The Mariners’ new signing talked about himself, his new club and the Indian leagues on the whole.
Churchill Brothers might’ve experienced a harrowing relegation from the I-League, but for Britto PM, his club’s sorrow resulted in his own boon and allowed him to rise through to become one of the most promising wingers of the Indian Football season. He bloomed late into the campaign and caught the eye of many, thanks to his work on the left wing, with his pace and eye for goal making him an asset for the Goan side.
The pacy winger would also go on to have a prolific time in the Super Cup, impressing against Delhi Dynamos, before falling prey to Mohun Bagan. But, his hard-working performance against the Mariners caught the eye of club officials, who signed him up quickly and made him a replacement for Nikhil Kadam. Britto is now preparing for life in a “big club” like Bagan, who will hope he can light up their attack with his fantastic ability. As he begins his career with the Mariners, Khel Now had an exclusive chat with the former Churchill Brothers winger, who opened up about life as an Indian football player.
Britto PM has taken a big step forward in moving from Churchill Brothers to Mohun Bagan and talking about how he felt on taking that huge leap he said, “Mohun Bagan is one of the best clubs in Indian football. They have a really glittering history and playing for them is a dream for everyone in Kerala.”
He continued, “Yes, Mohun Bagan can mount a serious challenge for both the CFL and I-League this season. We’ve built a really strong unit and we’ll do our best to win both.”
Britto has some big shoes to fill in the Bagan team this season, as after the departure of Kadam and Sony Norde, he will be under pressure to perform at the highest level. Talking about whether he can perform equally well he said, “Yes, I am under a bit of pressure to perform well at the club. Actually, I was in the same batch as Nikhil Kadam at Pune FC and we’ve played together in the past.”
The new Mohun Bagan signing had some kind words for the Mecca of Indian football
“For Sony Norde, he’s a very big player and I’ll try to perform as well as him, but I think I can perform equally good as Nikhil did last season. I have it in myself to make that left wing spot my own this season.”
The prolific winger spoke about what he felt is the difference between football in Goa, as compared to that in Kerala and Kolkata as he said, “Amongst the places I’ve played in, Kolkata has to be the biggest one for football.”
He added, “I’ve played in Kerala and Goa, but I feel like Kolkata has the warmest reception for a footballer. I have fans messaging me on social media about how they can’t wait to see me in action and I feel really well with that. I’ll try my best in performing in Kolkata, but there’s a real difference in football following here than that in Goa or Kerala.”
Britto broke through the ranks at Churchill Brothers last season and had a superb time playing in the I-League. Talking about his motivation he said, “Actually, I didn’t get a chance to play in the first five matches of the season. After losing the five matches, I had to go to play for the Navy because it was an obligation in my contract to go and play for them. I was extremely disappointed by not getting selected in the first five matches and I was not motivated at all then.”
Britto performed really well in the Super Cup and was one of Churchill’s best players in the tournament. He spoke about how he felt playing against bigger opposition in the tournament and whether or not it can help Indian football develop in the near future. He said, “I played well against Delh i(Dynamos) and was extremely motivated to play to my best in the Super Cup.”
He continued, “Right now, the ISL is more popular than the I-League. But, in the Super Cup, many ISL teams were defeated by I-League ones, as Churchill defeated Delhi and Chennaiyin were also defeated by Aizawl. I feel like a tournament like the Super Cup is very good right now as it gives more players the chance to attain popularity and take big steps forward in their careers.”
Britto PM played in the Santosh Trophy for three years and attained much success at that, but he had some interesting comments on the stature of the tournament. He said, “Santosh Trophy draws absolutely zero interest. Many years ago, it was one of the most prestigious tournaments in Indian football, but that reputation has disappeared now.”
He continued, “I’ve played in the Santosh Trophy for three years, but not even a single player from my time got recognition on a national level. Only Kerala and Kolkata players have been recognized this time, with Kerala Blasters and Mohun Bagan signing some of the players.”
“When we played in Punjab and Mumbai in my time, absolutely nobody came to watch the matches. While some players might be gaining recognition now, the reality is that absolutely no importance is given to the Santosh Trophy these days.”
The former Churchill Brothers player also had some interesting things to say about the Santosh Trophy
The Bagan winger has worked under many coaches in his career, but he holds one coach in high regard as he explained, “My favorite coach in my career has to be Bino George. He was my coach when we both weren’t in the I-League, as I worked under him during my Santosh Trophy days. So, during my days playing for Viva Kerala and Pune FC, Bino Sir helped me a lot and I hold him in high regard.”
Like many others coming up in Indian football, Britto also has a fascinating story on his background and what inspired him to become a footballer. He said, “I’m actually from the beachside as my house was just close to the beaches. So, right from my youth days, we started playing football on the beach because of the obsession with football in Kerala. I got further motivated by playing with some senior players who had played in the Santosh Trophy and watching them I became inspired to become a footballer.”
Finally, Britto spoke about his aspirations for the future and on the hot topic of whether he sees Mohun Bagan playing in the ISL in the near future. He said, “My aspirations are to definitely play in the ISL in the next few years. Mohun Bagan can definitely play in the ISL and have the squad to perform well in it as well.”
“The ISL is the top-most league in India right now. So, naturally everyone aspires to play in it and I want to play for the national team quickly too. But for now, my dream is to play for Mohun Bagan in the ISL and I think we can definitely compete at the top of the ISL if we participate in it soon.” he signed off full of hope.