by Hemang Doshi
Hailing from a small town called Siolim in the North Goa district, Alesh Sawant has earned his reputation as a promising midfielder in Indian Football circuit. Alesh has gone through plenty of lows in his fledgling football career but it’s been all good lately for the 24-year-old. Though he’s yet to have a club this season, but he is determined – beyond that his goal is refreshingly simple: keep pushing.
The young Goan footballer opened up to Fisto Sports in a candid chat about his footballing journey. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about Alesh Sawant, and can take away some valuable insights from what he has to share!
Tell us about your initial football days. What was football in your childhood like? What drove you to football?
I started developing an interest for football when I was in school. My father was also a footballer and I drew inspiration to play the beautiful game from him. We used to bunk school and play football at our state ground back home in Siolim. I remember scoring and really enjoying myself. From there, I found my passion and my love for this game and I started taking active interest in following and playing football.
Is there any player that you looked up to and inspired you with your playing style and if so why?
I have always used to look up to Lionel Messi while growing up. I admire Messi for his ability to dribble past the defenders at ease, taking set pieces and scoring incredible number of goals abundantly which is always a joy to watch. I am also a left-footer like him. I get inspired from his playing style and I always try to emulate his skills on the pitch as well.
What can you tell us about your playing style – what kind of footballer are you?
My playing style comprises more of possession-based football. I like holding the ball and passing it around. I am also a set-piece specialist and love to take set pieces.
You are being seen as one of the most promising talents from Goa. How has the journey been so far? Highlight some of the high-low moments you’ve witnessed so far?
I have experienced many peaks and troughs in my footballing journey so far. My highs include winning the Federation Cup and I-League with Churchill Brothers S.C. I scored in the final of the Federation Cup to help my team clinch the title. My lowest moment was when I suffered an injury while playing for India U-23 in Czech Republic. The injury was not very serious and I regained fitness within one week but wasn’t selected for the upcoming games.
I think I have had a decent football career so far. Everyone in Goa knows me well. I feel proud, so does my father. Only 2 players have played professional football from my place. I want to keep the momentum going and play as much as I can.
On your debut season in the I-league you won the league title by producing some scintillating display? Tell us a bit about the experience you gained in the league?
I earned a lot of valuable experience from my stint in the I-League. It introduced me to the way top division football was played in India. It is much easier playing with foreigners because they guide you very well. I was training under Mr. Subhash Bhowmick back then and he really helped me a lot.
Then in the late 2017, following an injury you were out of active competition for months – how did you stay positive during those months?
Post the ankle injury in Czech Republic, I was out for 3 weeks. Although I later signed for Dempo, I did not get minutes on the pitch. I was supposed to play a game against Shillong Lajong but got infected with chicken pox just prior to that game. In all my low moments, I always think that I will get my opportunity and that my team will give me my playing time soon.
Since joining Sporting Clube de Goa you seem to be rediscovered your form. How did playing in the Goa Pro League and Goa Police Cup helped you?
Goa Pro League and Goa Police Cup helped me gain a lot of experience. I was the top scorer for FC Bardez in the Goa Police Cup and was also named the player of the tournament. I was then able to carry on this momentum later while playing for Sporting Club De Goa.
To make it to the ISL demands the application of a lot of improvisations from you. Have you been working on any variation lately?
Everyone wishes to play in the Indian Super League and I also aim to do that. I have been training rigorously and have prepared myself well for all my future challenges.
What are your hopes for your footballing career, is there a level you would like to achieve?
I just want to keep on playing the beautiful game. Never in my entire life have I thought of quitting. Even if I do not get my playing time, I keep pushing myself.
Finally, message for budding footballers in Goa?
I would just like to tell them this – Don’t quit and keep playing. Generally, in Goa, young players play for 2-3 years and eventually quit. That’s not the correct approach in my opinion. When you have got ability, you should keep pushing yourself and play. Your time will come.
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