Kerala Blasters FC’s new signing Pritam Kotal admitted it was a difficult decision to leave former club Mohun Bagan Super Giant as he decided to pursue a new challenge in his professional career.

Kotal penned a three-year deal with Kerala Blasters FC in July, ending his three-year stint with hometown club Mohun Bagan Super Giant. He began his youth career with local side Chirag United before being signed by the Indian Arrows. Kotal, who has represented a host of different ISL clubs, is a seasoned defender with 143 appearances to his name in the league and has won three ISL titles. He has also been a regular part of the Indian national team set up since making his debut in 2015.

“I started my playing career from Kolkata. So, (it is a) very difficult situation for me, because for such a long time I have been playing in Kolkata and then I changed my destination actually. See, as a professional you have to take challenges and for me, this is a new chapter of my life and my playing career. So I'm focused on that and my family have helped me a lot in this,” he said in an interview with Kerala Blasters FC.

“I have taken this challenge and I need to give my best and give something back to this club, this atmosphere, and the fans,” he further said.

Kotal has previously represented FC Pune City, Delhi Dynamos, ATK FC besides Mohun Bagan SG in the ISL. Having joined the Blasters after his departure from MBSG, he heads to another club with a huge and passionate fan base. Kotal revealed that he always found it difficult to play against Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, their home ground in Kochi.

“It is a very difficult place to play. So now I am playing with this yellow jersey and I am eagerly waiting for the fans and firstly thinking of the place and the stadium atmosphere. I am very happy to be joining this team and I try to give everything for this team,” the 29-year-old expressed.

Across nine seasons in the league, Kotal has won the Hero ISL Cup twice with ATK FC and recently with Mohun Bagan SG during the 2022-23 season. He has also tasted success on the international stage with India, winning three SAFF Championships and the Hero Intercontinental Cup twice. Kotal expressed his desire to win a trophy for the Kerala Blasters FC supporters and give them something to cheer for.

“My plan is to win the (ISL) trophy and win all the trophies for this club. The fans expect something from the players and now is the time to give something back to the fans,” he stated.

“But it isn't an easy task. We need to work hard as a team and as a group,” he further said.

Having reached the ISL playoffs in the previous two seasons and the final during the 2021-22 season, Kerala Blasters FC fans will be having high expectations from the side. Kotal urged the supporters to keep cheering for the team on and off the pitch and promised to make them happy.

“The way that you have supported us for the last few seasons now, do keep supporting us like that, because in good or bad times, if your support is there then we can overcome anything. So I urge fans to come to the ground, in return we will give you a lot of happy moments,” he concluded.

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