The former Mumbai FC player, currently representing Delhi Dynamos, is looking forward to the ISL game against Mumbai City FC at his home on Friday.
The Mumbai-based Delhi Dynamos defender, is looking forward to playing at the familiar Mumbai Football Arena on Friday. His new franchise meets Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League match. Chawdhary last played for city based I-League club Mumbai FC which has since shut shop after its relegation last season.
“Playing at home is always an added advantage for any player. Have played at the Mumbai Football Arena in the last season, I am looking forward to playing in my home town, and it’s a great ground to play on,” he said.
The tall, well-built and experienced player, served his I-League teams well as a utility player and had his first taste of ISL with Kerala Blasters last year. He made starts in the first two games for Dynamos and since then has come in as substitute in a couple of games. He knows the importance of getting more playing time and is hopeful of starting on Friday.
“This ISL season is an extremely crucial one for me and I look forward to playing as many matches as I can. Playing well this season will only lead to new and better opportunities next year. The highest goal though is to play for the country and don the national colours as soon as possible,” he added.
Chawdhary feels there is no difference between playing in the I-League and the ISL as ‘playing for the team is more important’ for him. Though he admits that playing under Spanish coach Miguel Angel Portugal has helped him improve his game.
“I have been extremely lucky to have played under Khalid Jamil and Santosh Kashyap (in Mumbai FC), who have been great mentors and have guided, moulded and got the best out of me for the team. Playing under Miguel Angel Portugal has been a different experience, as getting accustomed to his style of play has helped me better my game and develop as a player,” he said.
Chawdhary relishes his positive experience with Dynamos. “Our pre-season in Spain and Qatar saw us grow stronger as individuals and more so as a team. The pre-season contributed a lot towards each of us understanding each other and moving from being just players to becoming good friends and teammates,” he observed.
After a few great seasons, Delhi Dynamos haven’t been able to take off yet. They have just one win to show in six games but their Mumbai defender is definitely hopeful for a win against Mumbai City FC on Friday.
“In the matches played so far, we have always had control of the game but have unfortunately conceded goals, which has cost us dear as we have dropt points. Playing against Mumbai, we again look forward to playing our game, controlling things and aim for three points so as to turn the momentum for us,” he said.
Pratik began his professional career with Bank of India and the Union Bank Of India, which saw him rocket ahead to playing the I-League for clubs like Air India, Rangdajied United FC, Mohun Bagan, Mumbai FC and then being slotted for Kerala Blasters, and this year for the Delhi Dynamos.
Closure of Mumbai FC not end of the road: Pratik
Chawdhary was one of many Mumbai FC players who had to look for other options after Mumbai FC was relegated last season and rumours of its closure started circulating. Pratik admits that playing for Mumbai FC was a matter of pride and honour, and seeing it struggling was painful.
“Playing for your own city has a pride of its own. The experience of playing for Mumbai FC was a matter of pride and honour. It was really painful to see the team struggle last year as things didn’t go as per our plan. In fact, they went out of hand leading to the team getting relegated and then shut down. But having said all that, I wish to inform you that all the players at Mumbai FC put nothing less than their 100 per cent for the team but just could not turn the tide in our favour.
But he feels that all is not lost for the aspiring footballers in Mumbai after closure of its only I-League club.
“The closure and non availability of an I-League club does not mean that they give up but look upto many other players like Jayesh (Rane), Ashu (Ashutosh
Mehta), Rahul (Bheke), Kunal (Sawant), Darren (Caldeira), Keegan Pereira, Shilton (D’Silva) and Kean (Lewis) to name a few, who made it up the ranks, playing wherever they got a chance and proving that hard work is all it takes to make the impossible possible.”