Anas is a late bloomer as he made his National team debut at 29, but has been a rock-solid feature post that.
The third season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) turned out to be a revelation for quite a few players, not in the least for 30-year-old Anas Edathodika. The Kerala-born defender came up with a string of solid performances for Delhi Dynamos FC in 2016, which prompted ISL newbies Jamshedpur FC to splurge on him and draft him in at the earliest.
One of the two most expensive recruits in the draft preceding the upcoming season, the lanky centre-back took out time to have a chat with indiansuperleague.com regarding his latest chapter.
As a vital cog in a brand-new team, getting the gaming chemistry right could prove to be tricky. Did Edathodika consider it as a factor?
“For me, everything is new,” the player revealed. “Jamshedpur as a club is new to the ISL and to get along will take time. But we have an experienced coach, so hopefully, we will get along really well considering that we have a challenging season ahead of us.”
This time around, the ISL will feature two new teams and extend to a longer season. When quizzed about his opinion regarding the revamped structure, pat came the cheeky reply, “I would like to say thank you, for a longer league!”
He further added, “There’s more recovery time. One game a week is good, so the Indian and foreign players will get enough rest throughout. Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC are new, although Bengaluru is an experienced team. They’ve already played together, while we need to play well to get more fans to support us and hopefully play well for the fans.”
He will be helped in the Jamshedpur FC backline by former ATK defender José Luis Espinosa Arroyo, a.k.a. Tiri, who is fresh from winning the title with them in 2016. Edathodika is visibly delighted at the opportunity, as he rates his fellow centre-back highly.
“According to me, Tiri is the strongest player in the ISL. He is the best defender, is an experienced player from Spain, and last season he played really well. So, it’s great to have such a good and experienced player from whom I can learn.”
He will also be joined at Jamshedpur by former Lions teammate Emerson Gomes de Moura, better known as Memo, and Edathodika recollects just how good a midfielder is.
“He can hold a player, he can shield well, and he can intersect long passes really well,” he went on to say. “For me, he’s a good defensive midfielder who has a good eye for long passes. Amongst all the midfielders, I like him the most of our time in Delhi.”
“He’s an experienced coach, he’s been with many big clubs, last year being with Kerala Blasters. I’ve asked many Kerala players as to how he is and how to get along with him. They all said that he gives a lot of confidence.”
The humble player was also on the same page with Jamshedpur’s policy of signing up tried and tested ISL players for their debut season.
“Having experienced players is always important,” he explained. “Last year, I got a lot of good inputs from the experienced players. It is also good for the Indian players to learn from the foreign players.”
And finally, on how he plans for the upcoming season, the player reveals that he has quite a lot to offer his team.
“I think it has been 11 years of my football career, but I’m still not the best,” he said.
“I believe I can do much better and work harder on the field. It’s a physical and technical game. I know myself that I’m not that good, but I’m going to put in my 100% to get better,” he adds before we wrapped up our interview.