The former Mohun Bagan player talked at length about various things in his career.
Britto PM saw his years of hard-work rewarded when he was able to clinch the I-League title with Mohun Bagan in a wondrous season. The 27-year-old – a late bloomer in Indian football – operated as a diligent squad player often coming on as a substitute.
Britto made quite a few appearances throughout the season for Kibu Vicuna’s side, always bringing something different with his clever work down the wings. But, in order to earn a move to one of the giants of Indian football, he had to overcome many obstacles at the beginning of his career.
Khel Now caught up with the player in an exclusive chat after the end of the Indian football season. Born in the football-loving state of Kerala, he found a love for athletics and the beautiful game very early in his career. “Since my childhood, I’ve been an athletics player. I loved to partake in activities like 100m running, long jump as well as 400m in school. So, our school management founded their own football team and that time someone approached me to join the football team. That was my initiation to the game.”
However, it wasn’t until his maturing years that Britto PM thought of the beautiful game as his profession. He explained, “It was when I was in the 10th standard that I started to believe in professional football as a career. I played for Kerala at the junior nationals twice and after that, I got selected for the U-19 I-League with Viva Kerala and later Pune FC as well.”
Britto has been inspired by the guidance of many football coaches in his life, starting from his father to his most recent coach Kibu Vicuna. He spoke about their influence and said, “My first coach was my dad, he taught me everything after my games. My navy coach Abhilash helped me a lot and urged me to join the Indian Navy and also play professional football at the same time.”
“I remember Bino George as he helped me from my childhood. I’m also thankful to my senior team coaches, Khalid Jamil, Sankarlal Chakraborty, Kibu Vicuna and all Mohun Bagan officials.”
Britto did partake in junior level football, but a few setbacks are the reasons why he became a late bloomer in the sport. He opined, “One of the reasons for being a late bloomer is that when I got injured, I did not take proper rest. I continued playing. That’s why I had two operations on my leg at the age of 19, when I was played for Pune FC. So, that kept me out for some time and it was a big challenge also to come back into the game again after that.”
The winger received his big break at Churchill Brothers in the 2017-18 I-League season, being a pivotal domestic player for them. He opened up on his early time at Churchill saying, “When I joined Churchill Brothers, I didn’t get a chance in the first five matches and they lost those matches.”
“So, after that, they shuffled the team and I got my chance to play against East Bengal. In that game, I proved myself with my first goal and assist for the club and we earned a point from that. I think that is when I received my big break at Churchill.”
“Churchill Brothers was one of my favourite teams ever and I also love to play for Goan teams. That is my first senior I-League team as well. So, Churchill helped me to learn what professional football is about and its helped to my career as well. Churchill is very special to my career and I’m really thankful to the team management and coaches.”
After impressing at Churchill, Britto earned his move to Mohun Bagan and he talked about how it happened, “When we (Churchill) played against Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in the 2017-18 I-League season, I played really well in those matches. I think that’s what impressed them to sign me.”
However, Britto’s life with the Mariners was topsy-turvy, with Bagan managing a mid-table finish in one and winning the championship in another season. The 27-year-old spoke on this as he said, “Yes, in the two years at the club the results were absolute polar opposites. In the first season, we won the Calcutta Football League and lost the I-League and in the second we lost the CFL and won the I-League. But I will think we had a very strong squad in my second year. As you know sports is like this – sometimes we lose and sometimes we win!”
Britto also had praise for former head coach Kibu Vicuna, who played a huge role in evolving the Mariners into champions. He said, “Kibu vicuna is very intelligent and the most technical coach I have ever played under. His specialty is that he tends to watch and read every single movement in the games and teach us our mistakes, while being extremely cool and calm about it.”
Like most players in Indian football, Britto is also grateful for being able to play in the Kolkata Derby with Bagan. He recalled his experience saying, “I will say that playing in the Kolkata Derby is one of the biggest achievements in my career. Playing in front of those set of fans, it made me feel like I was playing in the foreign leagues. I’m really happy to be blessed by the derby.”
However, the winger isn’t best pleased with the Mohun Bagan-ATK merger, indicating that it could badly affect the careers of many players. He said, “I am not happy with ATK and Mohun Bagan merging. It was a very bad decision on behalf of both teams, which will badly affect the careers of many players.”
As well as being a football player, Britto is also part of the Indian Navy and also plays football for them. He talked about his experience with the Navy sserting, “Working for the Indian Navy for me is more than my dream work. It’s my dream to work for our nation as a military man. I feel really proud for being able to achieve this. The Indian Navy gave me a second life.”
“After I joined the Indian Navy, I played in the Santosh Trophy three times and therefore in the I-league for three seasons. So the Indian Navy is main reason for the success of my football career.”
Finally, Britto voiced how special it feels to be part of the final Mohun Bagan team to participate in the I-League in their famed history. He said, “Yes, I’m really happy to have the tag of I-League champion etched into my career. It is one of my best memories to have played in a team with esteemed Spanish coaches and Spanish players. I will always remember this. It will always remain a special experience in my career. I must relay my thanks to each and everyone who worked in Mohun Bagan with me.”