The centre-back is currently recuperating from an injury he suffered prior to the tournament.

Millions of hearts were broken as the Indian football team was thrashed in its opening fixtures of the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 by Tajikistan and North Korea respectively. New head coach Igor Stimac named a quite young squad for the tournament and asserted that a larger focus is on the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Along with the inclusion of several new faces in the squad, the Croatian also called up Anas Edathodika, back from his retirement. However, the defender couldn’t feature in either of the first two games of the Cup due to an injury.

The player recently appeared for an interaction with the media as he discussed his return to the team, new coach’s system and the support from fans.

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“It feels as if my mother has given me a call back. I really want to thank the coach for allowing me this opportunity,” began Anas.

“When I took the decision to retire, I was of the thought that there are a lot of talented players defenders like Subhasish Bose, Salam Ranjan Singh and Narender Gehlot who deserve to play for the country. But on the other hand, I also wanted to finish my career on a positive note and so I accepted the coach’s offer to return to the team.”

Moving on, the 32 year-old spoke about how Stimac is an ideal coach for the development of youngsters in the national team. “Under him, the young players will definitely improve on their technique and physicality. Moreover, he instils a lot of confidence into the players which is a really good thing.”

“Yet I think the entire process of development of the quality of the national team will take some time. Everyone wants a change but on the same hand they need to have some patience.”

The ATK centre-back went on to heap praise on the newbies in the national team including Sahal Abdul Samad, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Manvir Singh and Farukh Choudhary for their tremendous hard work in the training sessions.

Speaking about the mood at the camp after the two losses, Anas said, “The coach is trying on an individual level to understand the problems that the players are facing and improve on the errors from the past games.”

“No one is happy at the moment and we are trying to give our everything to bring us and our fans a victory in the final fixture.”

Further, Anas also expressed his contentment in the outpour of support from the fans at the Cup saying, “It is really good to see so many people coming to watch us in a city like Ahmedabad. I personally feel that there has been a considerable increase in the number of people following football in the country since the Indian Super League (ISL) was established and it is good to see the number increasing every year.”

“Fans are our strength and we need more of such support from them,” was his message to all the football lovers in the country.