It has been a year to remember for Bengaluru FC’s midfield maestro Eugeneson Lyngdoh.
The Meghalaya-based footballer won the I-League title for the second time with the Blues and thanks to his consistent performances, became a regular member of the Indian national team. But he will play the most crucial game of his career on November 5, when Bengaluru FC take on Iraq Air Force Club in their bid to become the first Indian club to win the AFC Cup title.
Speaking to HT over the phone, Lyngdoh talked about his team’s preparations, the magnitude of the encounter and his journey with Bengaluru FC.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. How are you feeling ahead of the AFC Cup final against Iraq Air Force Club? Are you preparing for this final as any other game or are you getting the team to do anything different?
A. I am feeling quite well and the team spirit is quite good ahead of the game. Everyone is quite excited ahead of the game, but we are not getting carried away and the team is determined to produce a great performance in the final. We understand the gravity of the situation, but we are trying to approach it like any other match.
Q. How will you rate Iraq Air Force Club?
A. I am sure that they (Iraq Air Force Club) are going to be a tough team to beat and we are prepared for a tough challenge. The teams from west Asia are quite physical in their approach, but we are really happy with our preparations. We are studying their playing patterns and the most important thing for us is to be completely focused ahead of the match on Saturday (November 5).
Q. What advice did the coach (Albert Roca) have for the team?
A. The coach has been talking to every player of the team and all the footballers are quite clear about their role on the field. The final is a huge occasion for all of us and the coach has been reminding us about the focus and determination that we need to win the final.
Q. Will we see a defensive approach from Bengaluru FC in the final?
A. I think we have to be cautious as the opponents have played really well in the tournament so far and we need to find the proper balance on the field. We may have to defend from time to time, but at the end of the day, goals win matches and we need to have a positive mindset if we want to win.
Q. Do you think that the AFC Cup final is the most crucial match of your career?
A. This match will certainly be the biggest moment of my football career. I thought that the semi-final was a huge occasion for me and now, we are just 90 minutes away from creating history. We have already done a lot of hard work in this competition and it’s time to finish the job.
Q. How will you describe your journey with Bengaluru FC?
A. Joining Bengaluru FC was one of the biggest decisions, and looking back, one of the best decisions I’ve made. On the pitch or off it, the club runs things exactly the way a professional club should be run.
Q. How crucial has the Bengaluru FC coaching staff been to your development as a player?
A. I give them a lot of credit for my success. Not just me, but the entire squad of BFC feels the same way. The coaching staff enjoys a lot of respect from everyone at the club, and the best part about them is that they understand the strength and weakness of every single player.