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From Ambarnath to South Mumbai, Farukh continues to travel places

THE ASIAN AGE. | IRFAN HAJI
Published : Feb 1, 2018, 12:25 am IST
Updated : Feb 1, 2018, 12:26 am IST

Intially it was a tough decision for him to play in Kashmir considering the cold climate during peak season.

Farukh Choudhary in action
 Farukh Choudhary in action

As a school kid Farukh Choudhary’s regular journey from Ambarnath to South Mumbai and Borivali was over 50 kilometres. After growing up, he has continued to travel, but this time, from one corner of the country to another to play professional football.

Football was never alien to Ambarnath which has a number of clubs and players taking on the field in different local tournaments. But lack of opportunites meant that one rarely got beyond that. But Farukh had the spark in him as well as the determination to go places with support from his father.  

“It’s really been a great journey from the time when all this started in Ambarnath, with my local club Diamonds. From there, playing in the MDFA for Central Bank of India, then for the Maharashtra Under-19 team, followed by my selection for the Pune FC (Under-19) in the Nationals. I then went to play second division (I-League) for Lonestar Kashmir FC when I scouted for the Indian Super League 3 by Kerala Blasters, who gave me a chance to play at such a big stage. It has not been eas, but at the end of the day, it’s been really worth it,” he said.

Intially it was a tough decision for him to play in Kashmir considering the cold climate during peak season.

But it proved to be a smart one as he represented J&K in the Santosh Trophy and his promise got noticed by the Indian Super League franchise, Kerala Blasters.

“In Kashmir...it was difficult in the beginning because it was really very cold. But later I really loved the place and the people...It’s beautiful,” he added.

He didn’t get enough games in his first season in the ISL but it didn’t matter as he soon got to represent the Mumbai FC senior team for the first time at the start of last season. But he didn’t have a good season and also Mumbai FC got relegated and later shut shop.

“I’m glad that I was a part of Mumbai FC but we didn’t have a great season. It’s really sad that it shut down! It was the only club in I-League from Mumbai,” he recalls.

But in last year’s players’ draft, new ISL franchise Jamshedpur FC picked him and he has had a fruitful season so far with two starts and came on as substitute eight times for the club already.

On Thursday it will be like a home coming for him when his franchise Jamshedpur will take on Mumbai City FC at Mumbai Football Arena. Farukh wants to leave an impact in front of Mumbai fans.

“It was really great at Kerala last season...but I’ve got more chances here to contribute for the team and I’m learning more and trying to improve myself each time I play! It will be a special game for me as it’s Mumbai! So far...I don’t have any memories here but would surely want to make one in this game,” he said.

Jamshedpur has been impressive in its first season and has conceded just 11 goals in 13 games. It remains in contention for a playoff berth. Both of Farukh’s stints in the ISL have come under English coach Steve Coppell who was Kerala Blasters manager last season and is now with Jamshedpur FC.

“The first thing I would like to say about Jamshedpur FC is that whatever we do this season will be history. And I’m really happy to be a part of this team. I think we are doing great. The best thing about our team is unity. We all stand for each other...no matter if we win or lose.

“And I don’t think talking about Gaffer (Steve Coppell) will ever be enough. This is my second year with him and I have really learned a lot as a professional player and also as a human being. He’s a coach that every player would love to have.” he said.

With his home city hosting many national senior team’s camps under Stephen Constantine, Farukh hopes to be previleged to be part of these camps sometime soon.

“It has really been great till now and I hope it just gets better. Who doesn’t want to play for the country. It’s an honour, I’m just waiting for my turn. I would be happy to train under him and be a part of the national team,” he signed off.

Tags: professional footballers' association, i-league, ambarnath, indian super league