ATK Mohun Bagan winger Liston Colaco spoke on his practice regime and how he keeps himself grounded despite the hype that has enveloped him in the past couple of years. Currently in the training camp for India’s 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, the footballer has been phenomenal in the previous season having scored eight goals and provided four assists for the Mariners.

Colaco even scored a hat-trick in ATK Mohun Bagan’s AFC Cup 2023 group stage match against Bashundhara Kings, which earned him accolades from all corners. He even took the match-ball home with signatures from all his teammates as a memento after his prolific performance.

“It’s been with me ever since I scored the hat-trick in the AFC Cup. It’s just a reminder as to how grateful I am to my teammates for the goals – not just on that day -- but in each and every match. In football, we need to keep working together to achieve results. No one can ever feel as an individual that it’s all about him -- as everything is of the team, for the team, and by the team,” Liston Colaco told the AIFF Media team in an interview.

The Goa-based footballer has arguably been India’s best forward in the past couple of years, having netted some phenomenal goals throughout. During this purple patch, Colaco has attracted a lot of attention, with many deeming him as the next big thing in Indian football, and possibly fill in the boots of Sunil Chhetri, when calls it a day. However, he is not carried away by the limelight

“You must be kidding (on fans labelling him as a ‘superstar’). I never ever think likewise. I am just another player in the team trying, and working hard to do my job. Most importantly, I have just started my career as a professional player, and there is a long way to go. Never ever in my life will I consider myself as a superstar. My mantra in life is simple – keep my head down and feet on the ground, and continue working hard,” added the footballer.

India will be playing its first match of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers on June 8 against Cambodia, followed by the Afghanistan game three days later. The Blue Tigers’ will be up against Hong Kong to end their campaign, with all the matches to be played at the Salt Lake Stadium, in Kolkata.

Also Read: Qualifying for AFC Asian Cup would mean we have progressed: India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Colaco, a deputy to the talismanic Sunil Chhetri will shoulder the burden of scoring goals for the side. The footballer however, feels there is no secret to scoring more goals, apart from hard work.

There is no secret to this. But I also won’t deny that I love to score goals. That’s my job. I approach every training session as if it’s my last one. Practice makes perfect, and hence, I love to imagine situations and work on them on the ground. That’s a never-ending process.

All the group toppers will get a direct qualification to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, while five second-best placed teams will also earn a ticket to the main event.