Exclusive: We are going to make the playoffs- Michael Soosairaj
Written by: Tushaar Sachdeva
The Jamshedpur FC ace also talked about his former side Chennai City FC, the I-League and his transition to the ISL among other things.
Arguably the hottest talent on the Indian football circuit, Michael Soosairaj has taken the fans by surprise and is known for his versatility and comfortability. He came into limelight in the I-League 2017-18 season with Chennai City FC. While the team did not perform very well in the campaign, they unearthed a gem in the process.
Voted as the I-league’s best midfielder in that season, Soosairaj signed for Jamshedpur FC in March 2018. A regular starter for the Tata Group-owned club, he has given an extra edge to the Men of Steel, amassing three goals from 11 appearances so far.
“It's like a dream come true and I am so happy to be here. It's been a good season so far and with just a few more matches left I want to play good in those matches,” Soosairaj said on his first campaign with Jamshedpur.
The last season saw most Indian clubs keen on securing his signature after his wonderful showing in the I-League with Chennai City. Talking about what made him choose Jamshedpur over other lucrative offers, the winger revealed that the owners of the Men of Steel played a big role in his decision. “I like Tata since my childhood so I chose Jameshdpur FC," he said.
Michael Soosairaj's Indian five-a-side team
Jamshedpur are just a point behind the playoffs spots and there are three more games to play for them. The season has been topsy-turvy for the team, but Soosairaj doesn’t agree as he explained, “It's not like that. As far as we are playing good. Actually, we had a lot of draws, we would have won those matches, but unfortunately they went into draws and we still have the home matches. So, I think we will win the upcoming matches.”
“Everyone is confident that we have to go for playoffs. We have a good team and good coaches. So, obviously I think we will go, we will make it,” the 24-year-old further asserted.
Talking about the transition from the I-League TO the ISL he said, “First one month for me, personally, it was difficult because I had to mingle with the new team. So now, I am very happy like the teammateS and everybody is very friendly."
Michael Soosairaj's all-time World five-a-side TEAM
This season has been a different tale for the Men of Steel, as they have gone through a complete overhaul in terms of performance. Jamshedpur have already scored more goals (23) than last season (16) and have the second lowest tally in terms of conceiding goals (16).
“Cesar Ferrando is a wonderful coach, on the field and off the field. On field, he is very strict and off the field he is very funny, very jolly. So it's good,” Soosairaj revealed.
He continued, “I learned many things from them (Spanish players/coaches). How to play the first touch, the Spanish style is about first touch. So, I am changing my playing style, that's a very important thing I learned.”
Amidst the Spanish influence at Jamshedpur, Tim Cahill too has made a great impact on the team since he joined the Men of Steel this season. Soosairaj insists that the Australian legend is a great person and always looks to teach him on and off the field. “He is very down to earth and he always teaches me something,” the 24-year-old quipped.
Talking about the I-League and its league-toppers, Soosairaj was all praise for his old club Chennai City. “They are playing really good. The season is going very well for them and they are at the top table right now. They have only few more matches left and I think they could win the title,” Soosairaj ecstatically said.
“Now actually Chennai has two big clubs, one in the I-league and one in the ISL. It's more helpful to players as they will get more opportunity to play,” the Jamshedpur FC midfielder pointed out.
He explained that the deal with FC Basel will benefit the youth of the state and the club, “It will be very useful for youngsters and all Tamil Nadu players who are not getting chances.”
Soosairaj is of the opinion that the I-League is tougher than the ISL and he explains that they get too much time on the ball in the Super League. “I would say the I-League is tougher because in the ISL, we have more time to play. But, the I-League is not like that, when you receive the ball, the man will come fast.”
The midfielder was part of the discussion ahead of the AFC Asian Cup 2019, for not being picked for the landmark tournament. However, Soosairaj is optimistic about featuring for the national team. “I am doing my best. It depends on the coach, if the coach likes me, he will take me for sure," he concluded.
Published: Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:51 AM IST