An eventful day brings down the nostalgia for Alvito
Thursday, July 26, 2012 Interview taken by Upamanyu Roy and Prasenjit Seal
26th July can be called as the most proudest day for the East Bengal supporters of mordern eray. In 2003, on this particular date, East Bengal lifted the famous ASEAN Cup trophy in Jakarta, thus making themselves the only club in India to win a major International trophy.
Like every year, this year, EAST BENGAL the Real POWER made their way to Kalyani, the place where the East Bengal team is currently undergoing pre-season preparations for the upcoming season, to celebrate the nith year of this famous trophy win. The day was a fantastic one as each and every player of the current team was involved into the jovial mood of the club celebrations. Although most of the players were not involved in the team winning the trophy, but since everyone had the Red and Gold colours on them, they were a part of the family.
The only player in this East Bengal team who was a part of the ASEAN Cup winning squad is Alvito D Cunha. The player who has become a son to the supporters of East Bengal and is the brand ambassador of the club started to move through nostalgia as the events unfoled in front of his eyes. While taking a swimming session, the left footed magician shared many words and memories of the historic moment with our correspondents Upamanyu Roy and Prasenjit Seal and also on his views ahead of the present season.
Real POWER : Nine years have passed since the day East Bengal lifted the famous ASEAN Cup. Tell us about your feelings. How do you feel now?
Alvito D' Cunha : This is a very proud day for me. If you look at the squad, I am the only player left who was a part of that team. This is my 12th season with East Bengal club. Its really a wonderful and a proud memory whenever I think of ASEAN and the feat we have achieved. Its a very special day for me.
Real POWER : It was 13th July, 2003. The first match was against BEC Tero Sassana, the Asian Champion's League runners. Tell us about your experience before heading into the match against such a fancied opposition.
Alvito D' Cunha: Before heading into the match we knew that they are one of the biggest clubs of Asia. But, we had belief in our abilities and that is the reason why we played well unitedly that day. But unfortunately, we lost the match by a solitary goal, but I have to state that we played very good that day.
Real POWER : In the semi-finals, you had to face a very tough situation. Debjit Ghosh suffered a life threatening injury. And moreover there was a Red card incident which reduced the team to 10 men. How did you recover from that setback?
Alvito D' Cunha: You have to remember on thing when you are playing for East Bengal. When you wear that Red and Gold colours, you have to give your 100 percent on the field. We did that and that's how we managed to keep our composure in the game.
Real POWER : The final was an amazing experience for us supporters. It was magnified from the goal where you scored with your right foot, which really is a very rare thing to see.
Alvito D' Cunha: If I remember correctly, that was the first time when I scored a goal with my right foot. And in such an important match it was simply an amazing feeling. God was with me that day. Its the only reason why I was able to score that kind of a goal.
Real POWER : Please share with EBRP an experience from the tournament which no one has ever heard before.
Alvito D' Cunha : I remember, we all knew that Chaiman was a very good player and it was very important for us to find a way to stop him in the final. Before the start of the match in the team meeting our coach Subhash Bhowmick asked, "Who will take care of Chaiman?" From the entire dressing room only one hand was seen, Shashti Dukey raised his hand and told that he will take care of Chaiman.
Real POWER : Do you have any message to our supporters in the ASEAN victory?
Alvito D' Cunha : It is great to have fans like you in East Bengal. It feels great to see them celebrating the victory for the past 9 years. Thanking you everyone for remembering this event and also for making this victory so memorable for the players.
Real POWER : We have heard that you want to concentrate more on you playing roles for East Bengal this season? How have you prepared yourself for it?
Alvito D' Cunha : Yes from the last season only I have worked a lot on my injuries and I recovered from them. I have also started practicing with the team and I am confident that I will be able to play for East Bengal this season.
Real POWER : We remember, in the last derby match you played, you had scored a goal. Are you eager to score more if you play in a derby match this season?
Alvito D' Cunha : I always like to play against Mohun Bagan as they are the most easiest opponent. Yes, I am eager to send the ball through their goal.
Real POWER : We have seen you playing a dual role from last season of being a coach as well as a player. How are you enjoying the dual responsibility?
Alvito D' Cunha : I am enjoying it to the core. It is my dream to be a professional coach in India and that is the reason why I have done a 2 month course in the UK. Next year I will be again going over there to do another course.
Real POWER : When can we see Alvito as the coach of East Bengal Football club?
Alvito D' Cunha : Coaching East Bengal will be the most proudest moment of my life. But, I have to say one thing. Being a coach is a very risky proposition. A player will stay at a club for two or three seasons even if he plays bad for sometime. But, for a coach, a couple of bad tournament means that you will be out of a job. But, considering that also it would be my dream to be the coach of East Bengal one day.
Real POWER : Tell us about your opinions on the El-Classico match of India between East Bengal and Dempo?
Alvito D' Cunha : For the last couple of seasons we are seeing that East Bengal vs Dempo matches are reaching a new height. The last match at the Salt Lake stadium which we won 2-1 was the best match ever to be played between East Bengal and Dempo. With the team we have this season, we will surely perform well against them this season also.
Real POWER : After the ASEAN Cup we havent seen East Bengal performing well in the International tournaments. What's the reason for this?
Alvito D' Cunha : Its a fact that we have not performed well in the international scenario, but you cant have a particular reason for it. Sometimes its about lack of experience and sometimes also about luck. But, this season our team is very good. If we are able to play in AFC, I am confident that we will be doing good.
Real POWER : For some seasons now, the teams from Goa are performing a lot better than the Bengal teams. They are going ahead of us. What do you have to say on this?
Alvito D' Cunha : It doesnt matter if the Goa teams win trophies. At the end of the day they can only win trophies, but what is the end product? nothing? they dont have any supporters to celebrate. Maximum of 15-20 people. No one can match the craze and love of football in Kolkata. Goan teams can win trophies, but they cannot celebrate their success.
Real POWER : Finaly, do you have any message for Real POWER?
Alvito D' Cunha : Like everytime, Real POWER is the only fans club who stays behind the players even during the toughest of times. You guys have supported us everywhere, all over India. I personally wish you all the very best and want you to carry forward the good work you are doing.
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