Odisha appoints Vinit Rai, Hector Rodas, and Victor Mongil as captains

Vinit Rai featuring for Odisha in the 2020-21 ISL season

Odisha has appointed three captains ahead of the 2021-22 Indian Super League season with young Indian midfielder Vinit Rai named alongside the Spanish central defensive duo of Hector Rodas and ISL winner Victor Mongil.

After finishing rock bottom of the 2020-21 ISL points table, Odisha appointed former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid legend David Villa as their head of ‘Global Football Operations’. The FIFA World Cup-winning striker has helped the club make top recruitment in the transfer market as multiple experienced Spanish names have joined the Juggernauts ahead of the new ISL season.

With former Newcastle United defender and Odisha’s skipper for the 2020-21 ISL season, Steven Taylor returning to Wellington Pheonix, Odisha sought a process to appoint a new leadership group amongst the squad. 

Whilst explaining the process of naming the new skipper, assistant coach Kino Garcia said,

“Every player had to put three names in a paper and drop it into a box that I had kept. According to the rule, every player had to put at least one name of an Indian player along with the foreign players. The coaching staff also took part in the voting process.”

Also read: Mumbai City appoints Des Buckingham as head coach with Sergio Lobera stepping down from the position 

After the voting was completed, the three captains were announced and head coach Kiko Ramirez was delighted with the results as the Spaniard praised the leadership qualities of all three players.

He said,

“Vinit (Rai) is a player with a lot of experience in the Hero ISL. He is also respected by all the players. He can help us in bringing together all the players and ensure a good season. Victor is an example in the team, hardworking with a good attitude, and with experience of winning the Hero ISL title. Hector is a natural leader and has a lot of experience in top leagues in Europe and can help the team and his teammates a lot.”

Young central midfielder Vinit Rai has been part of the squad since the start of the 2017-18 ISL season and will be looking ahead to lead the team in his fifth season at the club.

He said,

“First of all, I want to thank all the boys who have voted for me and shown trust in me. I am so grateful to get chosen amongst the three captains. I am really happy and excited about the season. This is a new season with a new coach and new faces in the team.”

The 24-year old midfielder talked about the importance of hard work and Rai would be more than committed to converting it into actions when he contributes to both attack and defense in the upcoming ISL season.

He said,

“The most important thing is to work hard and put effort. If we work hard and put our 100% effort into every training and in every ISL game we will get our results and we will do whatever it takes to win the games because I strongly believe that the harder we work the luckier we get. I strongly believe that we will do something big and fight for the title this season. Our job is to work hard and rest with God’s blessings nothing is impossible.”

Also read: Odisha signs Malaysian midfielder Liridon Krasniqi on loan 

Victor Mongil won the ISL in the 2019-20 season with ATK and the central defender would be looking to achieve the same feat as the captain of an ISL club when Odisha starts their 2021-22 ISL campaign against 2018-19 ISL champions Bengaluru on 24th November.

He said,

“I am very happy to be one of the captains of the team. I want to thank my teammates for giving me this responsibility to defend the values ​​of the club and the squad both on the field and outside and lead by example.  We have a very exciting year, with very ambitious goals and we will do everything possible to achieve it.”

Hector Rodas is looking ahead to play his first season in Indian football and the experienced defender would be looking ahead to lead the team and share his experiences of playing against world-class forwards like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Karim Benzema.

The 33-year old said,

“It’s a pride and a responsibility for me. My teammates trust me and I am here to help them in any way I can. I will share my experience in football so that they continue to grow as players. My level of presence, commitment, demand, and competence will be maximum. I am sure that together we will form a great family.”