Jobby Justin was a revelation for East Bengal as well as Indian football this season. His exemplary performance for the Red and Golds in the I-League 2018-19 was a head turner.
Jobby has been a part of the East Bengal squad since 2017-18. His performance in the local leagues of Kerala caught the attention of the East Bengal recruiters and he was immediately roped in.
Under Khalid Jamil, Jobby got limited opportunities to showcase his talent and was just another squad player in that season.
The Malayali striker’s fortune changed after the Calcutta Football League (CFL) 2018 season when Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez Garcia joined the team as their head coach.
Speaking to Goal, Justin explains how things changed for him after Alejandro’s arrival at the club and how the Spanish coach helped him to develop as a player.
He said, “For me personally it was a very good season. In the Calcutta Football League (CFL)I did not do very well but after Alejandro Menendez joined the team as coach things changed. We went to Malaysia for pre-season and that is where things changed. He used to call us personally pointed out our mistakes and helped us to improve them. He made a team out of us. Also our fitness trainer Carlos Nodar deserves credit as he helped us to improve our fitness. We hardly had any fitness issue throughout the season.”
With nine goals in 17 matches for the Kolkata club which includes goals in the derby against Mohun Bagan, the striker became an overnight sensation among the Red and Golds fans.
But Jobby decided to jump ship even before the season ended as another Kolkata side from the Indian Super League (ISL) ATK offered him a more lucrative deal.
On asked if it was a difficult choice to make, the striker suggested, “Yes it was difficult for me to leave East Bengal after such a good season. I used to speak to them regarding contract extension but they delayed so I decided to take ATK’s offer. I also had offers from other clubs as well.”
At ATK, Jobby will face immense competition in his position considering they have an already established Indian international striker Balwant Singh.
But he is ready to face the challenge and believes that the competition will further enhance his abilities. “Sure it will be a competition, Balwant Singh is a senior player but I will enjoy the competition. As a sportsman, you have to take challenges and face competition. I think I will learn more if I have someone to compete,” said Jobby.
Menendez last season on several occasions had suggested that a talented player like Jobby must get national team call.
Jobby himself is hopeful about a call from the newly appointed national team coach Croatian Igor Stimac. India will be taking part in the King’s Cup in Thailand followed by the Intercontinental Cup which they are hosting.
On his national team aspirations, Justin said, “I am hopeful about getting a call from the national side. A new coach (Igor Stimac) has also come so I am expecting a call. If I do well in the national camp I can get to play for the Indian team.”