Mohun Bagan Super Giant signs former Goa defender Anwar Ali
The 22-year old has put pen to paper on a multi-year contract keeping him at the club for a considerable period of time.
“I had a childhood dream to play for one of the football giants in Kolkata and Mohun Bagan is one of the oldest clubs in India. Many of our football legends played for this club. It’s going to be exciting to sport the Green & Maroon jersey in the coming season. I got many messages from the fans and I am overwhelmed to know about their interest in me.”
Ali also talked about his new teammates and promised to give his best for the fans and the team ahead of the tenth edition of the top-division league.
“MBSG has got a great team with some fantastic footballers. I will get opportunities to learn a lot from them. It’s a challenge for me to get accustomed to a great team like this. I want to give my best to make everyone happy.”
The Kolkata Derby has always been a dream match for Indian footballers who grew up watching local football and Anwar is no different as he aims to win his first domestic title with Mohun Bagan Super Giant.
“It’s my dream to play and win the Kolkata derby. I have won championships for the Indian team, but have never won any championship for any club team. This season, I want to become a member of the champions for Mohun Bagan. They have got a team like that.”
Anwar Ali came through the Minerva Punjab Football Academy and was soon snapped up by Mumbai City ahead of the 2018-19 ISL season but a rare heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy forced the All India Football Federation to ban the player from featuring in professional football matches.
The Punjab-born defender who featured in all of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup matches was distraught and shook the Delhi High Court about the same opining that the ban is worse than a death sentence for a player.
Soon, the ban was revoked and Ali got back to professional football. An 18-month loan spell with Goa saw Ali making 30 ISL appearances scoring his maiden goal against ATK Mohun Bagan and also provided two assists in the reverse fixture against the Mariners. The fruitful spell with the Gaurs also saw Ali make his Indian national team debut and cement a place in the starting XI.
The Mariners’ head coach Juan Ferrando praised the central defender’s passing accuracy and how it suits his playing style.
“Anwar’s style of play suits my playing philosophy completely. Anwar is a confident ball-playing central defender whom I like a lot. On top of that, he has attacking instincts and can be an asset during offensive set pieces. He will be a perfect fit for the team.”
The central defender has recently established himself as a regular in the Indian national football team forming a formidable partnership with former Mariner Sandesh Jhingan and would be a huge asset to the defending ISL champions who have recently bid farewell to two central defenders in Tiri and Slavko Damajanovic.