Gained lot of experience: Chennaiyin FC’s Syed Suhail Pasha on his debut Hero ISL season, RFDL and more

Chennaiyin FC’s Syed Suhail Pasha only showed glimpses of his abilities in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) in the 182 minutes he spent on the football field across the eight appearances he made in the 2021-22 season.

However, the experience he gained from the time he spent on the football field in the Hero ISL has come handy for him in the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) where he has featured in all four Chennaiyin FC matches and also got on the scoresheet.

Syed Suhail Pasha, the son of the Chennaiyin FC interim head coach Syed Sabir Pasha has been among the notable players in the RFDL so far and will be hoping to utiliise the minutes spent on the field to become an even stronger player for Chennaiyin FC in the Hero ISL next season.

"The development teams are really good here but the pressure and quality is much more different in the ISL. The foreigners come and you're playing with current Indian players like (Anirudh) Thapa. So you know what the difference, pressure and excitement will be for every match,” Suhail told Sportskeeda.com in an interview.

Suhail was picked in the Chennaiyin FC squad for Hero ISL 2021-22 season by then head coach Bozidar Bandovic but the youngster had to wait for his chance as he wasn’t involved in 13 out of the team’s first 14 matches. His only appearance in that time was as a late substitute in a 2-1 win over Odisha FC.

Suhail then got another chance against Bengaluru FC off the bench before getting his first start against SC East Bengal, Having played as a centre forward in that match, Suhail was used as a midfielder in the next match.

After Bandovic’s departure, Suhail was used more frequently in midfield which wasn’t his natural position.

"This (Bandovic sacking) was the most important experience in my life. I've never experienced a coach being sacked even in the I-League when we have had difficult seasons. It was the first time in my life and was a bit complicated for me,” he said.

"The new coach chose a different formation so I had to adapt to that as well. It was difficult but I gained much more experience and played in different positions. My original position is striker but he made me play in attacking midfield,” he added.

The 22-year-old faced stiff competition for places in his new position that included players like Anirudh Thapa that Suhail himself idolised.

"Yes [it was mentally challenging] for sure. In your position, there's star players like Mirlan Murzaev so how will you get a chance? I had to prepare myself and I just said, 'Think positive and always stay positive',” he said.

Suhail will now hope to continue his progress in the RFDL and help Chennaiyin FC climb up the table. The Chennai outfit are yet to win a match in the RFDL and Suhail would be hoping to put all his energy into sparking a revival for his team.

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