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The India international and Chennaiyin FC’s playmaker Harmanjot Khabra, who is currently playing for the, I league champions Bengaluru FC is all set to face his former Club and I league giant Kingfisher East Bengal FC.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) February 22, 2017
The last season’s I league champions will host the Kolkata based I league giant East Bengal FC on February 25, 2017 at the Kanteerava Stadium and the former Punjab born East Bengal midfielder Khabra, who is currently playing for the Bengaluru FC is all set to face his former Club in hopes of stemming his current club to a win, whilst leading the Blues to close in on fourth-placed Shillong Lajong in the Hero I-League table.
And in an exclusive interview with www.the-aiff.com, the Indian international and former East Bengal man discusses at length his move to JSW Bengaluru FC, the match, his journey and a lot more. EXCERPTS:
*A long stint with Kingfisher East Bengal, now you are going to play them first at your ‘home’. What’s striking you most before February 25?
My time with East Bengal was good while it lasted. I’ve moved on and now the only thing on my mind before the game is to do everything we can to come out of our winless streak.
*Earlier, you have disclosed that you want to win the Hero I-League, hence Bengaluru FC. The scenario doesn’t look very satisfactory now. What’s your take?
That dream hasn’t changed and as long as we are in the race mathematically, we will be gunning for the title. It’s been a tough phase and injuries and suspensions have only added to our troubles. But we have been playing good football and I’m confident we can change things.
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*KEB are gunning towards their first Hero I-League under Trevor Morgan. Do you regret your move to BFC now?
I have never regretted any decision I have taken in life and this is no different. The race for the title is still wide open. I am enjoying my football at BFC and coach Albert Roca trusts me which is very important. The League aside, we also have the AFC Cup to play for. So, there’s a lot of football left to play.
*Every coach has praised you for the thankless job you carry out. How has been your chemistry with Albert Roca so far?
Like I said, the coach trusts me and that gives me a lot of confidence. I want to use all my experience to help the team and more importantly the defence given the number of injuries we have been hit with in that department. The coaching staff has been wonderful since day one as have my teammates.
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*How are the West Block Blues different from the noisy Kolkata crowd?
They are a fantastic set of fans and there is no doubt about that. What I like about them the most is the way they back the team during tough phases. They have every right to be disappointed but they keep it aside and always clap for us, send us encouraging messages and unfurl inspirational banners. I enjoy playing for them. They have set a standard in the country.
*On Feb 12, after a long while #KolkataDerby was missing Khabra. Was Khabra missing #KolkataDerby too?
Like I said, I have done my time in Kolkata and enjoyed it. I enjoyed being part of derbies but I’ve moved on to a new challenge now and Bengaluru FC has all my attention and focus.
*Once you have thought of giving up football. Since then East Bengal Captaincy, consecutive CFL wins, finally moving to Bengaluru FC. How do you sum up your journey so far?
The journey is still on and it is one that I am enjoying a lot. I still have a lot to give and I am around a team that is happy to take advantage of that. Every club has been an experience and a learning for me.