constantine is far from secure. But just like everything else in life, the Delhi Dynamos star is more than ready to fight for his place.

“International games are completely different from club games. The level of competition is different, the pressure is different,” stressed the former Pune FC player.

“I had this in my mind that one day I want to play with? Sandesh (Jhingan). We had a decent game against Nepal. I hope to continue this, but it isn’t easy. The team has a number of good players in my position. I got my opportunity only once I reached 30. And now, I don’t want to let it slip. It was my dream to play for India and I don’t want this dream to end any soon,” he signed off.



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