Kean Lewis takes the left wing in the dangerous trident of Marcelinho, himself and Emiliano Alfaro up ahead for the upcoming ISL season for FC Pune City.
Hero Indian Super League (ISL) team FC Pune City did not have an ideal campaign in 2016 when they ended up finishing sixth. However, for the upcoming season, they have shown intent right from the ISL Draft as they went about acquiring a rich trove of quality from last season’s free-scorers, Delhi Dynamos FC. One of the reasons for the Lions’ ruthlessness in front of goal was down to 25-year-old winger Kean Lewis.
While opposition defenders would be busy trying to keep the likes of Marcelo Leite Pereira (aka Marcelinho), Florent Malouda and Richard Gadze at bay, Lewis took it upon himself to tear down the flanks and support his teammates while popping up with important goals himself. By the end of the season, he had four goals and two assists to his name and had underlined his credentials as a game-changer.
By joining the Stallions, Lewis reunites with former Delhi teammates Marcelinho and Marcos Tebar. In a freewheeling interview with indiansuperleague.com, Kean Lewis reminisced about the past season and lots more. Excerpts…
First up, how important for Pune would be the known chemistry between him, Marcelinho and Tebar?
“We practice for two months before the actual start of the season, and it’s important to get the chemistry right between the players. Having played with Marcelinho and Marcos since last season is going make it much easier. We know the style in which we like to play with each other as well, so it will be relatively easier to have chemistry on the field,” he asserted.
Lewis also reckoned that the requirements that were missing from the team of last season have been accounted for this time around.
“We are working with a completely new set of players. I think they (FC Pune City) have filled in what’s missing from the last season, and hopefully, we can capitalise on that.”
Regarding 2016’s Golden Boot winner Marcelinho, Lewis cheekily issued a subtle warning for the other teams!
“He was in excellent form last season and I don’t think any defender was able to stop him,” Lewis recalled. “He’s quick, he’s fast, he’s got skill and any defender would be dreading to play against him. So, it will be exciting to play with him again this season and I don’t think any defender would want him to play on our side!”However, apart from the Brazilian and Tebar, he will have to gel with a completely new set-up and a different environment.
Lewis is relishing the prospect.“I think we have some good young Indian players who are eager to play, eager to perform and do well in the ISL. We have a few foreigners whom we’ve seen playing in the past seasons. It will be exciting with the new signings. We have a few Brazilians and we hope that they can show some magic on the field.”
Coming to the topic of the new structure of the ISL, Lewis agreed that it would help the players’ cause, besides making the league more competitive.
“I think it’s more beneficial for the players with more recovery period. So, we are talking about a larger gap and much more time for the muscles to recover and to focus on the next game. It’s not like you are playing every second day or travelling. One game a week for a long period stretches the number of games and the season; it’s going to be a test for every team to keep their players fit and coming in focused every week.”
Watch Delhi Dynamos’ fiery trident destroy FC Goa 5-1 last season
So, what does he hope to achieve with a new team in a new season?
“Hopefully, I want to keep up that performance (from last season) and score more than I did,” he replied. “But like always, I’ve said the team has to go further for me, so we’re trying to get the team as far as we can, hopefully to the final.”
As we wrapped up our conversation, Lewis pointed out that the present Pune squad has the right set of players with the right mentality.
“We have a lot of young players who are eager to perform along with a cream of good foreign players. Some have played in the ISL before and have done really well, and we also have new signings who want to do well for the team.”