Raynier Fernandes: The feeling of playing for your home club is great

After two productive seasons with Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), Raynier Fernandes signed a three-year contract with the club in April. An energetic midfielder at the center of the park who featured regularly for the Islanders over the last two campaigns, Raynier shared what it means to him to play for his home club.

"(Playing in Mumbai) was something I always wanted to do. Playing for your home club, in front of your family and friends and giving everything - the feeling is great. (Coach) Jorge Costa kept his faith in me and gave me many chances. So, I had to train hard and give my best," Raynier said in an interview with goal.com.

During his two seasons in the Hero ISL, the 24-year-old midfielder has made 33 appearances for the Islanders, scoring three goals and bagging three assists. His strong performances for Mumbai City were rewarded with a call up to the national team under head coach Igor Stimac for the 2019 King’s Cup in Thailand.

Speaking about the moment when Raynier was called up to the Blue Tigers’ squad for the King’s Cup, he shared, “I remember, this was during the off-season after my first year at Mumbai City. I was supposed to go to Dubai for vacations and just four days before the camp, one of my friends messaged me saying 'congratulations for India team'. I had no clue what it was about.”

"The next day I actually saw my name in the list (of probables), along with Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan, (Anirudh) Thapa and all these people. It was like a dream just thinking about sitting with all of them in the dressing room. I had no problem doing that (cancelling my vacation plans) as this was the best thing that happened to me," he added.

Raynier played two matches for India in the King’s Cup and also appeared in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifier match against Bangladesh. "When you play the first game for your country, you have to play like it's your chance to prove that you are worthy to be in the Indian national team and the experience I got down the road taught me that you have to just enjoy the game and play," the hard-working midfielder said.

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