Mashoor Shareef- There is a possibility of Chennai City FC playing in ISL

IFTWC recently had a conversation with the Chennai City FC number 6 Mashoor Shareef about his past and his plans for the upcoming season.

From Manchester United Kavungal to Chennai City FC, it has been quite a journey for Mashoor. He operates as a central midfielder/center forward. Born in Malappuram, the football capital of Kerala, Mashoor had only one sport in mind. Like most of Kerala’s talents, he also is a product of the renowned Sevens football league. When asked what drove him to pursue football as a career Mashoor thanked his local club.

“My Place is well known for Sevens Football. In my childhood me and my friends always played football, we didn’t like any other sport. ‘Manchester United Kavungal’ is my local team- their support and motivation helped me become a professional footballer.”

Good infrastructure and league structure contributes tremendously towards the development of players. Especially the state leagues, that are of huge importance as they act as feeder clubs to the top division league. Kerala is one of India’s top footballing states, still there are a lot of things in which it has to excel. Mashoor pointed out some factors that are hindering the growth of footballers in Kerala.

“Kerala supersedes other footballing states. Comparing to Goa and Kolkata, here number of footballers are very high but they are not getting many opportunities. Kerala division football should be improved. For example, all games should be 90 minutes, the format should include home and away matches. And most importantly the infrastructure facilities should be upgraded.”

Chennai City FC in recent years have unearthed plenty of talents. Like Indian International Michael Soosairaj and Chennaiyin FC full back Edwin Sydney Vanspaul. It seems as though they have found the formula to produce such players. Chennai City FC has done an outstanding job in promoting the growth of local players. When asked what is behind the success of the football club Mashoor said.“Its all because of our boss Rohit Ramesh. He wants to give more opportunities to local players. Chennai City’s main aim is to provide chance to homegrown talents.”

In the 2018 I-League Mashoor spent majority of the season on the bench but this season he managed to play almost all games. Vast advancement in his game was evident which has now slowly tilted him towards the route of those who have already made it big from Chennai City FC. This season has given Mashoor the confidence to dream big and to keep working even harder.

“At the end of season 2018 Chennai City appointed Akbar Nawas as the new head coach. He changed the whole game plan and playing style. I was able to get in his squad. i worked very hard for it and that changed my fortunes and helped me become a better player.”

2018 season was triumphant for Chennai City FC as they edged out Kolkata giants East Bengal to win the I-League title. Winning it in front of their own supporters made it even more special. The title didn’t come effortlessly, as Chennai City put in a lot of effort into their scouting. Through their scouting they were able to find top notch foreigners from Spain. Contribution of these foreigners along with that of the local players made Chennai city the champions. Winning the I-League is an unforgettable moment for Mashoor. This is what the 27 year old had to say about the 2018-19 season.

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Chennai City’s Singaporean tactician Akbar Nawas

“Teamwork made us the champions. Akbar Nawas’s plan changed our fortunes. The Spanish players were amazing and they were able to connect with the local players very well. This connection made us unstoppable. Winning the league in front of our fans felt like winning the UEFA Champions league!. As a professional footballer its important to win trophies in your career so it’s an unforgettable moment for me.”

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Chennai City FC 2018 I-League Champions

in 2019 top Swiss football club FC Basel joined hands with Chennai City FC. Basel has a magnificent youth setup. Global superstars like Ivan Rakitic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Yan Sommer have their roots at the club. The 20 time Swiss champions own 26% of Chennai City FC and are helping the Coimbatore based side to shape their future. Mashoor lauded Chennai City’s decision to tie up with FC Basel.

“It’s a good decision by Chennai to form a partnership with FC Basel. We all know FC Basel is a champions league participant and a well known club globally. Within some years FC Basel and Chennai City FC will start an academy here and it will improve the future of Indian Football.”

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FC Basel to shape Chennai City future

After the departure of Stephen Constantine, the AIFF appointed Croatian gaffer Igor Stimac. The former Croatian World Cupper brought significant changes to the blue tigers’ playing style. Under Stimac India started playing positive possession based football. In his debut tournament itself he made a lot of changes to the squad, handing debuts to 6 players in the opening match. The positive nature of Stimac has received praises from a lot of footballers and Mashoor is one of them. Playing for the National team is every footballer’s dream. For Mashoor donning National colors is the best feeling in the world.

“Like all other Indian professionals I am also waiting for my call. Igor Stimac was an amazing player in his time. He was a part of the Croatian team which finished 3rd place in the 1998 World Cup. And now he is proving his experience in coaching by managing the Indian National team. India is getting better and better under him. As a coach, we need to give him more time to prove himself.”

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Igor Stimac with Croatian Superstar Luka Modric

There has been a lot of rumours about Mashoor’s next destination. with his strong showing in 2019 season a move to India’s Top division league is highly likely. When asked about his next destination Mashoor replied.”I am looking forward to playing in the ISL. Chennai City FC and some other ISL clubs are giving me good offers for next season, and there is a possibility that Chennai City will play in the ISL. So, nothing is decided yet. Let’s hope for the best.”

IFTWC would like to wish Mashoor Shareef all the very best for his future.

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