Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], January 2 (ANI): Bangladesh national team skipper Jamal Bhuyan anticipates that the I-League will be fiercely-contested and 'amazing' this season once it kicks off on January 9.
"I would urge every supporter to follow the I-League from the get-go on 9th January. It's going to be amazing this year," the 30-year-old defensive midfielder said in a freewheeling AIFF TV interview.
The talented midfielder, who earlier had a professional stint with FC Copenhagen, has inked a contract with the century-old Kolkata outfit Mohammedan Sporting Club ahead of the forthcoming I-League 2020-21.
"I researched about Mohammedan SC and realised the stature and the legacy of the club. I came to know about their rich history. I spoke with our national team assistant coach Stuart Watkiss and he informed me about the stature of the club and their reputation in India. Then, I made my decision," he stated.
After winning the I-League Qualifiers in October, the Black Panthers have been promoted to the I-League after six years and they are already being seen as one of the title contenders. Bhuyan, who is fondly referred to as JB6 by the supporters, felt this is "not normal" and a "huge thing" for the club.
"Mohammedan Sporting Club have earned promotion to the I-League after a long gap and people have already started talking about winning the title. That's not normal to see a newly-promoted team to be seen as the title contenders. It's huge!" he said.
Moreover, he mentioned that winning the I-League is something that they are eyeing now in the long run. But initially, they would focus on one match at a time before targeting to lift the coveted silverware in Kolkata.
"My new year resolution is to win our first match in I-League against Sudeva Delhi FC on the 9th of January. To be realistic, we'll take one match at a time. The more the games go on, the more I can say about winning the title. After ten matches, we may have a fair idea about our position. Our ultimate goal is to win the league," the Denmark-born defensive midfielder stated.
"I've looked at the other teams, but haven't gone through them and don't know much about them. Many of the clubs have recruited new players. In 2-3 weeks, we will have a clearer vision about players and teams," he added.
Mohammedan SC General Secretary Wasim Akram mentioned that Bhuyan's inclusion will play a stellar role for the Black Panthers in the league and the Bangladesh captain echoed that he will take the challenge 'head-on' and play his part to prove his worth.
Mohammedan SC is scheduled to lock horns with debutants Sudeva Delhi FC in the opening fixture of the fourteenth edition of the league at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on January 9. (ANI)