“As a footballer, you want to experience those emotions ”: Hugo Boumous on featuring in first-ever Kolkata derby
ATK Mohun Bagan has roped in the attacking midfielder, Hugo Boumous who will don the Green and Maroon jersey in the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL).
After a commendable run in the 2018-19 campaign, Boumous had his best Hero ISL season in the 2019-20 edition, scoring 11 goals and assisting 10 others in their run to the Inaugural League Shield. He picked up Hero of the League as well as Winning Pass of the League awards.
Boumous engaged in conversation with the ATKMB Media team to discuss training, the Kolkata derby and his take on the move to have four foreigners allowed this season.
Last season, Boumous was part of the Mumbai City FC squad that lifted both the League Winners’ Shield and the Hero ISL title, defeating ATKMB in the final.
“Every season is different. I am convinced that I have joined a team that can reach a very high level. The level here in India is improving year by year and the championship is getting harder and harder to win. But I am confident in the capacities of the team. From a personal point of view, I will give my all and try to advise my teammates as best as I can to go as high as possible. The team reached the final last season. The next step is victory. We must be ambitious,” said Boumous.
As the side prepares to better their last season’s performance, for some unfortunate reasons, Boumous joined the ATKMB side for training later than he had hoped for.
“Indeed, I faced some problems before joining my team. All of that is behind me. I am 100% focused with my club. While I was away with the rest of the group, I continued to train hard to be ready. Of course, nothing replaces training with my teammates but I feel in good shape.”
‘Kolkata Derby’ - a much-awaited clash between the two Kolkata based sides, ATKMB and SC East Bengal will take place on November 27 and Boumous has done his homework why so many eyes will be looking forward to this.
“I want to be a footballer to experience those kinds of emotions. I researched and delved into the history of this derby to understand the importance of this derby today. I can't wait to feel the fever of the public rise. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, this derby will be different without the fans but we will feel the intensity of such games on the pitch I'm sure. We will be ready!”
Boumous went head-to-head with ATKMB in the finals last season of which the memories are still fresh. He assures that the “quality is present”.
“The team was already very strong last season. There were arrivals and departures as in all clubs. Today, I think it is still early to judge the level of the team. We learn to know each other. One thing is certain, the quality is present and we will have to show it on the pitch.”
Part of the preparation for the upcoming season have been moulded to incorporate the change to have four foreigners in the playing eleven, down from five.
“We have no choice and so we will have to be the best to get our place on the pitch. No matter what, there will be 11 highly motivated teammates to win.”
Boumous believes there are two different ways of looking at the change. One, the clubs would include seven Indian players, allowing them more match time and opportunities. Second, for a foreign player, it reduces options with less spots available. However, the purpose for all players remains to win.