AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: Mohammedan Sporting may have emerged as the champions of the Hero I-League Qualifier 2020 but Wasim Akram, General Secretary, Mohammedan Sporting isn’t much willing to get into celebration mode right at this very moment.
In a live chat with AIFF TV, Akram stressed that “the club needs to get back to winning ways to get the fans back.”
“Mohammedan Sporting is a club which was born out of passion. It has had a pan-India fan base since its very inception. We have started to get back our old fans, who had sort of deviated or stopped watching our matches,” he averred.
“All we need is to perform well and once we start to get trophies back in our cabinet. I think we’ll get our fans back soon and also the pan-India presence that is being referred to all the time,” he added.
“The results in the Hero I-League Qualifiers is something we are proud of. But I won’t call it a success because I feel it’s a place we deserve to be forever, and we have just reached there. Once we compete in the Hero I-League and win it, then I would label it a success,” Akram added.
The Black Panthers enjoyed an unbeaten run in the Hero I-League Qualifiers 2020 that took place from October 8-19, 2020 in Kolkata and Kalyani, also being the first sporting tournament to be held in the nation after the COVID-19 lockdown. In their penultimate game, Mohammedan got the better of local rivals Bhawanipore FC in what was a ‘virtual final’, with a 2-0 scoreline.
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🗣️ @mohammedansc_official GS @wasim_akram.sk: "We are proud of our results in the #HeroILeagueQ. But I feel it's a place we deserve to be forever and we have just reached there. Once we compete in the #HeroILeague and win it, then I would label it a success." #IndianFootball ⚽
“The fans were ecstatic. The kind of response we got from them was spectacular. I feel that their expectations were very humble and all they expected from us was to get the club to the Hero I-League,” he maintained.
“I never felt that they asked for anything out of proportion. They know we have to cross each hurdle one at a time. After we qualified the fans responded very well. Now, we have to look at the future and think about winning the Hero I-League. This is just one step forward,” he averred.
“Qualifying to the Hero I-League means a lot. From the time I joined this club, looking at the support base and the pan-India presence we have, I realized that playing in the 2nd Division is not something we want to do. The relation of the Hero I-League and Mohammedan is far from over. Now, we are here. Better late than never. We were unbeaten in the qualifiers and we want to carry forward the same spirit and energy in the I-League as well,” the club General Secretary opined.
“In Hero I-League, there would be more number of games. We have room for little mistakes. There will be time to strategize about different matches. The Hero I-League opportunity to strategize and play games accordingly. I also understand it would be like a marathon and there would be fierce competition. We need to strategize and play accordingly.”
The 32-year-old who holds an International degree in psychology also hailed the effort put in by his team of administrators, who worked tirelessly to develop a ‘winning mentality’ at the club.
“We have a wonderful team of young administrators who don’t fear anything. When I started as an administrator I felt the club was lacking the mentality of winning. We got in and tried to build a mentality that we have to win at all times — be it any match at any level.”
“The core team has been there for about two years and our motto has been to go and win. We have to show the world and the country what the club is all about,” he quipped.