Durand Cup 2022: “The ISL teams are good and so am I”

The Mohammedan Sporting Club (MDSC) has shaken off its two-decade slumber and is now in the midst of a resurgence. At the forefront of their new force on the pitch is their Trinidadian goalkeeper, Marcus Joseph, who was a goalscorer during his time in India.

Joseph won the Golden Boot award in the Durand Cup and I-League last season and helped Mohammedan finish runners-up in both competitions. The 31-year-old also led his team to victory in the 2021 Calcutta Football League (CFL) Premier Division A with goals in the quarterfinals, semifinals and final.

With the new season kicking off with the 131st edition of the Durand Cup, the Muslim faithful are counting on their heartthrob Joseph to end their nine-year title streak at Asia’s oldest soccer tournament. The Black and White Brigade last won the Durand crown in 2013 under the tutelage of Sanjoy Sen.

As a reward for his consistency, the Mohammedan officials appointed Joseph as their new captain earlier this week. The Trinidad and Tobago international, successful in his new role, created some good chances, scoring an injury-time goal in Mohammedan’s 3-1 win over holders Goa FC (FCG) in Tuesday’s Durand Cup 2022 opener , August 16, at Kolkata Salt Lake Stadium.

A win in Group A’s second game against Jamshedpur FC (JFC) of the Indian Super League (ISL) on Sunday 21 August will see Andrey Chernyshov and co’s chances of progressing to the knockout rounds further strengthen.

in a (n Exclusive chat with Sportskeeda A day before the game, Joseph, who previously won the 2019 Durand Cup with Gokulam Kerala FC (GKFC), spoke about captaincy, his chances of retaining the Durand Cup Golden Boot and his impressive record against the other two giants of Kolkata, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. He also played a rapid-fire round with us.

Here are the excerpts:

Q: How does it feel to return to Kolkata after a long break and to receive the love of so many Muslim fans again?

Joseph: It’s always a great feeling to have the fans on your side. No matter how many goals you score, the most important thing is to help your team win and make the fans happy.

Q: You were in excellent form last season. How were your interactions with the club and investors at the end of the season and what convinced you to continue with Mohammedan?

Joseph: The Investors [BunkerHill] and the club officials are good people and I have a great relationship with them. If I get so much support from them, why shouldn’t I stay with Mohammedan for the next season and many more seasons to come?

Q: You were top scorer in the Durand Cup and I-League last season. In fact, no one has scored more Durand Cup goals since 2019 than you. Given the inclusion of all ISL teams, how difficult will it be for Marcus Joseph to score the most goals in this year’s Durand Cup?

Joseph: For me, the results depend on how you play on any given day. I’m preparing to get the best result every matchday. The ISL teams are good and so am I. If we stay focused and create enough chances, I will take those chances and make the most of them.

Q: Although Group A looks tough on paper, Goa FC and Jamshedpur FC field their reserve teams. In this scenario, what chance does Mohammedan have of advancing to the knockout stage?

Joseph: I don’t differentiate between the first team and the reserves. players are players. It’s a great platform for aspiring players to hone and showcase their skills.

Q: After a long time, the three Kolkata giants compete in the same tournament. You had a good record against both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan during your stint in Gokulam. How keen are you to face them again?

Joseph: As I said, in football the results depend on the day of the game. I’m pretty lucky to have great stats against these two big clubs. It’s a great feeling for any player to do so well against East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

Q: The Caribbean people generally have a relaxed attitude to life. How did you become captain? How special was it to score in your first game as Mohammedan’s full-time captain?

Joseph: It’s difficult for any player, let alone a captain, to start the new season with a goal. I wouldn’t say that people in the Caribbean are relaxed. You just need to feel comfortable first, and after that everything will be easier.

rapid-fire round

Q: Things you missed most about Mohammedan during your stay in Trinidad?

My colleagues. Without them I could not have achieved so much success. I’m very happy to be around her.

Q: What is your favorite sport besides soccer?

Cricket (grins).

Q: Who is your best friend in the Mohammedan camp?

My best friends in the Mohammedan team at the moment are Pritam Singh and Milan Singh.

Q: Your favorite cuisine in Kolkata?

I love chicken and mutton Kolkata style Biryanis.

Q: A nickname for the Mohammedan fans to cheer you on?

The Caribbean Sniper, as they say. I love the nickname (laughs)!

Q. Do you think Marcus Joseph can become the Durand Cup’s top scorer for the third year in a row?

0 votes so far

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