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  • Monday, December, 2020| Today's Market | Current Time: 10:31:28
  • Goa: FC Goa’s last game against NorthEast United saw the first ISL start for defender Aibanbha Dohling. This was his second appearance in FC Goa colours in the first three games after the gaffer entrusted him to keep things in check at the back against Bengaluru in the season-opener as the Gaurs went on the charge to drag things back. 

    Aiban’s perseverance is finally paying off since joining the Gaurs in the summer of 2019.

    “It’s a great feeling to have my first start. I would have loved to have started on a winning note, but I am delighted with the way we played, and a win is surely just around the corner,” said the defender following Monday’s game against NorthEast United. “It’s always a great feeling to be on the field and defend the club colours. And the wait has been worth it. I believe my best days lie ahead and hopefully with FC Goa.”

    Aiban though wasn’t able to finish the game off as cramps got the better of him. He was quick to allay any fears of a long layoff though, saying, “It was humid and unfortunately, I suffered a little cramp on my calf. (It’s) nothing serious. (I’m) feeling a lot better now. This week gives me the chance to recover and train. And I am positive that I will be able to contribute as we go onto the next game against Kerala on Sunday.”

    A long wait

    Last season saw the arrival of Dohling to the shores of Goa. The man from Meghalaya impressed all and sundry with his displays in the colours of Shillong Lajong in the I-League.

    His resolute displays at Shillong led to a number of ISL clubs in pursuit of the defender. AIban though chose to sign for FC Goa – stating that it was the style of play and professionalism shown by the club over the years as the biggest draws for him when it came to him to make the big move.

    The first season in FC Goa colours was a tough one for Aiban. With Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena firmly fixed at the centre of defence, it was an uphill task for him to stake a claim. And thus, a long wait to get on to the pitch in FC Goa colours ensued.

    That break finally came in Goa’s final league game against Jamshedpur last season, when he came on as a substitute. And then things changed. The big reshuffle ahead of the season for the Gaurs worked out much to the benefit of the 24-year-old who has patiently been waiting for his chance.

    “It was tough to have to wait on the sidelines. No footballer wants to be away from the action, from the field, so yes it was hard. I want to help the team as much as I can, on and off the field,” remarked Aiban. “I’m a positive person so I kept myself focused in every training session and knew my chance would come. I didn’t slow down during the off-season. I kept my focus and now the time has come to show what I am capable of.”

    Patience, the key

    Just like his start to his FC Goa career, Aiban also advocated patience when it comes to the Gaurs campaign this season. The new-look team has dominated possession for most of the games but are yet to record a win.

    “This year, the start hasn’t been the best for us. We’re a new team and sometimes it takes a while for things to start clicking,” opined Aiban. “However, with the quality of players we have, I genuinely believe are a good team and will eventually get the results everyone wants.”

    Working under new head coach Juan Ferrando has also been something that Aiban has really been enjoying and he sounded out as to how the Spaniard is working with him and the team to improve matters.

    “Juan (Ferrando) is a great coach. He’s been putting in some great work in training and has helped me a lot tactically in my position. He has given me a lot of confidence. I’m going to continue giving my all and learning as much as I can from him,” added Aiban. “I’m happy with the opportunities that I’m getting and hope the coach keeps on believing in me.”

    After putting in two commendable performances at the back, the man from Meghalaya will have his opportunity to shine again on Sunday, this time against Kerala Blasters.

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