Jayesh Rane and Ashutosh Mehta have been synonymous with Mumbai FC for quite a long time. They were an integral part of the Mumbai squad during Khalid Jamil’s era. With Khalid Jamil moving on and taking over the reins at Aizawl FC, both his protegees too have followed suit and joined him at the North Eastern club.
Now, they return to Mumbai to face their former team on the 22th of January at Cooperage Stadium. Both of them have grabbed a goal with Ashutosh scoring a last minute winner against Minerva Punjab.Jayesh scored against Shillong Lajong in the North Eastern Derby. We talked to both of them in a candid conversation about life at Aizawl, Khalid Jamil and fan culture in Aizawl and Mumbai.
Q. How has life been so far at Aizawl ?
Ashutosh Mehta: Chilling haha !
Life is pretty good so far. Ita��s almost been a month in Aizawl and Ia��m happy we have had positive results so far. Ita��s always good when football takes you places to experience new challenges.
Jayesh Rane: Ita��s really very good over here at Aizawl! The people over here love football and are always there to support us! It was tough to adjust in the cold weather initially but ita��s all good now!
Q. You had been with Mumbai FC for a long time, how does it feel coming back to play against your old club ?
Ashutosh Mehta: Order baclofen, order Zoloft. I have played in Mumbai all my life .Mumbai FC will always have a special place in my heart as Ia��ve grown as a player there. No matter where I go, by blood and heart I will always remain a a�?Mumbaikar a�?. Though , now Ia��m a professional footballer for Aizawl FC and would want to do the best for the team.
Jayesh Rane: I guess ita��s always special for a player to play against his former team ! I started my career there so ita��s much more special for me and also for Ashutosh!
Q. Khalid Jamil has been a mentor for you both. What are your thoughts on him and his influence on your career ?
Ashutosh Mehta: Khalid Sir has helped me a a lot through out my career. Ia��ve grown as a player and a person under him. He gave me the opportunity I needed as a junior player and Ia��m honored to be still playing under him as a player.
Jayesh Rane: Obviously Khalid Sir has had a lot of influence on my career. He was the one who picked me when i was nothing! So I owe him a lot, and thata��s the reason Ia��m here at Aizawl with him.
Q. Has Khalid Jamila��s approach of defensive play changed at Aizawl ?
Ashutosh Mehta: I dona��t think he is defensive and ita��s nothing wrong if it can win you games or grab a point. The end result is the most important thing. Every coach has a different philosophy. He wants his players to play according to the rhythm of the game. Every team is different from another and he works accordingly.
Jayesh Rane: I dona��t think he has a defensive approach to the game. It all depends on the situation. People have made up a mindset that he always plays a day game but ita��s nothing like that.
Q. How are the fans at Aizawl FC ? How do they compare to the fans in Mumbai, the Yellow Brigade, in particular ?
Ashutosh Mehta: Ia��ve been lucky enough to be loved wherever Ia��ve played. The fans are very passionate here in Aizawl similar to the ones back in mumbai. Ita��s always good when the fans have your back and support from the stands. But of course I am more attached to the yellow brigade due to the long time Ia��ve spent in Mumbai. Yellow Brigade are one of the reasons players love playing at the Cooperage. Ia��ve always played for them and now Ia��m guessing ita��s going to be a totally different scenario. Ia��ve always had their support while I was with Mumbai FC. I hope they still love me back home (laughs).
Jayesh Rane: People love football here in Aizawl and they are very passionate about it, so is the Yellow Brigade in Mumbai. So I cana��t really compare them. But I can say Yellow Brigade is very special to me as they supported me a lot when i was with Mumbai FC. Also Ia��m getting a lot of love here in Aizawl, so thata��s good.
Q. What do you expect from the new look Mumbai FC under Santosh Kashyap, an attack minded coach ?
Ashutosh Mehta: The team has begun really well and I am sure they are going to get better with the signing of foreigners. Santosh Sir is a fantastic coach and he has proved himself wherever he has gone. He knows how to get the best out of a player. Me and Jayesh are really excited to play on Sunday at Cooperage again. I wish Mumbai FC all the best and may the best team win.
Jayesh Rane: Santosh Sir is a very good coach and I like his style of play. They really did well in the recent matches that too without any foreign players. Like Ashu said, we are excited to play again at Cooperage and wish the team all the best for Sunday as well for the upcoming matches.
Q. Lastly, will you celebrate if you score a goal ?
Ashutosh Mehta: Of course not !! I am who I am because of Mumbai FC and the people of Mumbai. But I am here to win thata��s for sure.
Jayesh Rane: Of course not !!
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Watch Jayesh and Ashutosh in action as Mumbai FC take on Aizawl FC on 22 January at the Cooperage Stadium at 7:00pm. Check out the action live on Ten 2.[/box]