The 22-year-old spoke about his journey in Indian football so far, fans’ support and City Football Group takeover.
Sarthak Golui enjoyed an impressive debut season at Mumbai City FC last season. He put in commendable defensive displays and showed his resourcefulness by slotting in seamlessly at both centre back as well as right back.
However, growing up, like most other kids, he started playing as a striker. That was before his coach asked him to play in defence due to his good height and other notable physical attributes. Interestingly, his father also played football and was a central defender himself during his playing days. Sarthak Golui views him as a role model and hails him as the reason for becoming a footballer.
“I started football because of my father,” the defender began. “He has been very supportive and a huge inspiration to me. My dad was a defender too and it is because of him that I play centre back as he said that he could help me if I play in that position. When I was a kid, I used to go with him at a nearby ground to play football. There I fell in love with the sport.”
“My dad even made a ground for me in front of my house. He had a coaching camp there for the local kids and me so that I could practice. It was his dream too, to open a coaching camp to support local kids and motivate as well as help them to play football. My dad also used to come with me to every tournament regardless of where it was in Kolkata.”
To this date, his father continues to play an active part in his footballing journey by calling him after each match to analyse his game and highlight any mistakes he might have made and work on potential areas that require improvement. “He analyses my entire game. Even I don’t remember them but he remembers what mistake I did in what minute, he remembers everything, which I get a scolding for.”
His journey began in 2016, when Golui made his I-League debut with Mohun Bagan. However, the youngster found regular minutes on the field hard to come by with a number of prominent names ahead of him in the pecking order. He ended up making only two appearances for the Mariners before departing on loan to FC Pune City in the hope of more playing time.
To his credit, he succeeded in doing just that as Sarthak Golui managed to force his way into the first team at Pune City. He went on to make 15 appearances for the Stallions, while also contributing on the attacking end with one goal and three assists to his name in the 2017-18 edition of the ISL. He notched two more assists across 12 games in the following season before moving to Mumbai City in 2019.
Sarthak Golui recalled the circumstances surrounding his departure from the now erstwhile FC Pune City. “In my second season at Pune City, my contract was expiring and I had no idea what was going to happen and I think even the owners weren’t sure. So I got an offer from Mumbai City FC. Their officials contacted me and displayed trust in me from the start, made me feel that I am needed in their team.”
“Jorge Costa was the coach then. I had played against their team and I thought that it could be the next stop in my career, where I could further improve my game. I thought the move would be good for me, Mumbai is a big city too so it would be a new start for me.”
Looking back at his debut term for the Islanders, he added, “Last year was my first season here. Except the injury, everything went well. I don’t even think about that (injury) and I am trying to get back. It was a good season with Mumbai City. When I first went there, they welcomed me well, their officials, players, all were very friendly and I didn’t feel like I was joining a new team. It was a good experience and I hope that I can achieve more in my second year with them next season.”
The 22-year-old had a promising first season with Mumbai City FC as he became a key figure in the backline and repaid the faith placed in him by his new employers by making a noteworthy impact before an unfortunate knee injury ended his season.
Nonetheless, Sarthak Golui revealed that the club officials and his parents have been incredibly supportive during the recovery process, before adding that he is ‘looking forward to lift the ISL title with Mumbai City FC.’
Having donned the colours of Mohun Bagan, he sent his best wishes towards the brand-new entity and the supporters before sharing his views on the merger between ATK and Mohun Bagan.
“It is a big thing for Calcutta and Indian football. It will be fun playing against them and I am very excited coming back to Kolkata. I don’t know what will happen this year with the current situation but coming back to Kolkata, where I belong and playing against Mohun Bagan – the biggest national club of India and my former club, it will be a big honour. ATK and Mohun Bagan are both champions and their merged team will be a difficult one to face.”
Switching back to his current club, he showered praise on the West Coast Brigade for their relentless support. He assured them that he will give his best whenever he steps on the field and recognises that it is the team’s responsibility to repay the supporters for their unconditional love with good football and positive results.
Lastly, he shared his excitement at the City Football Group’s arrival and envisaged a brighter future for the club. Providing his thoughts on the takeover, the defender opined, “I am very excited to be a part of this team. They (CFG) have taken over Mumbai City for the long term, so I hope they see the potential in the team. I hope that it is effective for Mumbai and Indian football. We can see the changes in the seven teams they have taken ownership of so far and the development at those clubs.”
“Ever since the takeover, Manchester City are a completely different side so I hope we can see those changes here at Mumbai City too. I hope they have come here for the long-term and the changes that they intend to make with respect to the academies, better facilities and the changes at the grassroots level can hopefully be seen quickly. It will be very helpful for Mumbai football and Mumbai City FC,” Sarthak Golui signed off on a positive note.