Pritam Kotal reveals the influence of Subrata Paul on his career

Indian international Pritam Kotal might be on-field rivals with Subrata Paul in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), but there was a time when the defender used to wait eagerly to watch the shot-stopper’s training sessions. Kotal, who recently signed a two-year deal with ATK Mohun Bagan FC, spoke about the influence of the experienced goalkeeper on his younger self.

“We used to come to know one or two days prior when Mistu-da (Subrata Paul) would come to Uttarpara for practice. He was a rockstar then, everyone’s hero. For me, my classes could wait but his training sessions couldn’t,” the ATK Mohun Bagan FC defender said on a live chat with AIFF TV.

While discussing his days as a young footballer, Kotal recalled some of the training sessions with Subrata, he said, “We used to nag and tease him a lot that we would score past him. Mistu-da was kind enough to allow us a few shots after his training and those shooting practices were pure gold.”

Subrata’s dedication toward his training sessions is not unheard of and Kotal revealed what the Hyderabad FC custodian was up to during lockdown, he said, “Mistu-da was practising his gripping so he could deliver his best during the ensuing training session. Such is his dedication… during the lockdown, he underwent three training sessions a day, that too indoors. His motivation level is something else. If he is not your role model then who would be,” the 26-year-old asked.

Kotal was lucky enough to make his debut in the national team under the captaincy of Subrata back in 2015, and the defender described that moment as ‘the perfect blessing’, he said, “Probably it was my destiny and I’m grateful to the almighty for this. He knows me more than anyone else and making my international debut under his captaincy is probably the perfect blessing that I could have ever expected.”

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