Isak Vanlalruatfela: I was in tears after getting offer from Odisha FC

Young midfielder Isak Vanlalruatfela found it difficult to contain his emotions when he heard that he was going to be a part of Odisha FC for Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. A part of Aizawl FC in the I-League last season, Isak admitted that it was always his dream to play football in the Hero ISL.

“I was literally crying when I heard that Odisha FC are interested in me. I told my family and everyone was in tears. It has been a dream to play in the ISL from the day I started watching it. Also, Odisha FC have a great interest in developing youth. So, I was very happy to sign with them,” Isak told khelnow.com.

“ISL has to be the toughest competition in India. At the club, I would be surrounded by experienced and talented players. So, I am preparing myself, both mentally and physically. I am working out a bit more than before,” he shared.

Unlike most from his home state of Mizoram, Isak doesn’t come from a sports background. “My father is in government services and my mother is a housewife. There was no sports background, but there was the love for the game. When I was about two, my father brought me a football and I started kicking it around in the house. I grew up and so did my love for the game,” the young midfielder said.

Previously a part of Bengaluru FC’s U-18 team, Isak recalled his time with the Blues fondly. “Bengaluru is one of the best places in India to learn football. I learnt skill moves, improved my speed and agility as well as the gaming mindset. It was a big stage. Those days will hold a lot of importance in my career,” he insisted.

On his journey from Bengaluru to Aizawl FC, Isak added, “When I was at Bengaluru FC academy, I had been to Mizoram on a vacation. I visited Bungkawn to meet my grandmother. There only, Bungkawn LC offered me to represent them in NECS Cup. I took the opportunity because I knew it will make way for me to play at bigger clubs like Aizawl FC.”

The 19-year-old then expanded on his experience with Aizawl during his two seasons at the club. “When I was picked up by Aizawl FC ahead of I-League 2018-19 season, I was very nervous at first. It was a big achievement for me at that time. But I had to control the flow of my anxiety. Then I made up my mind that this is just a beginning. I have to try harder every day and I did so. Towards the next season, I started enjoying my game. I was getting more time to practice and play. Moreover, I was learning every day,” Isak said.

The Indian youngster also revealed his most cherished memory from his time at Aizawl and touched on the Mizoram-based club’s youth policy. “(When) I scored and assisted in the same match for the first time, it was special because it was a derby (at home against Shillong Lajong in the 2018-19 campaign) and I was practising so much before that. I felt lucky because that performance led me a long way. Aizawl (also) has an impressive youth development policy. If it hadn’t been there, many stars from Mizoram would not be playing in ISL or I-League currently,” Isak opined.

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